Menlo Castle, Castlegar, Galway

Ownership

 

  • Currently, the property of The Galway City Council, who acquired it through a C.P.O. (Compulsory Purchase Order) 1852around 2000. Plans Since the Council purchased it, all sorts of plans have been coming and going - ranging from a wide scale make-over, to the Preservation of the Castle, as a "Ruin". With regard to the Estate, nothing much has happened since.
  • 2000 - Mr. Noel Smyth offers to develop / refurbish the Structure. See The Irish Times . This Plan, has yet to manifest..
  • For years before this though, it was treated as if it was Commonage, however correct. Animals were free to roam throughout the remains of the Castle. Hardimans History of Galway. Suggest that the Blakes aquired the ancient Castle and Estate, from Edmond Coleman.

 

 

Miss Elanor Eliza Blake

 

  • Daughter to Valentine. 
  • Eliza, was born in 1865 and lost her life in that defining Fire of 1910. 
    Pillar
    elanor blake
    Monument to Ms. Elanor Blake
    Elanor Blake's Monument.. See another angle
  • See her Siblings
  • A Monument behind the Castle; cut from Granite, is "affectionately dedicated" to Elanor by her brother, T.P. Blake. A little weathered, the inscription can still be recognised and it ends with the words; "THY WILL BE DONE".

 

 

Sir Valentine Blake.

  • 14th Baronet ( a position, created for a Valentine of an older generation, in 1622 ).
  • Born 1838 . Died 1912.
  • In 1864, he married Camilla Eugenia Combe.
    • Born - 1841
  • Father to Elanor,
    • Florence Anne (1866 -1899) ,
    • Maude Julia (1868 - 1939),
    • Thomas Patrick Ulick (b. 1870, d. 1925,  see dedication to his sister) ,
      • After the Death of his Father, Thomas became the 15th Baronet.
      • Justice of the Peace for Galway.
      • Military Rank - Captain.
      • Father to Ulick Temple (b. 1904, d. 1963 ), naturally to become the 16th Bart.
        • His Son - Thomas Richard Valentine. (1942 - 2008) the 17th Bart.
        • At this point, we are long gone from Menlo.
    • Valentine Joseph (1871 - '89) ,
    • James Herbert (1874 - 1904 ).
  • Honorary Major with the Galway Militia (see Waithman)
  • Religion - Church of England.
  • See who was in this House / Castle, in the 1901 Census. {Maths. is inconsistent}
    • Servants present -  Nora Barry, Elizabeth Frayne, and Margaret Reilly.
  • He was said to be well liked by the locals, one explanation being that he was not a strict Economist and might overlook bills-due. 
  • Buried in Menlo.
  • "After the death of Sir Valentine Blake in 1912 the Galway Urban Council bought Mionloch wood with the intention of having it as an amenity for the citizens of the City". - Padraic Ó Laoi - See Books about Castlegar.  See the rest of this Page from that Book.

Geology

The House itself is built from Limestone, as are the Sheds, Entrance  and River Embankments.  Some of the missing Embankment Stones are still close to where they came from - offering the possibility of re-constitution.

The Corrib River.

  • This Corrib River, which abounds on the North West of the Castle property, is still healthy with various species of Fish - Salmon, Trout, Perch, Tench, Pike and others. 
  • So, it also served as a medium for Transportation - bringing both People and Goods. A conduit for social and practical life.

Menlo Castle has its own Quay / small Harbour still protects against the current from the Lake and offers safer boarding for those who come and go.

 

 rear

And below is the same entrance but taken viewing North;

gate

 

Gate Lodge.

  • Once a Building at the head (North) of the Avenue to the Castle.
  • It was common practice to control human passage into an Estate - keeping out riff-raff, and more noble undesirables.
  • This was in a poor state for a long time, but refurbished recently. Some credit for this, must go to local Man, Councillor Frank Fahy. See the C.T. from 2013
  • 53.300318 ,   -9.072619 
    Gate Lodge

 

The Fire, at Menlo Castle

Tom Kenny wrote an insightful article about the specifics of "The Fire at Menlo Castle" , with a photograph of the time -Read it in a new window Interesting!

The size of the rooms can be estimated, and are small enough. The fire consumed the timber, trappings, paintings and ceilings. Some of this residue increases the floor height.

Facing  South
Facing South, Castle concealed with a Tree

^This wonderful view of Menlo Castle, has been offered to the Public Domain at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Menlocastle.jpg

Noticeable at first glance, is the proliferation of Ivy - a Green Blanket, disguising almost,

The sound effects are coming from youngsters on the other side of the River Corrib- and the cox of a rowing boat. It must be the natural acoustics and peaceful nature of this place, that makes these sounds seem much closer.

The Avenue feels solid underfoot, but no longer looks it - and passes through a dip greater than ten foot. The sheds are on the right of the approach.

The Castle has many windows, maybe more than all our other Castles put together; implying that security was less of an issue.

  •  The Blakes as we know them, are said to be descended from a Man by the name of Richard Caddell (Cadell).
    • Sheriff of Connacht in 1303
    • Known as Niger. Some say his skin was Black in colour, while others say it was his hair? He, and "all belonging to him" were known as Blake and Blacke, thereafter. The "alias", could be written in both directions.
    • Portreeve (Port Warden) in Galway in 1290 and 1312
    • Held land in Carmore and Kiltrogue Caste, Claregalway. (not in good shape now).

Forenames can be passed down, a lot.

Blake Baronets of Menlough, Galway.

  • Valentine     1st.   (1560 - 1634)
  • Thomas .    2nd.               1642  He married Juilliane Browne, the Daughter of Geoffrey Browne of Carrowbrowne and Castlemagarret
  • Valtentine   3rd                  1652
  • Thos.          4th.  (b.1590 -  d. 1676) Cromwell was in Town, this Estate "commandeered", but reconstituted in 1668.
  • Valentine     5th       1664 - 1686). Died a little premature, in a Duel.
  • Walter,       6th                   1748
  • Thos.          7th
  • Sir Ulick       8th
    • Anastatia
  •  Thos.        9th . "had to pay Anastasia Blake £8,000 to obtain possession of the Menlough estate" and returned home from Bordeaux, to live here. 1766 (ref.)
  • Walter        10th
  • John          11th     
  • Valentine (John)   12th          (1780 - 1847 ). Gets a mention in Padraic Ó Laoi,  "History of Castlegar Parish" Book
  • Thomas                    13th    (1803 - 1875)
  • Valentine              14th
  • Thomas 15th
  • Ulick Temple 16th