County Roscommon

County Roscommon
Contae Ros Comáin
Roscommon Castle ruins

Coat of arms
Motto(s): Constans Hiberniae Cor  (Latin)
"Steadfast Irish heart"
Country Ireland
Province Connacht
Dáil Éireann Roscommon–South Leitrim
EU Parliament Midlands–North-West
County town Roscommon
  Type County Council
  Total 2,648 km2 (1,022 sq mi)
Area rank 11th
Population (2016) 64,436
  Rank 27th
Vehicle index
mark code

County Roscommon (Irish: Contae Ros Comáin) is a county in Ireland. In the western region, it is part of the province of Connacht. It is the 11th largest Irish county by area and 27th most populous. Its county town and largest town is Roscommon. Roscommon County Council is the local authority for the county. The population of the county is 64,436 according to the 2016 census.[1]


County Roscommon is named after the county town of Roscommon. Roscommon comes from the Irish Ros meaning a wooded, gentle height and Comán, the first abbot and bishop of Roscommon who founded the first monastery there in 550 AD.[2]


Roscommon is the eleventh largest of the 32 counties of Ireland by area and the fifth least-populous county in Ireland. It has an area of 984 square miles.[3] Lough Key in north Roscommon is noted for having thirty-two islands. The geographical centre of Ireland is located on the western shore of Lough Ree in the south of the county.[4]

Roscommon 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, as well as three Leinster counties – Longford, Westmeath and Offaly. In 2008, a news report said that statistically, Roscommon has the longest life expectancy of any county on the island of Ireland.[5]

Seltannasaggart which is located along the northern border with County Leitrim is the tallest point in County Roscommon measuring to a height of 428 m (1,404 ft).[6]


There are nine historical baronies in County Roscommon.

North Roscommon

South Roscommon


Rathcroghan (Rath Cruachán), near Tulsk, a complex of archaeological sites, the home of Queen Medb (Méadhbh, Maeve), was the seat of Kings of Connacht and then to the High Kings of Ireland. This was the starting point of the Táin Bó Cúailnge, or Cattle Raid of Cooley, an epic tale in Irish mythology.

County Roscommon as an administrative division has its origins in the medieval period. With the conquest and division of the Kingdom of Connacht, those districts in the east retained by King John as "The King's Cantreds" covered County Roscommon, and parts of East Galway. These districts were leased to the native kings of Connacht and eventually became the county. In 1585 during the Tudor re-establishment of counties under the Composition of Connacht, Roscommon was established with the South-west boundary now along the River Suck.

Medieval art

A "well defined" and "original" fine metal workshop was active in County Roscommon in the 12th century. The Cross of Cong, the Aghadoe crosier, Shrine of the Book of Dimma and Shrine of Manchan of Mohill' are grouped together as having been created by Mael Isu Bratain Ui Echach et al., at the same Roscommon workshop.[7][8][9][10] The workshop has been linked to St. Assicus of Elphin.[11]

Ordnance Survey

John O'Donovan (1806–1861), historian and scholar, visited County Roscommon in 1837, while 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." However, 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."[12][13]

Government and politics

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

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

Rail transport

Iarnród Éireann provides Roscommon with passenger and freight rail services. Many passenger services to Dublin use Heuston. Athlone is the interchange between the Dublin–Galway and Dublin–Westport services. There are also trains from Sligo on the Dublin–Sligo railway line serving two County Roscommon stations, at Boyle and Carrick-on-Shannon on the line to Dublin Connolly.


Gaelic football is the dominant sport in Roscommon. Roscommon GAA have won 2 All-Ireland Senior Football Championships in 1943 and 1944 and a National Football League Division 1 in 1979 and Division 2 in 2015 and 2018. Roscommon GAA play home games at Dr. Hyde Park.

Roscommon has less success in hurling, their main hurling title was the 2007 Nicky Rackard Cup.

Notable people

In order of birth:

See also


  1. Census 2016 - County Roscommon Overview
  2. Walsh, Jane (2016-09-09). "What do Ireland's county names mean?". Retrieved 2016-11-22.
  3. "County Roscommon, Ireland". Retrieved 2016-11-22.
  4. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 28 February 2012. Retrieved 2016-02-07.
  5. "Roscommon tops life expectancy study". RTÉ News. Dublin: RTÉ Commercial Enterprises. 12 August 2008. Retrieved 19 August 2009.
  6. "Seltannasaggart 428m hill, Arigna Mountains Ireland at".
  7. Ó Floinn 1987, pp. 179-187.
  8. Hourihane 2012, pp. 225.
  9. Edwards 2013, pp. 147.
  10. Karkov, Ryan, Farrell 1997, pp. 269.
  11. Kelly 1902, pp. 291-292.
  12. Hunt, Roy, "Painful progress: the slow evolution of County Roscommon society, 1850-1914". Unpublished Thesis, 2010, NUIG p. 8.
  13. 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.

Secondary references

Coordinates: 53°45′N 8°15′W / 53.750°N 8.250°W / 53.750; -8.250

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