County Roscommon

County Roscommon
County Roscommon
Contae Ros Comáin

Coat of arms
Motto: Constans Hiberniae Cor  (Latin)
"Steadfast Irish heart"
Country Ireland
Province Connacht
Dáil Éireann Roscommon-South Leitrim
EU Parliament North-West
County seat Roscommon
 – Type County Council
 – Total 2,547 km2 (983.4 sq mi)
Area rank 11th
Population (2011) 63,896
 – Rank 27th
Car plates RN

County Roscommon (Irish: Contae Ros Comáin) is a county in Ireland. It is located in the West Region and is also part of the province of Connacht. It is named after the town of Roscommon. Roscommon County Council is the local authority for the county. The population of the county is 63,896 according to the 2011 census.[1]


Geography and political subdivisions

Roscommon is the 11th largest of the 32 counties of Ireland by area and the fifth least-populous county in Ireland. It has the second least population density after Leitrim.[2] It is the third largest of Connacht’s five counties by size and fourth largest in terms of population. The county borders every other Connacht county (Galway, Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim). In 2008, a news report said that statistically, Roscommon has the longest life expectancy of any county on the island of Ireland.[3] Lough Key in north Roscommon is noted for having thirty-two islands. The Geographical centre of Ireland is located in the county.[4]

Towns and villages


Lough Key

Roscommon comes from the Irish Ros meaning a wooded, gentle height and Comán, the name of the county's famous saint and the first bishop of the see. Rathcroghan was home to the Kings of Connacht and then to the High Kings of Ireland.

Tulsk is the nearest village to the mythological site of Rath Cruachán, home of Queen Medb (Méadhbh, Maeve). This was the starting point of the Táin Bó Cúailnge, or Cattle Raid of Cooley, an epic tale in Irish mythology. Rathcroghan has been nominated for UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 2010, as part of the Royal Sites of Ireland group, with Tara.

Dr Douglas Hyde, the first Irish president, was born in County Roscommon and the GAA park in County Roscommon is named Hyde Park in his honor. Strokestown Park House and Famine Museum is an award-winning museum for its portrayal of the great Irish Famine.[11] John O'Donovan (1809-61), historian and scholar, visited County Roscommon in 1837. He was compiling information for the ordnance survey. Entering St. Peter's parish in Athlone in June, 1837, he wrote 'I have now entered upon a region totally different from longford, and am very much pleased with the intelligence of the people'. But he had major problems with place-names. He later wrote, 'I am sick to death's door of lochawns, and it pains me to the very soul to have to make these remarks, but what can I do when I cannot make the usual progress? Here I am stuck in the mud in the middle of Loughs, Turlaghs, Lahaghs and Curraghs, the names of many of which are only known to a few old men in their immediate neighbourhood and I cannot give many of them utterance from the manner in which they are spelled'.<Hunt, Roy, 'Painful progress: the slow evolution of County Roscommon society, 1850-1914'. Unpublished Thesis, 2010, NUIG p. 8><John O' Donovan, 'letters containing information relative to the antiquities of the County of Roscommon, collected during the progress of the ordnance survey, 1837. p. 5. Special collections section, National University of Ireland, Galway, 2009 reproduced by Rev. Michael O'Flanagan, Bray 1927; >

Annals of Ireland

From The Annals of the Four Masters:

  • M1556.1. Gilla-Columb O'Clabby, Coarb of St. Patrick at Uaran-Maighe-Aoi, head of the hospitality and affluence of the Coarbs of Connaught, general entertainer of the indigent and the mighty, died in Clanrickard, after having been banished from Uaran, and after his son, Dermot Roe O'Clabby, had been slain by the Clann-Conway.

Government and Politics

Roscommon is governed locally by the 26 member Roscommon County Council.

For general elections, Roscommon forms part of the three seat Roscommon-South Leitrim constituency.


John Fitzgibbon (1845-1919) Michael Wheatley wrote of Fitzgibbon: 'He himself sold land to the Congested Districts Board (CDB), oblivious to what a later age would call 'conflict of interest'.' <Michael Wheatley, Nationalism and the Irish party: provincial Ireland 1910 - 1916 (New York, 2005), p. 36> Wheatley was referring to the fact that Fitzgibbon was a member of the CDB in Castlerea when the transaction took place. Fitzgibbon started his working life in his father's drapery business in Castlerea <'These were the county's first prime ministers', (Roscommon Herald centenary supplement 1859 - 1959)> Seen as a spokesman for the tenant, Fitzgibbon exercised his powers of persuasion and oratory at meetings across Roscommon. His political life spanned 30 years, from the land war to the ranch war. He was also involved in the Gaelic League, the temperance movement and the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction (DATI). In 1910, he became MP for South Mayo. He served on the Castlerea board of guardians and was a member (later chairman, 1901), of Roscommon County Council. <Hunt, Roy, 'Painful progress: the slow evolution of Co. Roscommon society, 1850 - 1914', Unpublished research thesis, NUIG 2010, pp. 128-9></ref>

  • Baron de Freyne
  • Douglas Hyde (1860–1949) - an Irish scholar of the Irish language who served as the first President of Ireland from 1938 to 1945. He founded the Gaelic League, one of the most influential cultural organisations in Ireland. Hyde is buried in the Hyde Museum, Frenchpark, Roscommon.
  • Percy French (1854–1920) - one of Ireland's foremost songwriters and entertainers. He has also become recognised for his watercolour paintings.
  • Chris O'Dowd (born 1980) - an Irish actor born in Boyle, County Roscommon. Best known for starring in Channel 4's comedy The IT Crowd.
  • Maureen O'Sullivan, Ireland's first International Star was born in Boyle, County Roscommon.
  • Ashling Harte, County Roscommons first female Mayor.


County Roscommon is twinned with the following places:

See also


  1. ^ Census 2006 - Population of each province, county and city
  2. ^ Corry, Eoghan (2005). The GAA Book of Lists. Hodder Headline Ireland. pp. 186–191. 
  3. ^ "Roscommon tops life expectancy study". RTÉ News. Dublin: RTÉ Commercial Enterprises. 12 August 2008. Retrieved 19 August 2009. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ For 1653 and 1659 figures from Civil Survey Census of those years, Paper of Mr Hardinge to Royal Irish Academy March 14, 1865.
  6. ^ Census for post 1821 figures.
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ Lee, JJ (1981). "On the accuracy of the Pre-famine Irish censuses". In Goldstrom, J. M.; Clarkson, L. A.. Irish Population, Economy, and Society: Essays in Honour of the Late K. H. Connell. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press. 
  10. ^ Mokyr, Joel; O Grada, Cormac (November). "New Developments in Irish Population History, 1700-1850". The Economic History Review 37 (4): 473–488. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0289.1984.tb00344.x. 
  11. ^ Roscommon Links Accessed 11 November 2008
  12. ^ Twinning

External links

Coordinates: 53°45′N 8°15′W / 53.75°N 8.25°W / 53.75; -8.25

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