Landed Estates
NUI Galway

Blake (Towerhill)

Description

The Blakes of Towerhill, county Mayo, were descended from a younger son of the Blakes of Menlo, county Galway. The Blakes of Cloonee and Inver were descended from 2 sons of Isidore Blake of Towerhill and Oldhead named Thomas and Peter.


Estate(s)

Name Description
Blake (Inver) Isidore Peter Blake held an estate of almost 2,000 acres at Inver in the parish of Kilcommon, barony of Erris, county Mayo, in the second half of the 19th century. He was a grandson of Isidore Blake of Towerhill.
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.
Blake (Cloonee) The Blakes of Lakeview or Cloonee held an estate in the parish of Kilmainebeg, barony of Kilmaine, county Mayo and lived at Cloonee or Lakeview on the shore of Lough Carra during the first half of the 19th century. They were a branch of the Blakes of Towerhill. Their agent was Joseph Blake of Brownville, county Galway.
Bowen (Annefield) The Bowens of county Mayo appear to be descended from the Bowens of Ballyadams, Queen's county [county Laois]. At the end of the 16th century a branch of the Bowens of Ballyadams was settled at Castlecarra, parish of Burriscarra and later at Liskilleen in the parish of Ballinrobe. By the late 18th century Christopher Bowen of Hollymount, a lawyer, held the properties known as Annefield and The Heath. He had daughters who married Anthony Elwood, a younger son of Thomas Elwood of Strandhill, Cong, and John Blake of Windfield, county Galway. By his will Christopher Bowen left Annefield and The Heath to two of his grandsons respectively, Anthony Elwood, who assumed the name of Bowen, and Henry Blake. Anthony Bowen Elwood had no children and Annefield also passed to the Blake family. Anthony Bowen Elwood held lands in the parishes of Kilcommon, barony of Kilmaine, and in Kilcolman, barony of Clanmorris. He was recorded as an absentee landlord in 1802 and the estate was run by his agent, Charles Cromie, who also resided at Annefield.
Joyce (Mervue) The Joyces of Mervue, Corgary and Rahasane were all descended from a family of Joyces long established in the town of Galway. In the 18th century the Joyce family prospered in their mercantile and banking activities and began to acquire land, including the lease of Mervue from the Governors of the Erasmus Smith Schools in 1789. In 1792 they sold property in county Mayo to the Blakes of Towerhill. In the 19th century the Joyces of Mervue held lands in the baronies of Clare (Annaghdown, Claregalway and Lackagh parishes), Tiaquin (Killoscobe parish), Longford and Dunkellin, county Galway and in the townland of Kinlough, parish of Shrule, barony of Kilmaine, county Mayo. By the 1870s they owned 3,742 acres in county Galway, 146 in the town of Galway and 381 acres in county Mayo. Thomas Joyce bought Rahasane Park in 1846 and in 1855 Pierce Joyce was leasing Ardfry House from the trustees of Lord Wallscourt. Frank Joyce was agent to the Earl of Clanricarde between 1882 and 1887. In 1909 Pierce Joyce had accepted an offer from the Congested Districts Board for over 300 acres of his estate.
Blake (Menlo) The Blakes, raised to the peerage as baronets in 1622, were established at Menlough on the bank of the Corrib River close to the city of Galway from the early 17th century. Under the Acts of Settlement the Blakes of Menlough were granted 3,478 acres in the baronies of Tiaquin, Dunkellin, Moycullen and Kiltartan, county Galway and 2,803 acres in county Mayo, all except two quarters in the barony of Carra. Their county Mayo estate was sold to the Blakes of Towerhill in the early 18th century. In the 19th century they owned land in the parishes of Cong and Ross, barony of Ross, Oranmore, barony of Galway and Athenry, barony of Clare. Their estates became heavily encumbered during the 19th century mainly due to election expenses and legal cases however Sir Valentine Blake still owned over 3,400 acres in the county and town of Galway in the 1870s. The Blakes lived at Menlo Castle until the fire of 1910 and the estate was divided by the Land Commission in 1923. At the time of Griffith's Valuation John B. Blake held the townland of Drumsnauv on the shore of Lough Corrib, in the parish of Cong, barony of Ross, county Galway. John Brice Blake was a younger brother of Sir Valentine Blake, 12th baronet. By the 20th century Doon was part of the Guinness estate centred at Ashford.
Geoghegan/O'Neill (Bunowen) Art Geoghegan of Castletown, county Westmeath, was transplanted to the confiscated O'Flaherty lands at Bunowen, parish of Ballindoon, barony of Ballynahinch, county Galway, by the Cromwellian Commissioners. During the 18th century the Geoghegans became Protestants and at the beginning of the 19th century changed their surname to O'Neill. The Geoghegans were originally one of the septs of the south Uí Neill. John Augustus O'Neill, Member of Parliament, succeeded to the estate in 1830 but after the Famine he was in severe financial difficulty and sold most of his estate in 1852 to Valentine O'Connor Blake of Towerhill. At the time of Griffith's Valuation a Thomas Geoghegan held a townland in both the parishes of Moyrus and Ballindoon, barony of Ballynahinch.
Blake (Ross Lodge) The Blakes of Ross Lodge were a junior branch of the Towerhill family and held a small estate in the parish of Kilkilvery, barony of Clare, county Galway, from the St Georges. Ross Lodge was occupied by Walter John Blake, a younger son of James Blake of Cregg Castle from the 1830s until his death in 1854. In the 1870s Anthony Blake is listed as the holder of over 300 acres. The estate was advertised for sale in April 1880 and June 1881 by Charles J. Lynch, trustee for the sale under the will of Anthony Maurice Blake. A Walter Blake also held lands in the parish of Donaghpatrick in the 1850s.