Anne Plumptre (1760-1818), the English writer and translator, visited Skibbereen in 1815 and in her book ‘Narrative Of A Residence In Ireland During The Summer Of 1814 And That Of 1815 wrote:
“… I proceeded by the new-made road, indeed an excellent one, to Skibbereen. We passed along the head of Glandore Bay, which is really beautiful. It winds so much up from the sea that no outlet appears, so that it presents the idea of an enclosed lake. There are fine bold rocks in various parts, and directly at the head is some gentleman’s seat, though I could never learn his name. The home stands almost at the water’s edge with wooded slopes rising all round it; a little stream which runs into the bay skirts a part of the woods; over it is a most picturesque old bridge of one lofty arch, entirely overgrown with ivy. I can scarcely conceive altogether any thing more beautiful; it has much the character of the scenery about Rostrevor and the Bay of Carlingford. A little further on in the road to Skibbereen is an exceedingly pretty group of five or six small lakes all together, with rocks not lofty, but very picturesquely disposed about them.
“Skibbereen stands upon the river Ilen, which about five miles from thence runs into Baltimore Bay; it was anciently called Stapleton, but what occasioned the change in its name, or when it took place, does not appear. It is a town of some extent, and from the number of new houses recently started up, appears to be increasing in prosperity; there are however whole streets, and not very short ones, consisting entirely of the wretched mud cabins of the peasants. The lands about produce a good deal of flax, and manufactories of both linen and woollen are carried on; but the principal objects of commerce in the town are corn, butter, and salted fish, of which considerable quantities are exported. The quality of fish taken in Baltimore Bay is prodigious.”