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Touring Roscommon

Lough Ree from Glasson Hill by Jim courtesy Geograph Britain and Ireland Knockcroghery Catholic church by Brian Shaw courtesy Geograph Britain and Ireland Lough Ree, with its 27 islands in the south-east of county Roscommon is a large presence. Fishing, boating, walks, and other water activities are popular. Knockcroghery, near the west bank of Lough Ree is home to the Claypipe Visitor Centre, where visitors can watch original handmade production methods. The village was famous for clay pipe production for 250 years.

Termonbarry boats on river Shannon by Eric Jones courtesy Geograph Britain and Ireland Lecarrow, by the Knockcroghery and Lough Ree road, leads to a lake with a ruined ivy covered castle (Rindoon), ruined church, and the wall of a medieval town. The town of Lanesborough is at the head of Lough Ree. At Termonbarry, a village on the river Shannon, riverside walks and a lock beckon.

Derryglad museum by Graham Horn courtesy Geograph Britain and Ireland In the south of the county the Derryglad Folk Museum at Curraghboy provides an insight into times past with its collection of horse drawn vehicles, household equipment, and rural artefacts.

Suck river from Ballyforan bridge courtesy Geograph Britain and Ireland Athleague farmhouse by Philip Rushe courtesy Geograph Britain and Ireland Athleague, a few miles south of Roscommon town, is home to the Suck Valley Visitor Centre, cafť, and craft shop. Information is provided on local attractions including angling, walking the Suck Valley Way, and cycling. The Suck river valley covers a 60 mile stretch of countryside in Roscommon and Galway. At Fuerty is a graveyard with ruins of a Franciscan church where 100 priests were killed during Cromwellís reign.

Roscommon town square by Christopher Hilton courtesy Geograph Britain and Ireland Roscommon, the county town, sits in the centre of cattle and sheep country. A livestock market, shopping, golf, and an international poetry festival are local activities. The town has a number of historic buildings. Neo-gothic Sacred Heart church, on Abbey Street, is built from blue limestone. In the interior are Italian glass mosaics and a white marble high altar. The old courthouse in the town centre dates from 1763 and now houses a branch of the bank of Ireland. The old gaol, also in the town centre, dates from the 18th century and is now a retail and residential building. The County Museum and Tourist Office are located in a former Presbyterian church.

Roscommon castle by John M courtesy Geograph Britain and Ireland The Dominican Friary south of the town, founded in 1253, has remains of traceried windows and a chancel with effigies. Ruined 13th century Roscommon castle, a national monument, lies across a field north of the town. Two gatehouses, mullioned windows, four D-shaped towers, and the massive walls remain.

Castlecoote is a picturesque village near Roscommon. Castlecoote House is open for guided tours. It was destroyed by fire in the 1990s and is now restored in the Georgian Palladian style. There are gardens and restored towers of a medieval castle in the grounds. Nearby is Donamon medieval castle, one of the oldest inhabited castles in Ireland. It is privately owned by a missionary group.

Strokestown garden by Barbara Ballard Strokestown is a heritage town north of Roscommon. It was laid out in the 19th century. 18th century Strokestown Park House, a Palladian mansion, offers, on a tour of its interior, a drawing room, library, study, dining room, kitchen, and gallery. The rooms are furnished with original furniture and fittings. A famine museum, restaurant, pleasure garden, gazebo, and walled garden add to the experience. St Johnís Heritage Centre, in a deconsecrated church, has displays on pagan Celtic society and a film on Roscommon. At Elphin, north of Strokestown, is a restored 18th century windmill and the Mill Cottage Agricultural Museum. The windmill has a thatched revolving roof.

Tulsk cemetery and Dominican friary ruins by Eric Jones courtesy Geograph Britain and Ireland Rathcrogham mound by Barbara Ballard West of Strokestown is the town of Tulsk. A castle was built here in 1406. The ruins of a Dominican priory of 1443 are in the cemetery. On the Tulsk-Ballanagare road is one of Irelandís most important celtic royal sites, covering 1280 acres and said to be burial place of the kings of Ireland and Connaught. Here are more than 20 prehistoric ring forts, burial mounds, and megalithic tombs. The principal ones are Rathcroghan Mound around which the complex is centered, Rathmore, Relig na Ri (the burial ground of the kings), and Rath na dTarbh (the fort of the bulls). The Cruachan Ai Heritage Centre provides the visitor with information in a series of exhibitions.

Keadue by Ed Gaffney courtesy Geograph Britain and Ireland Keadue in the far north of the county was the proud winner of the tidiest town in Ireland award in 2003. It holds a harp festival in August. On Lake Meelagh is the holy well of St Lasair.

Ballintober castle by Mike Searle courtesy Geograph Britain and Ireland Ballintober, just south of Castlerea, is an attractive village. 13th century Ballintober Castle overlooks the town. The gatehouses and towers remain. The Old Schoolhouse museum gives a peek into past school life and also has a craft shop and tearoom.

Clonalis house by Barbara Ballard Castlerea, a market town on the river Suck lies north-west of Roscommon. A railway museum on Main Street is housed in a 1955 diesel locomotive. Clonalis House, ancestral home of the OíConnors, kings of Connaught, was built in the late 1800s in the Victorian Italianate style. Marble pillars adorn the hall, while the drawing room has a collection of Minton, Meissen, and Limoges pieces. In the library are 5000 books, and the dining room is furnished with Irish Sheraton. Bedrooms are decorated with four poster beds and tapestries. A chapel and billiard room complete the tour.

Ballaghaderreen main street by Eric Jones courtesy Geograph Britain and Ireland Ballaghaderreen is a busy cathedral town near the Lung River on the Mayo-Roscommon border. The museum in 18th century Dillon House on the town centre square has household equipment, farm implements, and crafts.

Lough Key country park by Suse courtesy Geograph Britain and Ireland Boyle, a fishing and golf centre, sits at the foot of the Curlew mountains. The beautiful setting between Lough Gara and Lough Key forest park is the main pass to the north. Lough Key park consists of 865 acres and was once the site of a 16th century castle. The Moylurg Tower provides views over the countryside. There are nature trails, a restaurant, a bog garden, and boat trips on the lake.

Boyle marketplace by Oliver Dixon courtesy Geograph Britain and Ireland Boyle Abbey arcade by Barbara Ballard King House, in Boyle, is a restored Georgian mansion of 1730 that was first a house, then a military barracks. It has interactive exhibitions of Irish heritage and culture including information on the Kingdom of Connacht. The ruins of Cistercian Boyle Abbey date from the 12th century. The gatehouse is a visitor centre with displays on life in the monastery. The ruins include the nave, chancel and transepts of the church. 1750 Frybrook House, replete with architectural features, plasterwork, and an Adams fireplace, is located in the town centre by the Shambles Yard.

Crogan by Kieran Campbell courtesy Geograph Britain and Ireland Croghan, south of Boyle, lies in a historical area that includes the ancient St Aideen monastery at Drumharlow, many cairns, a druid altar, lime kilns, and monastic settlements. Religious sites include Eastersnow, Killukin, and Toomna. The area is also popular for its fishing lakes.

Arigna valley by Oliver Dixon courtesy Geograph Britain and Ireland Arigna is located in a narrow river valley in North Roscommon close to the borders of Sligo and Leitrim. The scenic drive over the mountains is steep and narrow but does offer good views. The village was the center of coal mining until 1990. The Arigna Mining Experience depicts the life of the coal miners in a exhibition and offers an underground coal mine tour.

Roscommon Attractions

Arigna Mining Experience
Derreenavoggy, Arigna
Tel. 071 96 46466
Web: Arigna Mining Experience

Ballaghaderreen Museum
Dillon House, town square, Ballaghaderreen
Tel. 094 9860118

Ballintober Castle
Tel. NA
Open: open site
Gatehouses andtowers of 13th century castle; craft shop; tearoom; Old Schoolhouse Museum

Boyle Abbey
Tel. 071 966 2604

Castlecoote House
Tel. 090 666 3794/3936
Web: Castlecoote House

Castlerea Railway Museum
Main Street Castlerea, in locomotive
Tel 094 962 0181

Claypipe Visitor Centre
Tel. 090 666 1923

Clonalis House
Tel. 0907 20014

Cruachan Ai Heritage Centre
Tel. 071 963 9268

Derryglad Folk Museum
Curraghboy, 11miles from Athlone on Tuam road
Tel. 0902 88192
Web: Derryglad Folk Museum

Dillon House Museum
Ballaghaderreen, town centre square

Elphin Windmill and Mill Cottage Agricultural Museum
Tel. 071 35181/35270

Frybrook House
Main St, Boyle; town center by the Shambles Yard
Tel. 071 966 3513

King House Interpretive Galleries and Museum
Boyle town centre
Tel. 071 966 3242; 071 96 62145 for TIC in grounds
Web: King House

Lough Key Country Park
At foot of Curlew mountains

Lough Ree Country Park

Old Schoolhouse Museum
Tel. 094 9655397

Rathcroghan Archaeological Sites
See Cruachan Ai Heritage Centre above

Roscommon Castle
Tel. NA

Roscommon County Museum
Roscommon, town centre square
Tel. 090 325 613

Roscommon Heritage and Genealogy Centre
St Johnís Church, Church St, Strokestown
Tel. 071 963 3380
Web: Roscommon Roots

Strokestown Park House and Famine Museum
Tel. 071 963 3013
Web: Strokestown Park House

Suck Valley Visitor Centre
Tel. 0903 63602

County Roscommon Tourist Information Centres

Boyle Tourist Office
Tel. 071 966 2145
Open: seasonal

Roscommon Tourist Information
Roscommon Museum/Library, Abbey Street
Roscommon Town
Tel. 090 66 26342
Open: June-Aug, 10am-5.30pm, Mon-Sat

Official Roscommon Websites

Roscommon Tourism
Roscommon County Council

Photos of Strokestown garden, Rathcrogham mound, Clonalis House, Boyle Abbey © by Barbara Ballard
Other photos courtesy Geograph Britain and Ireland as follows:
Lough Ree from Glasson Hills by Jim; Knockcroghery Catholic church by Brian Shaw; Termonbarry boats on river Shannon, Tulsk cemetery and Dominican friary ruins, Ballaghaderreen main street by Eric Jones; Derryglad museum, Suck river from Ballyforan bridge by Graham Horn; Roscommon town square by Christopher Hilton; Roscommon castle by John M; Keadue by Ed Gaffney; Ballintober castle by Mike Searle; Crogan by Kieran Campbell; Lough Key country park by Suse; Arigna valley, Boyle marketplace by Oliver Dixon; Athleague farmhouse by Philip Rushe

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