A Letter from Ireland:
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From the Da Vinci Code to Castlemartyr

Have you read the DaVinci Code? It was a superseller some years back – with layer upon layer of conspiracy and intrigue. One of the societies mentioned was the “Knights Templar”.

The castle you see above was built by the Knights Templar in1210 in Castlemartyr in East Cork. They fell dramatically out of favour some hundred years later and were disbanded (and in the Da Vinci code they survived and went underground!).

The knights didn’t have much of a presence or impact in Ireland – one reason being that they were bound not to attack fellow christians – and so weren’t noticed much by the Gaelic chieftains of the time.

The castle changed hands a number of times – from Sir Walter Raleigh, the the Fitzgeralds and onto Richard Boyle, the first earl of Cork. It was he that built the manor house you see in ruins attached to the castle.

Today the castle stands in the ground of a five-star hotel and in the region of Castlemartyr you will find family names like Bourke, Walsh, Ahearn, Hennessy, White, Cahill, O’Brien, Donovan, Stanton, Murphy, Quirk, Condon, Cashman, Desmond, Lynch and Fitzgerald.

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