The Martins, considered to be descendants of Sir Oliver Martyn - a “high commander in King Richard II’s Crusading Army - were one of the14 original tribes of Galway (prominent merchant and political families who became so intertwined by marriage, many looked upon them as “one big family”). They constructed the small tea house by the River Corrib, ostensibly to watch activities on the water during afternoon tea. However, many felt it was to show contempt at the Blake family who owned Menlo Castle on the opposite bank. Just why this supposed animosity between the two families existed has been lost to history.
One of the more prominent members of the family was Richard Martin (born in 1754) who was elected to parliament in 1800, representing County Galway, and who was said to have been “... a noted duelist and a witty speaker.” He was most famous for creating and founding the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, earning him the nickname of “Humanity Dick.”
From 1839 until 1844, Dangan House became the property of the Ursuline Order of Nuns. The property then passed through several owners, before the house was moved elsewhere to become a hotel and NUIG took ownership of the land. The only thing left of the original estate are the Tea House ruins.
While exploring the neighborhood around our apartment, we met some very nice locals who told us of the scenic pathway along the river. During our walk along this pathway, we came upon the Tea House ruins; another one of our unexpected happenstance discoveries.