Video of Roscommon Town, County Roscommon, Republic of Ireland
Roscommon (Irish: Ros Comáin, meaning "Saint Coman's wood") is the county town of
County Roscommon in Ireland. Its population at the 2006 census was 5,017 (including
rural area). The town is near the meeting of the N60, N61 and N63 roads.
The name Roscommon is derived from Coman mac Faelchon who built a monastery there
in the 5th century. The woods near the monastery became known as Saint Coman's Wood
This was later anglicised to Roscommon. The town is the location of a notable archaeological
find in 1945 when a lunula, a gold necklace, and two discs were discovered. Both
items are dated to the period 2,300 and 1,800 BC.
It was the homeland of the Connachta dynasty, and included such kingdoms as Uí Maine,
Delbhna Nuadat, Síol Muirdeach, and Moylurg. In addition, it contained areas known
as Trícha cét's, Túath and is the homeland of surnames such as Ó Conchobhair (O'Connor),
Mac Diarmada (McDermott), Ó Ceallaigh (Kelly), Ó Birn (Beirne, Byrne, Burns), Mac
Donnchadha (McDonough) and Brennan (Mac Branáin and Ó Branáin).
The impressive ruins of Roscommon castle are located on a hillside just outside the
town, the castle is quadrangular in shape, it had four corner D-shaped towers, three
storey’s high, and twin towers at its entrance gateway, one of which still retains
its immensely sturdy vaulted roof. The entire castle was enclosed by a lofty curtain
wall. It was built in 1269 by Robert de Ufford, Justiciar of Ireland, on lands he
had seized from the Augustinian Priory. The castle had a most chequered history.
It was besieged by Connacht King Aodh O’Connor in 1272.
In the town's main street is the prominent and beautifully renovated Bank of Ireland
known also as Harrison Hall. Once a 17th century sessions house, it was remodeled
in 1762 by Sir William Morrison and converted into a court house and market house.
It is built in the classical architectural style with a cupola. It became a catholic
church in 1863. After 1903 it became a recreational hall to commemorate Dr John Harrison
(who was a physician in Roscommon town’s workhouse, during the famine of the 1840s)
it was used as a dance hall, cinema and theatre before it was sold to the Bank of
Ireland in 1972.
The Old Gaol is the second most prominent building in the town and faces the back
of the Bank of Ireland now houses a modern shopping centre, the facade is all that
remains of the original structure.