Roscommon, Ireland Tourist Attractions
Roscommon (Ros Comain, "Coman's Wood"), county town of Roscommon county, lies on the southern edge of gently sloping hill country in western central Ireland, at the junction of three main roads - the N60, N61 and N63. It takes its name from St Coman, who founded a monastery here in the sixth century.
Roscommon takes its name from St Coman, who founded a monastery here in the sixth century. Of the original monastery nothing survives, but there still exists the ruins of a Dominican abbey founded by Felim O'Connor, King of Connacht, in 1253. In a canopied niche on the north wall of the church (National Monument) is the founder's tomb (ca. 1290), with the figures of eight armed retainers.
Roscommon Castle (National Monument) in the town of Roscommon was built in the 13th C. but much altered subsequently. It is an imposing square structure with round bastion towers at the corners and a twin towered gatehouse.
The surroundings of Roscommon are worth visiting.
11mi/18km north of Roscommon, at Tulsk, where the N5 crosses the N61, are the remains of a castle and a Dominican friary. 3mi/5km northwest of this, at Rathcroghan, stretches an area of high ground some 2sq.mi/6sq.km in extent with a number of earthworks. The site (National Monument) is believed to have been the place of coronation of the kings of Connacht. The earliest feature is a low mound, probably a passage grave. There are also various square, round, oval or irregularly shaped areas enclosed by earth walls. A standing stone within a stone ring-fort is said to mark the grave of Dathi, the last pagan King of Ireland. In the immediate vicinity are other ring-forts and megalithic tombs.
12mi/19km northwest of Roscommon the R367 branches off the N60 on the right and reaches Ballintober, with the ruins of a castle built about 1300 - a square structure with polygonal towers at the corners of its massive walls, two projecting gate towers on the east side and a moat.
5mi/8km northwest of Ballintober on the R60 is Castlerea, a little town offering a variety of leisure activities (golf, tennis, fishing). Near the town is a 19th C. mansion, Clonalis House, with period furniture and a fascinating collection of Irish manuscripts, documents and books.
Opening hours: Jun 1 to Sep 15: 12pm-5pm; Closed: Mon
Clonalis House was built between 1878 and 1880 by Charles Owen O'Conor. The Victorian Italianate/Queen Anne home was designed by 19th C. architect Pepys Cockrell. A historic archive of over 100,000 documents is maintained at Clonalis, including the last Brehon Law judgment.
Turlough O'Carolan's Grave, Keadew
Near the village of Keadew is Kilronan Abbey where the tomb of Turlough O'Carolan can be visited. O'Carolan was a blind harpist who wrote poetry and music, including the melody of "The Star-Spangled Banner".