Day 11: Galway - Menlo Castle

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

After checking out of our hostel and storing our bags, we started to head for Menlo Castle.  Josh had gone when he was here five years ago and despite it being a bit of a hike, I really wanted to check it out, too.  We stopped at Dunnes along the way to get things for a lunch picnic.  We also stopped to visit our horse friends that we had met the day before.

It was a three mile walk which isn't too bad but it was probably the warmest day we had had since starting our trip.  By the end of the walk I had stripped off several layers and we were all sporting new sunburns that would be commented on multiple times during the rest of the trip.

Technically (or at least Josh thought) the ruins of this castle were on private property.  There was a gate and a path that would lead to the castle, but in an attempt to be stealthy we tried climbing over a low wall and trekking through the woods.  It was quite a trek.  He said it was much less over grown when he had been there before but now we were walking in about five inches of plants.  There were a few other walls we had to climb over, all of which were covered in thorns.  There was also one gate covered in barbed wire.  I came out with several nicks and scratches. At one point we even had to walk by two horses who were clearly just thinking "Wtf are these people doing in our field?" For some reason though, this trek was probably one of my favorite parts of the trip.

Of course as soon as we finished trying to be sneaky, we saw multiple groups of people just strolling down the path like it was no big deal. I would later Google the place to find out that it actually belongs to Galway City Council which, to me, mean it's probably just a public area.  Whatever, the sneakiness was fun.

We were able to climb through and on the ruins.  My Google search later would also tell me about the family that owned the castle and the tragic fire that had damaged it beyond repair and also killed the family's daughter.  Her body was never found which means she was most likely somewhere under our feet as we were exploring.

We had a lovely picnic along the river that ran just behind the castle.  We then started our 3 mile walk back to catch a bus for Killarney.

Johnny met us at the bus stop and, after a quick stop at the grocery store, took us back to his house to drop off our bags.  It was so nice staying in a place where I didn't have lock up my bag or worry about my things being in the way of someone else.

Around 11pm, Johnny took us for a drive to a farm down a random winding road.  Despite the farm being surrounded by electric fences, we crawled under them and started walking through the field, just using moonlight and some cell phone light to see where we were going.

After a couple more buzzing electric fences, we found ourselves in front of these two seven foot tall stones.  Behind them was a raised ring of trees, with a small path between two of them leading to a ring of smaller rocks.  Johnny called this a fairy fort.  He told us at least one story of some strange happenings in the ring and said how some people just refuse to enter them.  We stayed in there for a while but every noise from the brush around us was eerie.  The area definitely felt... different.  The creepiest part of all of this was that I took a picture with my phone almost as soon as we crossed between the two tall stones, and suddenly my cell phone battery went completely dead.  It had been at around 75% while getting out of the car at the farm entrance just a few minutes prior.
The one picture I got in the Fairy Fort (there was some carvings on the stone.)
We hung out there for a while before heading back to Johnny's house.  We had a couple of drinks and then decided to walk into town.  It was already close to 12 so there wasn't much open but we were able to find one place with a great guitarist where we could sit down and enjoy the music.


  1. I officially need to go here. Thanks for the tip!

  2. So cool! I'm heading to Galway next week (found your blog while Google Searching Menlo Castle) and hope to check it out!