A Taste of Ireland: Castlemartyr Resort Hotel, Cork’s Ancient East

The Castlemartyr Resort Hotel,Corks`s Ancient East

Five years ago I wrote my book “A Taste of Cork” this was a book that combined my interest in travel, food and history. A Taste of Cork was a food tourism book, this book is now almost sold out and it would be great to get a reprint of it. Hopefully there might be some demand and that is key for a second edition.


Since then I have developed my skills as a videographer and I find the form much more immediate than the process of writing a book and much more suited to social media. Therefore I have started a series of short you tube episodes on various locations around the Midleton and East Cork area to highlight the great food and history experiences that can be found in this part of Ireland. My book A Taste of Cork did not include The Castlemartyr Hotel but I hope this video makes up for that omission.

Future episodes include

Ballycotton Lighthouse Tour

Ballymaloe House

Lobster fishing with Mike Barrett at Rochespoint


Tanabata Night at Michelstown caves with Miyazaki


I would very much like to continue making videos like this throughout Ireland and if there are any Hotels, restauarants, B&B`s and food producers that would like to talk to me about it please do get in touch.

Although a modern 5 star resort Hotel the castle itself dates back 1210. If you are a visitor to the Hotel or would like to hear about its History Roy Daly runs walking tours and  pony and trap tours of the estate and it is well worth going on.

Important dates at Castlemartyr

1169:      Henry 11 and his wife Eleanor of Aquitane sent knights under Richard, Earl de Clare, known as Strongbow, to invade Ireland.

1172:      Maurice Fitzgerald, son of Gerald of Windsor, received a major land grant from Youghal to Midleton consisting approximately 12,000 acres.

1177: Henry II granted the Kingdom of Cork to Robert Fitzstephen & Milo de Cogan.

1210: First castle was erected.

1549: Ballyoughtra Church built only to be destroyed in the Cromwellian wars 1641/42.  The stones were used in the construction of St. Annes in Castlemartyr.

1569:     Sir Philip Sidney attacked and captured Castlemartyr

1581: The Earl of Ormond overran Imokilly and at Castlemartyr hanged the aged mother of the seneschal from the walls of the castle

1585: Raleigh was granted the lands of 42,000 acres in the Blackwater Valley and proceeded to double it.

1602: Lands passed from Walter Raleigh to Richard Boyle 1st Earl of Cork an ancestor of the Earl of Shannon.

1641: Cromwell ordered his artillery to fire on the Castle from Ballymacooley Hill and knocked off the eastern tip of the castle

1650: Roger Boyle, son of lst Earl who was later to become Earl of Orrery took over the Castle on behalf of the Parliamentarians.

1657: Roger Boyle was a royalist at heart and was appointed President of Munster by Charles 11 in 1668, a post he held until 1672. He worked at Castlemartyr for the restoration of Charles II

1668: Roger Boyle built the Castle and the Demesne, in its broad outline owes its origin to him.

Castlemartyr village raised to a Royal Borough.

1679: Earl of Orrery died and title passed to his oldest son. His second son had four sons, the second of which, Henry, became a member of the Privy council, was elevated to the peerage as Baron Castlemartyr, Viscount Boyle, Earl of Shannon

1688: Castle was badly damaged during the Williamite wars and ceased being a residence.

1733-64: Henry, Earl of Shannon, built the eastern portion of the manor house and developed the estate. He provided the land for the church of St. Ann’s Church of Ireland re-using the stone from Ballyougthera.

1764: Richard, son of Henry, succeeded and set about extending the manor house. He employed Capability Brown to landscape the estate and plant woods. Robert West famous stuccodore embellished the ceiling in the ballroom.

1868 Richard, Earl of Shannon, died on 1st August 1868.

1905 Lady Arnott (nee Fitzgerald) bough the house from Richard’s son, and after a lapse of almost 300 years, the house was back in the Fitzgerald family.

1911: Lady Arnott set about modernizing the house and out-offices to the plans of an eminent architect by the well known builders Messrs. Cubitt of London. The reconstruction included a mew bell-shaped roof of Westmoreland silver green slates a cut stone portico and Loggia, modern drainage, central heating and electric lighting.

1929: Carmelite Order purchased Estate and opened a Boarding School for  boys.   The School closed in 1996 when the Carmelite Order sold it.