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Menlo Castle was the ancestral home of the Blakes. The family lived there from around 1600 to 1910. The castle was strategically positioned and was occupied for some time by the Cromwellians. The villagers of Menlo were tenants of the Blakes. ‘Maying in Menlo’ was a great Galway tradition where the Blake family opened their grounds to the public as a venue for all kinds of sports and athletics, yachting, tennis, rowing, music, and dancing. Boats from Woodquay and Long Walk brought patrons up the river; sweet vendors were working day and night preparing sugar sticks and sweet-pipes which were sold in colours of red and white at a halfpenny each; the cries of different vendors of eatables and drinks rent the air, “Cider a penny a glass, Guinness 3d a pint.” Puritans and temperance fanatics were unknown, hawkers and showmen were a plenty. The various tents extended from the river to the schoolhouse in the village. The women in the enclosure with their sunshades and mid-Victorian costumes looked beautiful, while villagers and colleens with shoulder shawls and neat pinafores were the picture of comeliness.