Anglo-French Relations The Cloak of Secrecy A personal voyage of detection

Irish Despard Origins
Bantry House

(This magnificent photograph of Bantry House was taken by Jonathan Hessian and kindly given for use by Sophie Shelswell-White)

From ‘A History of Bantry and Bantry Bay’ by Michael C. Carroll (2008): ‘The period of time – 1550 to 1745 – when pirates used the port of Bantry as a safe haven could be described as one of the lost chapters of Irish and local history…….some of them roamed as far as the Caribbean and the east coast of the United States…Coastal communities entertained crews, bought their loot, supplied their needs and at times financed them when business was quiet.



  1. Please don’t publish my name or email. I have not read everything here, so perhaps I missed this information, but the reason that the Despards in Ireland are traced only to the date you mention is that the family, as Huguenots had fled to Ireland from France after The Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre.

    1. Thank you for that. However – from 1572 until 1692 there are no records showing the use of the Despard or d’Espard names in either Ireland or England. There are no records of the use of that name in France before that date. Balzac, writing in circa 1840 used that name in a coded fashion which I analyse in my article.

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