Menlo Castle is a beautiful Ivy covered ruins of a Castle along the River Corrib in Galway. The 16th century building now blends into the surrounding landscape but still stands impressively on the river bank. It’s a short distance from the city centre and is free to explore. So, if you enjoy checking out ruins, make sure you leave time for visiting Menlo castle on your trip to Galway
History of Menlo Castle
Unfortunately the place has quite a tragic past. The castle was home to the Blake family from 1569. They were the wealthiest family around and used to invite the locals into the grounds for the “Maying in Menlo” festival.
Sadly, a fire destroyed the castle in 1910. It was a huge fire which killed the Blake’s daughter as well as 2 servant girls. Only the walls were left standing after the blaze.
Now, How to find the Castle
Not gona lie, it can be pretty awkward to find Menlo Castle. There are no signs or makings for the place so it’s hard to know if you’re in the right area.
Walk or drive?
It’s about 40 minutes walk from the city centre including waking on roads with no footpath, so if walking take care. I suggest getting there by car. It is 15 minutes drive from Galway Centre (as always, traffic dependent).
We used google maps to get there and still ended up going the wrong way and having to turn back. You’ll know you’re there when you see a dirt road on the left with castle walls and a stone archway at the entrance.
Once down the dirt path, we were also really confused how to get to the castle or if we were in the right place, because you can’t see the castle from the path. Drive to the end of the path and park in along the side. From there you’ll need to hop across the locked gate at the end of the road, and walk down the short path to arrive at the castle.
We were worried initially about climbing over the gate. But we saw others just jump across and there were no signs against this so it must be okay – this is the only way to access the grounds.
Not Visiting Menlo Castle? You can still see it!
Corrib Princess Tour Boat
By taking a trip on the Corrib Princess you can get perfect views of the castle too. The Corrib Princess is a tour boat that goes from Woodquay in the city centre out along the River Corrib right into the Lough. The tour is about 90 minutes and passes by numerous sites including Menlo Castle. For more information, you can see the company website here.
River Corrib Greenway
There is a Greenway path that stretches from the National University of Ireland Galway campus right the way out to their sports grounds in Dangan. It is there that you can get stunning views of the castle from across the river. At the sports centre in Dangan there is plenty of parking. It’s just a couple minutes walk down the path to see the castle. In the summer I used to go here after work to sit in the sun and watch rowers going up and down the river with views of the castle opposite me. That way, if you can’t get out to the castle, you can still see it!
Visiting Menlo Castle – My Experience
The castle pretty much blends in with the landscape. Ivy has creeped over its skeleton which I think makes it so beautiful. When walking down the path, it will appear to come out of nowhere as it finally separates from the trees and ivy around it.
The ruins are completely open so you can go inside and walk through the rooms. You can also check out outbuildings beside the castle.
To the side of the castle, there is a big open area and guys – if you can get here when it is golden hour or for sunset, do! The light and views here are so stunning. It is also a great place for a picnic or to sit and chill looking out on the Corrib.
It is a nice quiet attraction – probably due to how difficult it can be to find it – but that makes the place seem even more special. The area is so picturesque and in my opinion, worth visiting.
There is something I absolutely love about visiting old ruins and being able to look around. It’s just so cool to me to try and imagine that people walked through those spaces and had lives there. If you are the same or just like to see beautiful castles (because who doesn’t?!) I definitely advise visiting Menlo Castle in Galway.
Have you been already? Did you find it as difficult to find as I did? Or are you going to try and visit on your trip? Let me know in the comments below. I love hearing peoples experiences of Galway.