Thursday, 27 July 2017

Fifth Bellew Reunion at Castletown, Dundalk 2013

Fifth Bellew Reunion (Friday 12th 2013) Castletown, Dundalk, Co Louth

The Bellew Clan returned to Bellew’s Castle at Castletown on the 12th of July. The Dundalk families were represented along with Bellews from Counties Louth, Meath, Armagh and Galway. There were also visitors from England, Australia and U.S.A. Geoff Martin from Yorkshire gave us a talk on the early Bellews who probably came into England with William Duke of Normandy (1066-70). Those first Bellews were knights of the archbishop of York. The family lived in a moated manor house in Kirklington (Nottingham) called Belle Eau Park which means ‘beautiful water’ and may point to the origin of the name. Adam de Bellew who was living in 1230 may have come to Ireland with King John as part of his military obligations to serve the king. They were well established in Ireland by 1290 when John Bellew granted land near Bellewstown to William de Wellis on the marriage of his daughter. Geoff explained how these early knights lived and travelled.

                                                         Judy and Geoff Martin

It is with sadness to relay, that Geoff's funeral took place in early April, Geoff died peacefully on St Patrick's Day, 2018 after an illness bravely borne. Geoff's family are very Irish with relations in the Crossmaglen area, very nearby to Dundalk. Geoff's great grandfather, William Bellew Martin was born in 1869. Through this second baptismal name of Bellew,  Geoff explored many centuries of Bellew history, part of which he shared with us in July 2013. Some information on William Bellew Martin can be found at:

It is with great fondness that we remember Geoff and got to know him, Judy and his late mother Sheila over several visits to Ireland.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam dílis

I nglac Dé i gconaí é

For photographs of the day see:

On the day itself the family of the late Jimmy Bellew were represented. Jimmy’s grandfather, James was born in Legion Avenue not far from Castletown. Harry Bellew well known from the brass band was also there. His father Jack was born on the Castletown Road in 1903. Harry’s cousin, Owny from Rathmore also came along. The family of the late Tom Bellew were also there. Tom’s grandfather was John who was born on the Castle Road in 1875 and his father, Thomas was a baker who lived in Bachelor’s Walk.

Seamus also gave a brief introduction on the local families and also mentioned the Bellew DNA project where family members from Counties Louth, Galway and Meath have participated. In the absence of family records this allows the relationships between families to be ‘scientifically’ established.

 He also noted that the first of the Bellews in the Dundalk area was a John Fitzjohn Bellew of Duleek, Co Meath who bought the De Verdon interests in 1366. His grandson Richard was a man of action who set about the recovery of lands in the Fews lost to the northern Irish. Having secured the Bellews in their North Louth estates in the manors of Roche, Castletown and Dundalk he obtained state grants for the repair of Roche castle and in 1467 for the construction of a ‘tower and pile at Castletown’. The last of the Bellews to live in the tower house was probably John Bellew who was ‘shot in the belly’ at Aughrim in 1691 on the side of King James.

 There was also a tour of the tower house that is now part of the school used mainly by the Transition Year class. Bryan Bellew from Barmeath Castle took along the flags of the Bellew Regiment and the flag carrying the family coat of arms which were draped for the day. Following all this there was time for photographs and a welcome cup of tea. The Sisters of St Louis and Mrs Siobhan Greer, the school principal were thanked for facilitating the gathering. Plans are already underway for the next gathering at another Bellew ‘stronghold’.

    Local Press Coverage Prior to the 2013 Reunion

Local Press after the 2013 Reunion

1 comment: