The naturally fertile soil of Castlemartyr and its environs made this portion of East Cork a coveted possession before the coming of the Normans, and the struggle of our Gaelic chieftains for Lordship over it is chronicled in our earliest annals. Granted its charter in 1675 as a borough and town a visit to Castlemartyr, passing through the imposing gates of the old Carmelite Monastery now Castlemartyr Resort Spa Hotel with its beautiful setting of woodlands, lakes and gardens is a delight. At one time home to the Earls of Shannon the oratory, formerly the ballroom, boasts one of the most beautiful ceilings found in an Irish house.
Just nearby stands the imposing ruins of an earlier Geraldine castle which is of great historic interest. Further down the street a bridge takes you over the River Kiltha. A walk through the woods around Castlemartyr is a pleasure and discoveries such as the Ice House, the ruined chapel and graveyard where Richard 4th Earl of Shannon is buried add further interest. Stop off and call into Pat Shortts Bar with its river side setting or the lovely Village Greengrocer shop across the road where you can pick up fresh local produce such as vegetables, fruits, local jams, juices, and cheeses.