Rowing club proposal to put life back into Menlo Castle

Menlo Castle on the banks of the River Corrib.

A new proposal has been brought forward that would see the creation of a city rowing club combined with the conservation of Menlo Castle and the creation of a waterside greenway.

Plans were recently unveiled by Galway Rowing Club proposing the construction of a regional ‘centre of excellence’ for water sports on the Dyke Road.

However, the Chairman of An Taisce’s Galway Association, Derrick Hambleton, has warned that these plans could be destined to fail – as did similar plans when they were appealed to An Bord Pleanála in 2004.

While Mr Hambleton said that these new plans were for a lower-rise building and that wooden cladding would be used to offset the visual impact – An Taisce will object to any construction on the east bank of the river.

“There are all of these historic rowing clubs in the city, from the school clubs and the established clubs down around Woodquay – it is a tradition and it is something that we should be supportive of.

“However, the Dyke Road is not capable of accepting that kind of development.

“The idea of a water sports centre on the Corrib, adjacent to Menlo Castle, seems such a good idea that there should be some discussion of it,” said Mr Hambleton.

He believed that this would be the perfect opportunity to have conservation works carried out on Menlo Castle which has been idle since 1910.

The castle is under threat of terminal decline due to ivy infestation – with the structure now almost totally enveloped in the asphyxiating invasive species.

Mr Hambleton said that unless something is urgently carried out to remove the ivy, it is unlikely that the castle will remain standing long enough to be conserved as even a “romantic ruin”.

As part of the proposal, Menlo Castle would be conserved for use as a public facility, a museum, Summer tea rooms and as a Corrib Interpretive Centre – with surrounding lands to be set out as a public park.

For the rest of this story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here, or download the app for Android or iPhone.