The Story Behind The Hunted Hog, Castlemartyr, Co.Cork
He was wild, frightening, colossal. 600 pounds of dense flesh and gristle
Terrorising the rolling pastures and dappled woods of Castlemartyr in the 15th Century.
The boar: a nightmarish creature etched in our history.
Gallivanting through the dark, laid hidden in the day. Thick double coat, coarse and
frayed. A subtle trace of hair running down its back. Eyes like hot coals, turning red to
black. A long straight snout with a powerful sense of smell. Guttural grunts, jaws from
The village Chief offered a princely prize to anyone who’d kill the savage brute or
capture it alive. But folk hid in their houses, too afraid to come out. The beast was an
omen, without a shadow of a doubt. Women extinguished lamps, men sharpened their
knives. Children were put to bed and told to close their eyes.
The boar was rumoured to have made its lair in the vicinity of Knockane, in a foreboding
cavern sunk deep into the terrain. On a crystal clear night, the sky empty of clouds,
FitzGerald (of the Geraldines) left home without a sound. With only the light of the
moon and the glint of his sword, Castlemartyr’s bravest prayed to the Lord.
Over field and stream his wet feet trod until he reached a place known as “Cnoc na
Chollag.” From a thicket of trees he heard a terrible roar and out of the shadows came
the great boar. FitzGerald raised his sword high over his head and in one fell swoop the
beast was dead.
As the sun rose over the village, the slain was laid out for all to see. The sword struck
through its skull with perfect symmetry. The boar was dead, danger had been cleared.
Peace returned to Castlemartyr that lasted the years.
To reward FitzGerald for his steely hand, he was gifted a vast amount of surrounding
land. His family incorporated the boar into their coat of arms, in honour of he who had
saved them from harm.
Today, in the old church yard at Ballyoughtera, you can find a stone marked with a boar
and cross etching. Or travel along to the centre of the village and discover a traditional
pub of historical interest.
Inside The Hunted Hog as the open fire roars, locals and out of towners can be heard
speaking of the boar. Over a smooth stout and plate of gastro food, you’re invited to
relax and soak up the mood.
Sink into rustic furniture and see the flames dance in the hearth or relax on the riverside
terrace and watch the world go past. A vast collection of beers are paired with a hearty,
mouth-watering menu, making The Hunted Hog Castlemartyr’s most beloved pub
And whilst the terrifying beast of history is nowhere to be seen, sometimes after dark
one can feel a pervading sense of mystery.
On crystal clear nights when the sky is dotted with stars, you can glimpse the lone
shadow of a man moving along the bar. The moon shine on the river isn’t the moon at
all, but the sword of ghostly FitzGerald hunting the boar.
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