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Visiting Menlough in Ireland, origin of Menlo’s name

by Patrick Killelea on June 11, 2011

gate to Menlo Castle in Menlough, Ireland

Editor’s note: InMenlo reader and Menlo Park resident Patrick Killelea did some on-the-spot reporting about the Irish Menlough — from which Menlo Park got its name — during a trip to Ireland. Here’s his account.

I’ve solved the mystery of “which is the real Menlough?” – there are actually two such places in Ireland. I’m in Galway City doing some research for a family reunion, and I walked out to Menlough, which is about five miles north of Galway City, and took a bunch of pictures.

The road out there is narrow and rather dangerous because of the traffic. On the way back, thank goodness, I got a ride from a guy named Brian Connolly on his way to hurling practice. I told him I was from Menlo Park in California, and he told me that he had just been to McGlynn’s cottage, where people still talk about how he and Mr. Oliver got rich in California and founded a town there. (More about McGlynn and Oliver here plus there’s an article by InMenlo contributor and Menlo Park Historical Society member Jym Clendenin in the April-June 2011 issue of The Gate Post.)

He said the other Menlough, out in the countryside, was not related and just happened to have the same name, which is Mianloch in Irish, meaning “little lake.”  Even on the maps here, Menlo Castle (bottom photo) is sometimes spelled Menlough and sometimes Menlo. There’s just a little lake, the ruined castle, and some new housing developments. That’s about it, no city center that I saw.

By the way, note the resemblance of the Menlo gate erected by Oliver and McGlynn (black and white photo) to the gate (very top photo) of Menlo Castle. Galway’s Menlo Park Hotel also has a restaurant named “Oliver and McGlynn.”

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