Merlin Castle, or sometimes known as Doughiske Castle, is a three storey medieval tower house ruin in Galway City which was believed to have been built in around the 15th or 16th century.
In the second half of the 16th century the castle passed hands to Nicholas Fitz John Blake whom left the castle to his daughter Evelyn, married to John Lynch FitzRichard FitzsSander. In 1574, it was recorded that Stephen Lynch was the owner of the castle.
Between 1553 and 1655 the Lynch family were evicted by Cromwellian Commissioners. It is believed that this is when the castle first lost its roof by the Cromwellian’s. In 1657 Alderman Michael Lynch was listed as the former owner of Doughiska and William Buckley is listed as the former tenant.
Later, in 1669 John Whaley received a grant of three quarters of Doughiska which he sold in 1680 to Francis Blake, the Catholic Recorder of Galway. In 1731, Francis (a grandson to Francis Blake – 1680) was the first of the Blake family to move into the castle. It was during this time that the estate was named Merlin Park. Francis later died in 1763.
The castle was inhabited right up to 1812 when the Merlin Park estate was built by Charles Blake. Before it became uninhabited, there are signs that a house was built against the eastern wall of the tower but this has long since disappeared.
Although now in ruin, the castle remains in relatively good condition. Interestingly, there is a Sheela na Gig which can be seen sitting upside down on a decorated window on the second floor. Furthermore, part of the bawn wall and ancillary buildings still survive today.
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