Ownership

Currently, the property of The Galway City Council, who acquired it through a C.P.O. (Compulsory Purchase Order) around 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". Some will tell how the Ivy needs to be removed to assess the health status of the Stonework, while others will argue that the very same Ivy (and its biological lattice), might be actually binding the Building together, to some degree.

The dithering continues.

"Hand Castle over to the Heritage Council" - Galway Advertiser, 2010 .

An Taisce, it seems, have some focused attention to this Place - its a good thing so far.

 

  • Menlo Castle is a Unique and Spiritual place; turn off your "stuff" and you will feel it.
  • Built on a water Highway of the time, inter-linking all the People centres around Lough Corrib and Mask, to Galway City - a shortcut if you like, unrestricted by hill, hollow and the trespass which could be associated with roads. Influenced only by current, wind and weather and a reliable boat of course.
  • It must have stood with some Majesty - its Turrets/Castellated features; a powerful Cosmetic display.
  • Its own Quay / small Harbour still protects against the current from the Lake and offers safer boarding for those who come and go.
  • Menlo Castle is built from Limestone, as are the Sheds, Entrance which used to have a Gate House, and River Embankments. These embankments seem structurally sound today, but are missing Stones - she's frayed at the edges like an old Shirt and your fondest Book.
  • Others, are still close to where they came from - offering the possibility of re-constitution.
  • 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. Down River, or towards Galway, are other Lakes at Coolough.
  • Menlo Village is close by and due North East of here.
  • Until recent years, Animals were free to roam throughout the remains of the Castle. The Estate Walls, too, were built at a distance from the River Corrib, indicating an understanding on the part of the "Engineers" of the time - understanding of the Bellows which can blow, and shovel, the land outside the wall.

The last man of the House was Sir Valentine Blake (M.P.)

Built circa 1569 and ravaged by fire in July 1910, claiming the life of Miss Elanor Eliza Blake. 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".

Two other women; Bridget Early and Annie Browne also died as a consequence of that night. Not by fire, but flight from it - both jumped from the roof in a bid for escape.

Elanor

 

Elanor

^ The Monument with the Castle in the background.

Maps

Seea dynamic Google Map of the this Castle.

See in Flash Earth (new window)

On Yahoo Maps in Satellite view

Hardimans History of Galway.

Suggest that the Blakes aquired the ancient Castle and Estate, from Edmond Coleman.

 

entrance to menlo castle

And below is the same entrance but taken viewing North;

gate

The Castle is about 0.03 kilometres / 0.02 miles / 33 metres from the River Corrib, and faced South West, roughly aligned parallel to the river -another access point.

More folklore. Valentine Blake was said to be well liked by the locals, one explanation being that he was not a strict Economist and might overlook bills-due. A family member may be buried in what is still known as the Menlo Woods Graveyard.

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!

castle

 

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

Noticable at first glance, is the proliferation of Ivy - a Green Blanket, disguising almost, Nature's success at revolving life of any species.

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.

So the sheds are done; a distraction..and the Castle comes into focussed view. Its not what you'd expect.

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

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.

 

Menlo in 1840

1840 map showing the Avenue to the Castle, the Boat House and the small harbour.

Copyright and excellent free maps like above are available at http://www.galway.ie/en/Services/Library/1842OSMaps/

 

  • If you're curious, you may be interested in another Blake House in Towerhill, Mayo, with some physical similarities (new window).

Corrections / ammendments, are welcome at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.