Landed Estates
NUI Galway

Blake (Towerhill & Bunowen)

The Blakes of Menlo Castle, county Galway, held the lands of Clonyne and Clooneen or Towerhill, parish of Touaghty, barony of Carra, county Mayo, from the time of Strafford's Survey in 1636. Clooneen may have been purchased from Oliver Bowen in 1632 by the Blakes of Menlo for £400. In the early 18th century Isidore Blake had a lease from his cousin, Sir Walter Blake, 6th Baronet, of the lands of Clooneen and his son Maurice bought the fee simple in 1753 from Sir Ulick Blake, 8th Baronet. Most of the Blake estate was in the parish of Touaghty. Maurice's son, Isidore Blake, was the first to live in the house at Towerhill. A member of a junior branch of this family bought the Fisherhill estate from the trustees of Richard Martin in 1788. When Isidore's son married in 1803 he went to live at Oldhead, parish of Kilgeever, barony of Murrisk. In 1853 Valentine O'Connor Blake bought Bunowen Castle and estate in the parish of Ballindoon, county Galway, from John Augustus O'Neill. He is also recorded as holding several townlands in the parish of Kilbeacanty, barony of Kiltartan, in south county Galway and in the parishes of Athenry and Claregalway, barony of Clare, in 1855. In the 1870s Valentine O'Connor Blake of Towerhill and Bunowen Castle, Clifden, owned 4,198 acres in county Mayo and 7,690 acres in county Galway. The county Galway property was sold to the Congested Districts Board in 1909 and half the county Mayo property in February 1914.

Houses

Name Townland Civil Parish PLU DED Barony County Map Ref
Oldhead House/Oldhead Lodge Oldhead Kilgeever Westport Louisburgh 143 Murrisk Mayo OSI Ref: L829 820
OS Sheet: 86
Discovery map: 30
Fisherhill Carrownurlaur Breaghwy Castlebar Breaghwy 63 Carra Mayo OSI Ref: M179 896
OS Sheet: 79
Discovery map: 31
Towerhill Towerhill Touaghty Ballinrobe Burriscarra 35 Carra Mayo OSI Ref: M207 759
OS Sheet: 100
Discovery map: 38
Bunowen Castle Bunowenmore Ballindoon Clifden Bunowen 21 Ballynahinch Galway OSI Ref: L597 426
OS Sheet: 49
Discovery map: 44
Benmore Benmore Grange Loughrea Grange 121 Loughrea Galway OSI Ref: M642241
OS Sheet: 97
Discovery map: 52
Carnmore Carnmore West Claregalway Galway Carnmore 54 Dunkellin Galway OSI Ref: M402299
OS Sheet: 83
Discovery map: 46

Archival sources

  • Copy of will of Isidore Blake of Oldhead, Co Mayo, 3 July 1819. D.17,055; National Library of Ireland
  • Volumes containing pedigrees and genealogical notes on family of Blake of Towerhill and allied families. Compiled by Martin J Blake, c 1900. MS 4132 -4143; National Library of Ireland
  • John Kirwan v Sir Walter Blake re lands of Cloneen, barony of Carra, Kinlough, barony of Kilmaine and Ballidonough, barony of Ross, June 1721. House of Lords Appeals Vol. 4; King's Inn Library
  • Copies of deeds relating to lands of the Blake family in Bunowen, Lissard and Cloonmore, Co Galway, 1852-1861. D 16,935-16,954; National Library of Ireland
  • Pedigree of Blake of Menlough (Barts), of Brendran, of Cloneen & Tower Hill, 1374-c 1817. GO MS 171: 1-4; National Library of Ireland
  • Blake estate maps, 1688-1865. 21.F.74(1-26); National Library of Ireland
  • Lease of part lands of Cloonmore, barony of Clanmorris, Co Mayo, Val O'Connor Blake to Thomas Healy, 20 Apr 1856, D 27,547; National Library of Ireland
  • Blake of Towerhill Papers, family papers, leases, deeds, bonds, assignments and various other legal documents used in the compilation of ''Blake Family Records 1300-1700'' by M.J. Blake, listed by F.A. Ward in 1942 [papers now in NLI]. Special List 3; National Library of Ireland
  • Ordnance Survey maps showing lands in non congested districts, C.J. Blake's estate, 1311 acres in baronies of Loughrea, Athenry & Kilconnell, Co Galway, 1906. 15.A.23(1-2); National Library of Ireland
  • Deeds re Blakes and Blake property, in particular re lands in baronies of Kiltartan, Clare & Killian, Co Galway, 18th & 19th centuries. D 16,899-16,932; National Library of Ireland
  • Photos. 011/084 (Towerhill) & 022/018 (Bunowen); Irish Architectural Archive
  • Blake of Towerhill Papers, includes many original deeds & copy documents used by Martin J. Blake in the compilation of ''Blake Family Records''. MS 10,789-10790; National Library of Ireland
  • Blake of Towerhill Papers, accounts, legal papers & a large amount of correspondence, 18th-19th centuries. MSS 10,791-10,841; National Library of Ireland
  • Blake of Towerhill Papers, transcripts of some original charters 1316-1819 by Martin J. Blake. MS 9936; National Library of Ireland
  • Blake of Towerhill Papers, ledger of Mark Blake (of Galway?) & copy letter book of Isidore Blake c 1790. MSS 9972-9973; National Library of Ireland
  • Deeds re property of the Blakes in Co Mayo, outside the barony of Carra, 1688-1855. D 16,888-16,898; National Library of Ireland
  • Marriage settlements, bonds & miscellaneous deeds re Blake family, c 1750-1850. D 16,955-17,000; National Library of Ireland
  • Fragmentary notes from various private sources made by Martin J. Blake on pedigrees, 1896-1928. MS 8388; National Library of Ireland
  • Commonplace books of Martin J. Blake. MSS 1743-1744; National Library of Ireland
  • Fr. Martin Heaney Collection, Mayo Abbey, newpaper cutting dated 01/02/1978 refers to purchase of Clooneen in 1632 from O. Bowen. P45/09/11; Tuam Diocesan Archives, Tuam

Contemporary printed sources

Modern printed sources