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South Roscommon Heritage Trail

Discover the rich heritage of South Roscommon on this charming Trail.

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Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Duration: Multiple days

Overview :  Richard Collins of St. John's House B&B in Rindoon and Nollaig Feeney, Heritage Officer for County Roscommon, have shared their... more »

Tips:  The places listed on this Trail are spread out over 25 miles. A serious cyclist would be able to cover these places, but for someone... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Rinn Duin

Park outside the main green gate beside the looped walk map. There is public access for walkers. Rinn Duin is the best preserved deserted Anglo Norman settlement in Ireland and is located near Lecarrow. The peninsula contains a large ruined Royal Castle and eight other historic sites, including a 500 metre defensive townwall with recently... More

2. Claypipe Centre

The village of Knockcroghery in South Roscommon has been famous for almost 300 years for its clay pipes or dúidíns. In the late 1800s, virtually the entire village was involved in the industry. Production of the claypipes ceased abruptly in 1921 when the village was burned down during the War of Independence. Today, with original moulds from the... More

3. Mote Park Lion

There is no formal access but can be seen from the raod. Entrance gate to former Mote Park demesne, c. 1800, consisting of a Doric triumphal arch surmounted by a lion with screen walls linking it to a pair of identical lodges possibly designed by James Gandon. The head and keystone of the arch appear to be of a later date.

4. Brehony's ringfort

This site has no formal public access but can be seen from road. Park in bay beside house. A ringfort is an early medieval farmstead enclosed by a circular stone or earth bank. It gave shelter and security to the family and its livestock. The size of the bank may serve as an indicator of the occupier's status. Brehony's ringfort is typical with a... More

5. Scregg passage tomb

Known locally as ‘The Cloghogle' this site has no formal public access but can easily be seen from road. This spectacular burial tomb has a large capstone with some grassy clay on top, supported by two low side stones and a smaller backstone. There is no sign of any circular kerb which is the norm for most passage tombs. Its date is imprecise. It ... More

6. Roscommon Abbey

Also known as the Friary. Founded over 750 years ago by Felim O' Conor who was buried there in 1265. His effigy in the chancel dates from around 1300 and also has eight niches containing fifteenth-century figures of gallowglasses, Scottish mercenaries. Much of its existing fabric dates from the thirteenth century. A chapel was added in the... More

7. Sacred Heart Church

Park on road. The foundation stone was laid on St. Patrick's Day 1897 on land given by the Sisters of Mercy. It was barely 50 years after the famine and Roscommon town was incapable of giving much material help towards the building of the church. As a consequence funds were collected from the Irish abroad in England, Scotland, Argentina and USA.... More

8. St. Coman's graveyard

For a site associated with St Coman (c. 750 AD) there are scant remains of ancient buildings but some important pieces of sculpture from the Irish Romanesque (1000- 1169 AD) and the ‘Joseph' stone of c.800 AD have been discovered. The Church is an amalgam of different building styles from c.1600. The graveyard has some very fine headstones,... More

9. Roscommon Museum

Park on road or in adjacent car park. Roscommon County Museum has a large range of unique items including a ninth century inscribed slab from St Coman's foundation, a replica of the Cross of Cong and a superb example of a 'Sheela na Gig' figure taken from Rahara Church.

Park on road leading to the castle, beside Loughnameane Park. Built in 1269 by Robert de Ufford. Captured by Aodh O'Connor in 1272. Eight years later retaken by the English. Regained in 1340 by the O'Conor's who mostly held it until 1569 when seized by Sir Henry Sidney. Retaken in 1641 by Parliamentarians until Confederates captured it in 1645... More

11. La Tène Stone

On arrival, go through stone gates. Stone is 50m on the right. Known as the Castlestrange Stone, this dramatic granite boulder displays the characteristic curvilinear ornamentation of Celtic flourishes called La Tène. These date from the Iron Age (c. 400 BC), and were named from the site in Switzerland where such designs were first noted in... More

12. Lobbinroe Windmill

A tower mill built c.1750, and consolidated c.1990. A stone in door reveal is inscribed 'Sep 1818 IN' . It is enclosed by stone wall and survives as a reminder of the industrial heritage of the area. It has superb views of the surrounding countryside

13. Sheela-na-Gig

Park beside the entrance to the graveyard. Located in the ruined church. The sheela na gig (a figurative carving of a naked woman displaying an exaggerated vulva) can be found at the external apex of the gable end of the medieval church which is at the far end of the graveyard. Such 13th Century carvings are said to ward off death and evil and it ... More

14. St Ronan's Holy Well and Rag Tree

Holy wells are sacred sites that have continued in use since prehistory. A bride might hope for good luck; an invalid might search for a cure. St Ronan's Well is reputed to have curative powers for eyesight. Often a special Mass is said. The prehistoric ritual of circumambulation or making structured rounds of the well continues. Rag trees are... More

15. Brideswell Holy Well

A superb example of a well maintained holy well in the centre of the village. Good location for a refreshment break. This well is one of the earliest Christian sites in Ireland and has a traditional Pattern day on the last Sunday of July (Garland Sunday). Pilgrimage to this well helped Roman Catholics preserve their faith in the difficult years of... More

16. Milestone - Curraghboy

Located on East wall beside the road. A rare roadside pillar showing 6 Irish miles to Athlone. It was probably part of a turnpike or toll on the Curraghboy road. Tolls were abolished in1858. One Irish mile is equivalent to 2,240 yards or 1.27 statute miles and 2.048 kms.

17. Meehambee Dolmen

Park at tomb sign beside road. The 300 metre long Bridle Pathway at Meehambee, Drum leads to the pre-historic monument, the 3500 BC megalithic burial tomb, Four separate information panels are presently in place at different locations along the pathway. The site of Lios na Dreoilin (Fort of Wrens) has now become a Bird Watchers Paradise and its ... More

18. Curraghaleen Hedge School

Park on road beside school. Not many ruins of Hedge Schools are to be found today in rural Ireland. Described as a wretched cabin on the 1826 Survey of Schools, the records state Curraghaleen Hedge school had an attendance of 12 males and 4 females and the Hedge School Master was a Patrick Hawkins. The interior of the refurbished one-room school... More

19. Drum Heritage Centre, Holy Well and Graveyard

Drum Heritage Centre has a large display area containing one of the largest collections in the midlands of historic documents relating to Drum and the local area, including Mass Display paths. There is also a large collection of the literary works of Tadgh O' Neachtain including those of his son Sean, the papers of the old Gaelic family, the... More

20. Thomastown mausoleum

The cemetery and the very fine Naghten mausoleum were both restored in 1997-1999 by Drum Heritage Group, as was the adjacent early Christian Church known locally as the Blind Church (no windows). Its interior wall carries a limestone plinth to the memory of the Forgotten Dead many of whose remains were interred within the surrounding one acre... More

21. Shannonbridge fortifications

These fortifications are an outstanding example of early 19th century artillery fortifications, built following the 1798 rising, to guard against a further French invasion. Four guns were arranged along the front of the redoubt. Remains of the pivots and circular track indicate that they were mounted on traversing platforms. The roof of the... More

22. Nure Wake House

Park beside the road. Known to the present day as "The Caoinna Marbh" (crying of the dead), this Wake house was frequently used in early Christian times to rest coffins and coffin carriers when funeral corteges passed through on their way to Clonmacnoise. The interior is furnished with a limestone funeral bearer intended to replicate the recumbent... More