Castlegrove House

After the capture of Castlegrove Castle by the forces of Cromwell in 1651 Cromwell benefactors inhabited the estate and castle itself for a short while. Eventually the lands and castle fell into the hands of the Blakes of Tuam. As was the practice at the time a more comfortable residence was built adjacent to the castle. The big house constructed by the Blakes was three storeys high including the basement. It was a magnificent structure and was one of the finest houses in Co. Galway. Set in the dense woodland, rich in game and close to Claureen Lake the inhabitants were never short of prey.

The most famous of its landlords was Edward Blake. The Blakes were protectors of the nearby castle and Edward Blake is said to have created an iron door at the entrance and put up a plaque to commemorate this. In 1886 on the death of Edward, the lands and house were sold to a John Cannon. This branch of the Blakes emigrated and eventually settled in Canada. One of them became a K.C. (Kings council) and was a member of the Old Irish parliament in 1889 being an M.P. for Co. Longford.

John Cannon the new landlord was a weaver's son who came from Eyrecourt Co. Galway. He bought the estate for the sum of 1,847. Cannon owned the land in three other countries and had a grand total of 5,973 acres. Thomas Fredrick Lewin an agent and landowner from Blindwell inherited the house and lands.

Lewin resided in the castle until July 1922. During the Troubles the house was attacked and burnt. According to local tradition Lewin escaped through a secret passage and boarded a train at the local Castlegrove station and was never seen again.

Over the years most of the stone from the house was removed and little remains of this wonderful mansion today. Fig trees, pear trees and raspberry bushes still grow in its environs and are a reminder of a once glorious past.

St. Conleths N.S.,Kilconly 1999.

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