Reportedly descended from Sir Richard Caddell, a 12th century knight of Norman-Welsh extraction, the Blake’s regularly filled the roles of Mayor and Alderman in Galway, making them the most influential family in the city. According to records, the family were raised to the level of Baronets in 1623 and given a land grant totalling 3,478 acres in three counties. They were quite popular amongst the locals, often hosting the “Naying in Menlo” festivals for the public on their grounds, which included music, dancing, tennis, and rowing.
On the night of June 26th, 1910, while Sir Valentine (the 14th Blake Baronet) and Lady Blake were away in Dublin, a devastating fire broke out in the castle, eventually causing the deaths of two maids and the Blake’s disabled daughter, Eleanor. The fire was so hot that Eleanor’s body was never found; presumed to have been cremated.
Today, only the ivy covered ruined walls remain, but it is still one of Galway’s top tourist attractions. It should be pointed out that there have been reports of travelers who used Google maps to get to the the castle found themselves on the wrong side of the river.The proper route to take begins downstream along the road by Terryland Castle (there are little or no sidewalks, so caution is needed if walking). Once you get to the edge of the property, a locked gate bars the way. Locals informed us that simply climbing over the gate is allowable (trespassing does not appear to be an issue as there are no signs saying “Do Not Enter”). During our stay, we saw many folks exploring the grounds and even camping next to the castle. And we could see why, it is a beautiful place.