FIRST PHOTO SERIES
The heart of Gaelic Ireland
The Blake family were of British extraction, said to be descended from one of the Knights of the round table. They arrived in Ireland with Strongbow, and became a powerful family in the area, with several important seats. These included Menlo, Ardfry, Ballyglunin, Castlegrove and several others. The family became another of the Tribes of Galway, and are still well represented in the area.
Menlo Castle was built in 1569, and was the main home of the Blake family, until it tragically burned down in 1910.
Barnaderg Castle is close to the town of Tuam, and was a 16th century stronghold of the O'Kelly clan.
Cloghan Castle, close to Loughrea, has recently been restored. You can now rent it out & stay for a while. It was built 1247 by the deBurgo family on an early incursion into Connacht.
Cregg Castle was built by the Kirwan family in 1648, and is said to be the last fortified mansion built west of the Shannon. This is still inhabited, and operates as an hotel.
Ballindooley Castle is just outside Galway City, and it's another Burke house. It had the distinction of having been shelled by the British gunboat Helga during the 1916 rising. Recently restored and plastered, it's being lived in again.
Feartagar Castle, or Castlegrove, northwest of Tuam, is another Burke Castle of the 15th century. Abandoned since the 1650's. It's also referred to locally as Jennings Castle.
Clondegoff castle backs onto the Shannon river. It was the scene of an infamous eviction in the 1880's, having been inhabited up to then since the late 15th century. Happily, it is now also being restored.
Ballykine castle near Clonbur was the home of the Kyne family, who held sway in this area.
Renvyle Castle on the northern shore of Connemara faces the Atlantic. It was an O'Flaherty castle, passing into the hands of the Blakes for a time.
Tulira Castle was originally a McHubert Burke Castle of the 15th century, to which the Martyn family added a mansion in the 1870's.
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Don't go away yet - there are more Galway Castles here....
All these photographs are copyright © Patrick Larkin, March 2000.