John Cornelius O’Callaghan in his (slightly biased) ‘History of the Irish brigades in the service of France’ (1870) gives a clear description of the trade in men and wool from Ireland to France and the, perhaps more exotic, return cargoes. He also illustrates the build-up of Irish and French forces for an invasion of England in the first half of 1692 which might well have succeeded except for the ‘Protestant winds’. I extract the following:
‘The maritime intercourse of France and Ireland had been increased beyond what it ever was by the War of the Revolution. After the termination of the contest (the war in Ireland), the French privateers from the ports of Bretagne, or Brest and St. Malo, that were very active on the look-out for the rich English merchant-men making for the Munster harbours of Cork, Kinsale, &c, were not without aid in these enterprises, through a communication with the native population of the sea-coast; sympathizing with those belonging to a nation, so recently the ally of theirs, and the enemy of their enemies, the Williamites.
Privateers likewise from France, manned with Irish and Scotch exiles, the adherents of King James, and acting by his commission from St. Germain, were so animated by the successes obtained against the Williamite trade, that they extended their operations into the Bay of Dublin; and Irish Jacobite officers, commanding French vessels, are mentioned as very injurious to the same commerce in their cruises. Hence the communication went on between Ireland and France, where there were many Irish, besides the flower of the nation engaged in the service of their exiled King and Louis XIV. But, through the arbitrary suppression by England of the Irish woollen manufacture, her other legislation for the injury or ruin of Irish commerce, and the continued limitations to employment in Ireland by the constant additions to the Penal Code, the causes for such intercourse with France were necessarily increased.