Fermoy is a small town with a population of nearly 6,500 people. It is situated in the very heart of the lush Blackwater Valley, and is where the main Cork-Dublin and Rosslare-Killarney routes cross. It is an attractive base from which to explore the history and amenities of the Avondhu Blackwater area, and is world-renowned as an excellent spot for salmon fishing. The town has its roots in two main traditions – religion and the military. A Cistercian Abbey was founded in 1170 and the town grew up around it. Following the dissolution of the monasteries during the Tudor period, the Abbey and its lands passed through the hands of some eminent men: Sir Richard Grenville, Lismore scientist Robert Boyle (discoverer of ‘Boyle’s Law’), William Forward and, finally, John Anderson. John Anderson, a Scottish engineer, came into possession of the land in 1791. He was an entrepreneur who had developed much of the Irish road network and instigated its mail coach system. He designed and founded Fermoy, and the street layout remains much the same today as when originally built. In the early 19th century, Anderson provided cheap sites for the British Army, and the town became a manufacturing and services base for the military. The Army remained in Fermoy until 1922 and many vestiges of its time here remain. Fermoy is a good jumping off point for visits to the many tourist destinations in the area, such as fine country houses and gardens, historic sites, castles, and places of archaeological interest. The town is surrounded by villages, each with something unique and interesting to offer: Kilworth sports a local crafts centre, Glanworth has its castle, woollen mills and megalithic tomb. Further castles are to be found in Ballyhooly, Castlelyons, Conna, Cregg, Castletownroche, Lismore. There are also oddities like the Ballysaggartmore Towers near Ballyduff, which pique the interest with tales from local folklore.