Highlights of County Roscommon
Roscommon (Ros Comain)
Roscommon is a county of fertile farmland, extensive bogs and placid lakes.
The Great Famine of 1845-8 had a devastating effect here. Many died and more emigrated when the potato blight destroyed the county’s main food crop.
The famine museum at Strokestown Park House gives a unique insight into the lives of the Irish people who battled against hunger and want.
One of Ireland’s principal lakeside parks, Lough Key Forest Park, is located five miles east of the town of Boyle. Over 840 acres in size, it offers nature walks, ring forts, monuments, cruising, fishing, a bog-garden, an old icehouse, picnic grounds, and a fully serviced caravan and camping park. Deer wander freely through the park.
Clonalis House, a Victorian manor outside of Castlerea, is the ancestral home of the O’Connors, the last High Kings of Ireland and Kings of Connaught. This old Gaelic family can trace its heritage back 1500 years and the ruins of their gabled 17th century home are visible in the grounds
Established in 1161 by Monks from Mellifont Abbey in County Louth, Boyle Abbey in Boyle is a Cistercian abbey in remarkably good condition with Romanesque and Gothic architecture on display, Boyle Abbey also has an onsite visitors centre with exhibits on the history of the Abbey.
Located on the outskirts of Castlerea County Roscommon is the Victorian manor Clonalis House. It is the ancestral home of the Connaught O’Conors, Kings of Connaught and the last of the High Kings of Ireland. Accommodation as well as day visits are available at this stately home.
Doctor Douglas Hyde Interpretative Centre
Douglas Hyde was the first President of the Republic of Ireland, he was also a talented poet and Irish language playwright who co founded the Gaelic League in 1893 with Eoin MacNeill. The interpretative centre is found in Frenchpark in the church where Dr Douglas Hydes father was once rector and the churchyard is the resting ground for the former president and other members of his family.
Lough Key Forest Park and Lough Key Lake
Less than 10 minutes drive from Boyle is Lough Key Forest Park. The park, with its historic buildings, stunning views and rich abundance of wildlife has been attracting visitors for many years. Coarse fishing on the lake is among the activities on offer and boat tours can be taken on the lake.
King House in Boyle, County Roscommon was built in the early 18th century for the influential King family. The house is a gloriously restored Georgian Mansion which offers visitors the chance to admire the grandeur of the period rooms, and take in the many displays including contemporary art, the Connaught Chieftains and history of the local area.
One of the lesser known castles in Ireland, Roscommon Castle was first built in 1269 by Lord Chief Justice of Ireland Robert de Ufford, it didn’t stand for long in its original form as it was wrecked 3 years later by Aodh O’Connor, King of Connaught . The castle was rebuilt in 1280 but came under attack several times and was destroyed by fire in 1690. Today the remains of the castle are considered a national monument.
Strokestown Park House and Famine Museum
Located in Strokestown, Co Roscommon, Strokestown Park House is a grandiose Palladian mansion with its original fabrics and furnishings still on display today. On the grounds of Stokestown Park House is the fascinating Irish National Famine Museum which highlights the struggle of the tenants of such areas during the famine uniquely using some of the original related documents found at the house.
Situated at the foot of the Curlew Mountains in the north of County Roscommon is appealing town of Boyle. A popular for fishing due to the surrounding lakes the town is also known for its friendly people.
Roscommon town is the county capital and is close to the River Shannon and the many lakelands. The town has a number of buildings of interest including Roscommon Castle and the old Roscommon Gaol which is now the County Library.
Strokestown is among the few planned towns in County Roscommon. The town was planned around Strokestown House a beautiful Palladian mansion home to the Packenham Mahon Family at the time.