Donelan Family

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Donnellan Families of County Galway

Ballydonelan as it was
(Photograph courtesy of Dr. Patrick Melvin & Eamonn de Burca). Ballydonnellan Castle was the seat of the O'Donnellans of Ui Maine. The heads of this family were the chiefs of Clann Bhreasail, the district lying between Loughrea and Ballinasloe. The original castle is said to have been erected as early as 936 but this, more likely than not, was probably a ring fort. Another castle built on the same site was destroyed by fire some time before 1412 when it was rebuilt by the O'Donnellans. At the time of Griffith's Valuation, Ballydonnellan Castle was occupied by John D. Mahon and was valued at £62. It was still extant in the 1890s but is described as "in ruins" on the 1933 edition of 6" map. These ruins are still visible.

Ballydonnellan as seen today
During the seventeeth century the family added a long two-storey house to the side of the castle. During the following century the castle was renovated and extended to form an end pavillon wing, and a matching wing was added to the other end of the seventeenth-century structure. The wings were redesigned after 1787 when the façade of the central range was altered with a four-bay pedimented breakfront. One of the wings was destroyed by fire before 1913 but the entire house was in ruin by 1978. This is located about two miles north of Kilreekill

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