No one is from Roscommon, according to a very old joke, since the county has no maternity hospital. Its neither the smallest or the biggest county in Ireland, what is beautiful is its mountains, rivers and lakes. Roscommon is Ireland’s geographical centre located on the shores of Lough Ree situated in Carnagh East.
Roscommon is where the UNESCO World Heritage Site is located and once it was the home of the Maeve, the mythological queen. It is also home to the National Famine Museum, which is indeed one of the very few museums worldwide based on a Famine theme.
The county is named after the “Ros” and “Coman” the first part of the name refers to a wooded, gentle height, while the second part is the name of a famous saint, also referred to as the very first bishop of the see. In the fifth century, Coman Mac Faelchon built a monastery in the county of Roscommon. Originally the county established, officially in 1585, it was around the time when the land division of the East was reinstated by the Tudors. Statistically, it is the county in Ireland with the longest life expectancy, a fact revealed in 2008.
Geography and Political Subdivisions
Of the 32 counties in Ireland, Roscommon is the 11th largest, and when it comes to most sparsely populated counties, it is the fifth. The area is 984 square miles which makes it the 3rd largest in size of the five counties in Connacht. It borders every county in Connacht, including Leitrim, Sligo, Galway mayo as well as three of the Leinster Counties.
Roscommon offers an interesting variety of fantastic tourist attractions including the 14th-century castle known as the Ballintober Castle. The castle fell into ruin when it was taken over by English forces. In 1690 it was restored but then fell again after the Battle in 1690.
Tourist also visits the Turlough Carolan grave, the blind harpist who lived from 1670 to 1738, a harp made by Carolan can also be seen in the stately home of the Connaught O’Connor family. A unique insight awaits visitors on the Argina Mountains mining experience, during the 45-minute tour of the mine, which worked since the 1700’s.
Politics and Local Government
In terms of general elections, Roscommon falls under the Roscommon-South Leitrim Consistuency. The county is under the control of the Roscommon County Council consisting of 26 members.
Culture and Architecture
Roscommon is rich in heritage gems and home to the Cistercian Monastery, which is nothing short of impressive and well preserved after it was found as far back as the 12th century. In the Derryglad Museum, over six thousand items are stored that tells the history and the culture of Roscommon’s past. A fully restored windmill from the 18th century is still working and can be seen in action. And for tourist who have a passion for railways, the Hell’s Kitchen Bar Railway Museum offers the largest collection of Ireland’s rail memorabilia.
It is one of the most fertile farmlands in Ireland, and Roscommon offers placid lakes and extensive bogs. What had a devastating effect on the county was 1845 to 1848 Great Famine in which many died, and others emigrated once the county’s main food crop was destroyed.
A unique insight is offered by the famine museum, one that allows visitors to understand the peoples battle against hunger. Roscommon is the perfect place for anyone who loves nature and its Lough Key Forest Park is situated only five miles away and offers 840 acres of ring forts, fishing, cruising as well as fully serviced caravan services, a camping area and the best nature walk.
Roscommon County enjoyed a massive growth in international visitors, between 2003 and 2017 this growth was as high as 53%, which showed a huge increase in revenue estimated in 2003 as €13 million and by 2007 it amounted to €27 million.
At the time Roscommon had only 480 graded hotel rooms, and in 2006 it was placed seventeenth out of twenty-six counties in attracting tourists. At the time it was predicted that the increase in tourism would contribute 50% to the economy of Roscommon.
Accommodation in Roscommon
Thousands of international tourists visit Roscommon in Ireland, which now offers a variety of accommodation to choose from, some of the most popular options include B&B’s, as well as hotels such as the Abbey known for its atmosphere, while the Hodson Bay 15 miles away offers excellent facilities such as a spa, pool and a wide choice of restaurants.
Whether visitors plan to stay for a weekend or an extended holiday in Roscommon, there are plenty of rooms offered in both 3 and 4-star hotels, and those in the county.
Roscommon offers a variety of must-see attractions include the Roscommon Golf Club, Dr Hyde Park and the amazing Roscommon Castle. Arriving by train is a great option since the closest station is located only 0.8 km from the city centre, although your planning could depend on the weather conditions.
When it comes to seasonal temperatures January to March offer maximums in general of 11 °F during the day and 2 °F at night, April to June 19 °F daytime and 3 °F at night and then in October to December the temperatures are around 15 °F during the day with nights of 2 °F. Seasonal rainfalls from October to December is 242 inches, July to September 203 inches, April to June 169 inches and in January up to March 199 inches.
Extended List of Tourist Attractions in Roscommon
The list of must-see tourist attractions in Roscommon includes:
• The Ballintober Castle
• Clonalis House
• Boyle Abbey
• Douglas Hyde Interpretative Centre
• Drumanone Dolen
• Grave of Turlough O’Carolan
• Frybrook House
• Rathrcroghan RingBarrow
• King House Interpretative Centre
• Lough Key Forest Park
• Roscommon Castle
• Rathcroghan Archaeological Visitors centre Complex
• Storkestown Park house
• The Famine Museum.