Annaghdown (Galway)

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Annaghdown House is a 19th-century country house situated on an elevated site overlooking Lough Corrib. It was built in 1868 by the Blakes of Cregg Castle on the site of an older house also known as Annadown House aka Annadwon Lodge. 

Eanach Dúin (lit. "the marsh of the fort") aka Annaghdune aka Enaghdune derived its name from a fortress in this area and was a settlement of much antiquity. Much of Annaghdown was subject to flooding from Lough Corrib in years gone past so any elevated sites in this district were prime locations.  One such site is that of the original Annaghdown House (no longer extant).

Ownership of lands in the parish of Annaghdown passed from Staunton to Rochford in the early 18th century by way of a marriage settlement;  a daughter of Thomas Staunton MP married John Rochfort of Clogrenan, Co Carlow in 1722).  


ANNADOWN HOUSE original building

In the early 19th century the original Annadown House was occupied by Captain William Burke (formerly Lieutenant Burke) and family. The landlord of Annaghdown, at that time, was Colonel John Staunton Rochfort, of the County Carlow with Charles Staunton- Cahill Esq. of Rock Lawn acting as middleman.

At this time, Tithes were a particularly contentious issue in the parish of Annaghdown – where the only Protestant resident was the Rector "who on Sunday officiates in the capacity of parish clerk, first taking care to attend to the pious lectures of the priest of the ancient faith" [Freeman's Journal - Monday 04 November 1833]. The local gentry was traditionally Catholic. 

In 1837 Lewis only noted two gentlemen's seats in this locality: "Cregg Castle, that of Fras. Blake, Esq., and Waterdale, of Jas. Blake, Esq." By 1840, he amended it to include more: "The seats are Cregg Castle, that of Fras. Blake, Esq.; Cahermorris, of Capt. Crampton; Woodpark, of John French, Esq.*; Winterfield, of Capt. Butler; and Annaghdown Lodge, of Mrs. Burke. Captain Burke's wife must have been a French of "Woodpark", which was a sizeable residence in the townland adjacent to Annaghdown House. 

BIRTH In September 1831, at Wood-park*, Co. Galway, the lady of Lieutenant Burke, of a son. Limerick Evening Post, 20 September 1831. 

In March 1844, the valuation of the original house and offices (registered in the name of Captain William Burke) took place. Valued at £10, this over basement house comprised of dwelling rooms, halls, returns and a window was also noted. Its offices (or out-buildings) at that time comprised of stables, barns, a privy and store, a piggery, a fowl house. By February 1846, when this valuation was amended, Burkes name was crossed out and replaced by George Woods who was the registered tenant here a decade later.

MARRIAGE In July 1846, at Drumgriffin, Patrick Cavanagh Esq. married Suzette, daughter of Captain William Burke of Annadown House. [Limerick Chronicle -  15 July 1846].

MARRIAGE  In May 1849, by special license, Ulysses Burke, son of Captain Burke, Annadown House, married Annette French, daughter of James French, of Rocklawn, Co. Galway.



It would appear that the name Annadown House and Annadown Lodge were interchangeable names for the same property.

In 1851, the tenancy of Captain William Burke comes to and end with the sale the contents of his residence at "Annadown Lodge":

COUNTY OF GALWAY:   THOMAS CONNELL has been instructed by CAPTAIN W. BURKE, of Annadown Lodge, To Sell Unreservedly By Auction at his Residence, on Thursday, the 6th March next, at the hour of One o'Clock a quantity of  HOUSEHOLD FURNITURE Comprising Three Brass and Iron Camp Bedsteads; Mahogany and Hardwood Bedstead; Mahogany Tables and Chairs; Case Drawers, Dressing, Glasses, Tea Store; Fenders and Fire Irons; Dressing Tables, Chamber Ware, Kitchen Requisites, &c.; also, a PHAETON and Harness; three Strong Work Horses, two Fillies, four Cows, Ploughs, Harrows, Winnowing Machine, Oat Bin, Saddles, Cart and Plough Tackling, Carpenters' and Masons' Tools, Crowbars, spare Axletrees, Scales and Weights, Handbarrows, Ladders, a common Leath, etc. Terms - Cash. Purchasers to pay Auction Commission.  Galway, February 22, 1851. [Galway Mercury, and Connaught Weekly Advertiser, 1 March 1851].


Within a month, ANNADOWN LODGE & FARM (the property of Horace Rochfort) is advertised TO LET:

TO BE LET, with immediate possession, for such terms as may be agreed upon, Annadown Lodge and Farm, as lately held by Captain Burke.

There is a good Coach-house, Stables, Barn, etc. The farm contains about 35 Acres (Irish), with a right of Turbary. The house is prettily situated on the shores of Lough Corrib, with good Fishing and Shooting; and there are 70 Acres of Wood adjoining, which would be Let with the above, and is celebrated for its Woodcock shooting - Distant from Galway, by land 12 miles, and by water 7 miles and 5 miles from Headford. Application to be made to Mr Hugh Gilligan, Abbeygate St., Galway.

[Galway Vindicator, & Connaught Advertiser, 12 April 1851].



In June 1856,  when Annaghdown was advertised for sale as an Incumbered Estate, the registered tenant of Annaghdown Lodge Park, valued at £ 6 (map ref #1) was still George Woods who held the lease from year to year.

In the Matter of the Estate of Horatio William Rochfort, Esquire (1809 - 1891) Owner; John Downes Rochfort, Esquire (1826-1885 ), Petitioner. [both sons of Colonel John Staunton Rochfort, M.P.

Rental Maps and Particulars of Fee-simple and Fee-farm Estates situate in the Counties of Galway and Wexford, which will be Sold by Auction in Five Lots, as stated in the Annexed Rental, Particulars, and Maps, by the Commissioners for the Sale of Incumbered Estates in Ireland, at their Court, Henrietta Street, Dublin, on Friday, the twenty-seventh day of June, 1856, at the hour of Twelve o'clock, at noon. This sale includes part of the Lands of Annaghdown, Annagh West, part of the Lands of Cotteentymore, Cotteentybeg, and Lisheenanoran, in the Barony of Clare and County of Galway. Part of the Lands of Annaghdown, and part of the Lands of Cotteenty are held under Lease for Lives renewable for ever, bearing date the 9th day of April 1781, whereby James Skerrett demised to John Rochfort, All that and those, the intermixed Acres in Annaghdown, containing 32 a. 3r, 10p., and also the intermixed Acres in the Lands of Cotteantagh, containing 21a. 1r. 10p., all situate in the Parish of Annaghdown, Barony of Clare, and County of Galway, for the lives of John Staunton Rochfort, since deceased, Robert Rochfort, since deceased, and Anne Rochfort, now Dowager Lady Blakiston, age about 93 years, with covenant for perpetual renewal, upon payment of a fine of one pepper-corn for every such renewal, at the Yearly Rent of £39, late currency, equivalent to £36 sterling, payable half-yearly, on every First day of May and First day of November. The Tenant's part of the Original Lease is not forthcoming, but an attested copy of the Memorial thereof, together with a Copy of said lease and a tracing of the Map therein referred to, will be given to the Purchaser. The Purchaser shall not be at liberty to object by reason of the non-production of the original Lease or to require evidence of the title of the Lessor to grant the same, or object thereto by reason of any Incumbrance affecting his Interest. 

In 1857, at the time of Griffith's Valuation, Annaghdown Lodge [GV#6] was still the property of Horace Rochfort, Esquire (1809 - 1891) and occupied by George Woods, Annaghdown Lodge. The house had devalued further to £4. George Woods also held 78 acres of land in the neighbouring townland of Coteenty. 


ANNAGHDOWN HOUSE current building

Annaghdown Lodge was bought by Francis Blake Esq. of Cregg Castle for his son, Rickard Blake. Riocard (Irish for Richard) was the youngest son of Francis Blake (1789–1869) of Cregg Castle and Georgina Burke (d. 1872) of Glinsk who married in 1819.

Annaghdown House, Dungriffin,  was rebuilt in 1868 as a residence of Rikard Blake Esq. (1829–1915) and his bride Anne Marcella Ryan (d. 1900) who wed in 1869. Riocard was the youngest son of Francis Blake (1789–1869) of Cregg Castle and Georgina Burke (d. 1872) of Glinsk who married in 1819. Francis Blake was High Sherriff in 1848. 

In 1880 and 1881, Rikard Blake Esq. served as High Sherriff of Co Galway Town and owned 1,037 acres in the locality. 

In the late 19th century 25" map of Annaghdown the addition of new walled garden and farmyard outbuildings can be seen. 

In 1901, the house was occupied by "landed proprieter" Richard Blake (1829–1915) and his sister-in-law Johanna G Ryan, who were both Roman Catholics. Three servants Kate Murray, Mary Goly and Martin Kilkelly were also residing here. His "gentleman farmer" son, Francis J Blake was visiting at Moneen House, Galway at the time the 1901 census was taken. Moneen was the home of his love-interest  "Lilly" aka Adelaide Jane O'Neill Power. In 1904 the couple married, but Lilly died two years later age 29. A second marriage was arranged for him, and in 1909 he married Edith Mary Synnott (1880–1957) daughter of Thomas Synnott of Innismore, Glenageary, Co. Dublin.

In 1911, both Richard and his only child, Francis Joseph Blake (1873–) are still residing here. In addition, Francis' second wife and young family also occupy Annaghdown House. Servants Kathleen Hays, Margaret Haren, Mary McMurrow and Patrick Faherty were also recorded here. 

Richard passed away in 1915 and with that, Francis Joseph Blake Esq. was shortlisted for the position of High Sherriff for Co Galway in 1916. Blake descendants continued to live at Annaghdown throughout the 20th century.

Annaghdown House is still occupied and well maintained.


Annaghdown townland ORIENTATION Ireland VIEW SOURCE
1911 Census of Annaghdown House: Blake Ireland VIEW SOURCE
1901 Census of Annaghdown House: Blake Ireland VIEW SOURCE
19th Century OS Maps of Annaghdown House Ireland VIEW SOURCE
Landed Estate: Blake (Annaghdown) Ireland VIEW SOURCE
1857 Valuation of Annaghdown (Griffith's) Ireland VIEW SOURCE

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