Search Results for 'Valentine Blake'

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May Sunday at Menlo

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Maytime was traditionally considered a time for festivals, and Galway was no exception to this. In fact it used to be said that the citizens had an almost reverential attachment to the old custom of going out to Menlo for three Sundays in May to partake in the pleasure of the open air and the early summer sun. It was known as ‘Maying in Menlo’.

The pursuit of love among Galway’s landed society

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Although rarely heard of today, ‘ breach of promise’ cases in the 19th century were quite common. A successful prosecution was a source of saving face, and social embarrassment; and could be of considerable monetary value if you were from the upper classes. All sorts of intimate details were revealed as the case dragged on, which provided delicious gossip for newspapers and their readers.*

The Corrib Club

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“The Galway Corrib Club held their annual regatta on the splendid river of the Corrib at Menlo. The day was as fine as ‘sunshine and pageantry’ could make it, and the ivy-mantled Castle of Menlo, the residence of Sir Thomas Blake, Bart, was decorated with flags of all nations, and waved gracefully in the breeze. There was not a ripple on the bosom of the lake unless what was created by the oars of the several beautiful little crafts which were constantly scudding up and down the river, freighted with some of Nature’s fairest daughters. There was a band in attendance and during the day discoursed some beautiful music. Great credit is due to the commodore, PT Grealy, Esq, and the members of the club for the satisfactory manner in which the whole arrangements were carried out. After five races between four oared gigs, outriggers and punts, the sports of the day terminated with a duck race, which was most amusing. At seven o’clock, the amusements terminated and the delighted spectators returned home, highly pleased with the day’s sport. Although there were places of refreshment, there was not a man to be seen the worse for liquor, so that the whole affair was a complete success.”

The last free Chieftains of Ireland

Some weeks ago I wrote that probably the greatest muster of the Irish Gaelic lords that ever gathered on a battlefield took their place on either side at Knockdoe, Co Galway, on August 19 1504. The O’Donnells and the O’Neills, from their great northern fiefdoms, fought for law and order on the side of the Earl of Kildare who successfully imposed the king’s rule on his rebellious and quarrelsome son-in-law the Earl of Clanricard, Ulick de Burgh (Burke) of Claregalway castle. Ulick’s marriage to Kildare’s daughter, and his disregard for her, gave the Earl a personal reason for the battle; but his allies were equally anxious to display their loyalty to King Henry VII, the undisputed king of England after the protracted and bloody Wars of the Roses.

 

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