Ballyglunin Park, as seen today, dates back to the 1640s when Martin Blake, high sheriff of Galway, was granted the lands by Charles II. The Blakes were by all accounts important figures in Galway society with a large estate of 10,500 acres that in 1833 was valued in The Great Landowners of Great Britain and Ireland at almost £40,000, equivalent to nearly £10,000,000 today. This must have been a golden age for the family’s fortunes, and it was the period during which parts of the property were upgraded to a style befitting the long-serving MP for Galway, Martin Joseph Blake.
Ballyglunin Park House is a combination of Georgian and Victorian architecture with features dating back to medieval times. Recent extensive renovations, historical research, and local oral history indicate that a medieval castle, or tower house, was located on or near the site of the current house. The most noticeable evidence of this former castle is evident on the initial approach to the house in the unique stone facade of the entry and the large stone tower overlooking the River and walled garden. The facade of the Entry Hall features many components of medieval Irish Castle architecture, which are believed to have been salvaged from an earlier medieval structure. The large stone tower, built during the Victorian era, also features salvaged components of an earlier structure visible in the carved stone window casings. It is believed this structure is a Victorian nod to the medieval Irish Castle that was once located on the property. The oldest feature of the estate, a carved stone crest located in the walled garden, has been dated to the 14th century.
The Ballyglunin Railway Station was once part of the Ballyglunin Park estate and rail service continued until it was decommissioned in 1976.
The foundation of Ballyglunin Railway Station relates back to Martin Joseph Blake M.P. During the 1860’s the Great Western Railways scheme was building railways joining major towns of Co. Galway. When the railway station was built in Athenry, the original plan was to extend the railway from Athenry to Monivea and then to Tuam. However Martin J. Blake exercised his power and ordered the railway to run from Athenry to Tuam via Ballyglunin. The railway was essential in transporting grain, beets, and other heavy commodities into Ballyglunin. The railway service was also welcomed by locals who availed of easy access to Tuam, Knock, Athenry, or Galway on the passenger train.
Legend has it that at the turn of the 20th century Robert Blake would frequently have his dinner delivered all the way from Dublin to the station at Ballyglunin.
Ballyglunin Railway Station was also used during the filming of The Quiet Man starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara in 1952. At that time the estate extended to the rail station and film crews spent many days filming on the property.
Because the Blake’s were landed Gentry, agriculture was the main priority in their economic interest. The wide spacious farmyard which is located near the rear of the residence was once facilitated with loose bakes and stalls which were lofted, for sheltering horses. There were two garages, a workshop, machinery, sheds, cow houses, saw bench plus a 500 gallon petrol tank with a pump. This farmyard was always busy with the constant murmur of cows, horses, engines, and workers. Today some of the original farmyard has been converted into dorms, the original stonework of the building has been maintained while the arched doorways are still visible. An outstanding feature of the Blake farmyard still present today is the square pyramidal-roofed tower formerly used as a storage area for grain.
According to a letter written in January of 1847, from Ballinasloe Nurseries, the cost of planting a large number of trees in Ballyglunin Park was five pounds and ten shillings. The trees mentioned include: Larch, Hazel, Oak, Beech, Ash, Elm, Sycamore, Poplars, Alders, Hornbeam. Over 170 years later some of these trees are still thriving and can be observed along the front road leading into the Estate.
In 1970 the land was divided into smaller plots by the Land Commission. Many small farmers within the surrounding area were given acreage for farming and cattle rearing. Today Ballyglunin Park consists of 32 acres of pasture, gardens, and forest.
Over the last three years, the House has been fully restored to its former glory. Most of the original fine architectural details such as rococo plasterwork including eagles over doors with cornice of mutules and 19th century stenciled decoration on flat of ceilings are still preserved to this day. Extensive efforts were made to restore the Georgian and Victorian Wings with period authenticity while fully modernizing the House with updated electrical, safety systems, and conveniences such as WiFi, room-by-room temperature controls, and built-in USB power outlets. The house now boasts 7 fully renovated and modernized bedrooms with 6 en-suite bathrooms along with a fully restored Drawing Room, Kitchen, large Formal Dining Room, Media Room, and Games Room. Also extensively renovated and modernized was the Victorian era tower which now features a library on the Ground Floor with direct access to the river and gardens, and a bedroom with en-suite bathroom on the First Floor with expansive views of the entire estate.