Pirates, Pepper and Prostitutes – illicit trade in goods and pleasure in 17th-century West Cork.
Author(s): Connie Kelleher
The southern coast of Ireland in the early-17th century enjoyed a booming trade in exotic goods like pepper, cinnamon and other spices. This was underscored by an even brisker trade in pleasures of the flesh where the women in the pirates’ lives ran successful businesses of their own, providing safe houses, taverns, inns and brothels that tapped into the business of plunder.
This was a time and place when illicit activity was the norm, when ships bringing plundered goods operated openly and those on shore waited for their men and crews to return.
While the local landscape holds some evidence for piratical and smuggling activity, identifying other trades, like that of prostitution, or trade goods themselves, continues to be a challenge. Studies like this need history as a guide but it is archaeology that will provide the tangible link to this clandestine past.
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Pirates, Pepper and Prostitutes – illicit trade in goods and pleasure in 17th-century West Cork.. Connie Kelleher. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Washington, D.C. 2016 ( tDAR id: 434830)
min long: -10.463; min lat: 51.446 ; max long: -6.013; max lat: 55.38 ;