Fineen O'Driscoll, the rover


An old castle towers o’er the billows
That thunder by Cleena’s green land
And there dwelt as gallant a rover
As ever grasped hilt in the hand
Eight stately towers of the waters
Lie anchored in Baltimore Bay
And over their twenty score sailors
O who but that Rover holds sway ?

Then ho for Fineen the Rover
Fineen O’Driscoll the free
Straight as the mast of his galley
And wild as a wave of the sea

The Saxons of Cork and Moyallo
They harried his lands with their powers
He gave them a taste of his cannon
And drove them like wolves from his towers
The men of Clan London brought over
Their strong fleet to make him a slave
They met him by Mizen’s wild headland
And the sharks gnawed their bones ‘neath the wave

Then ho for Fineen the Rover
Fineen O’Driscoll the free
With step like the red stag of Beara
And voice hke the bold-sounding sea


Baltimore is a beautiful harbour village, with a long tradition of both boatbuilding and fishing. It is surrounded by some of Ireland’s most spectacular scenery and serves as the ferryport for the daily sailings to Cape Clear and Sherkin Island.
For centuries, this was the territory of the O’Driscoll Clan – a clan noted for its seafaring tradition. In the latter half of the sixteenth century, the clan produced a rather notorious rogue, Fineen O’Driscoll, nicknamed, “Fineen the Rover”. To augment his income, Fineen indulged in a very lucrative hobby, namely, piracy. Sallying forth from Roaring Water Bay, he waylaid merchant ships as they sailed along our southern coast, confiscating his favourite items from their cargo and levying his own excise duty on the rest. Shipments of wine from France, Spain and Portugal were his favourite booty. The wine-merchants of Waterford were among his more aggrieved victims, to such an extent that in 1573 they mounted a retaliatory raid on the O’Driscolls and ravaged Sherkin Island.

Song Clip