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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 town Roscommon
 • Type County Council
 • Total 2,547 km2 (983 sq mi)
Area rank 11th
Population (2011) 64,065
 • Rank 27th
Car plates RN

County Roscommon (Irish: Contae Ros Comáin) is a county in Ireland. It is located in the province of Connacht, and also the West Region. It is named after the town of Roscommon. Roscommon comes from the Irish Ros meaning a wooded, gentle height and Comán, the name of the founder, first abbot and bishop of Roscommon. Roscommon County Council is the local authority for the county. The population of the county is 64,065 according to the 2011 census.[1]

Geography and political subdivisions[]

Roscommon Castle.

Roscommon is the 9th 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.[2] It has the second least population density after Leitrim.[3] 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.[4] Lough Key in north Roscommon is noted for having thirty-two islands. The Geographical centre of Ireland is located in the county.[5]

Towns and villages[]

  • Arigna
  • Athleague
  • Athlone
  • Ballaghaderreen
  • Bellanagare
  • Bellanamullia
  • Ballintober
  • Ballinlough
  • Ballyfarnon
  • Ballyforan
  • Boyle
  • Ballyleague
  • Castlerea
  • Castleplunket
  • Cloonfad
  • Cootehall
  • Cortober
  • Croghan
  • Drum
  • Elphin
  • Frenchpark
  • Keadue
  • Kilteevan
  • Knockvicar
  • Knockcroghery
  • Lecarrow
  • Loughglinn
  • Rahara
  • Roscommon
  • Roosky
  • Strokestown
  • Tarmonbarry
  • Tulsk


River Suck at Athleague.

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 Connaught", Roscommon was established with the South-west boundary now along the River Suck.

Ordnance survey[]

John O'Donovan (1806-61), 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'.[12][13]

The River Shannon running through Athlone town.

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.


  • Luke O'Connor, the first soldier to receive the Victoria Cross, born in Elphin in 1831.
  • Chris O'Dowd, Irish actor and comedian, born in Boyle.
  • John Fitzgibbon (1845-1919) - Member of Parliament.
  • Baron de Freyne, landlords and residents of Frenchpark House.
  • 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.
  • Henry Gore-Browne, recipient of the Victoria Cross
  • William Griffiths, recipient of the Victoria Cross
  • Sir Owen Lloyd, recipient of the Victoria Cross
  • Brian O'Doherty, an Irish writer, artist, and art critic in New York City, born in Ballaghaderreen
  • Maureen O'Sullivan, Ireland's first international movie star, was born in Boyle, County Roscommon.
  • Brian Leyden, Irish novelist, short story writer, screenwriter, and documentarian
  • Thomas Heazle Parke, Irish explorer, born in Clogher House.


County Roscommon is twinned with Tucson, Arizona, United States and Castle Point, Essex, England.[14]

See also[]

  • List of abbeys and priories in Ireland (County Roscommon)
  • Counties of Ireland
  • Lord Lieutenant of Roscommon
  • High Sheriff of Roscommon
  • Earl of Roscommon


  1. ^ Census 2011 - County Roscommon Overview
  2. ^ "Error: no |title= specified when using {{Cite web}}". 
  3. ^ Corry, Eoghan (2005). The GAA Book of Lists. Hodder Headline Ireland. pp. 186–191. 
  4. ^ "Roscommon tops life expectancy study". RTÉ News. Dublin: RTÉ Commercial Enterprises. 12 August 2008. Retrieved 19 August 2009. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ For 1653 and 1659 figures from Civil Survey Census of those years, Paper of Mr Hardinge to Royal Irish Academy March 14, 1865.
  7. ^ Census for post 1821 figures.
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ 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. 
  11. ^ Mokyr, Joel (November 1984). "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. 
  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
  14. ^ Twinning

External links[]

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

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at County Roscommon. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.