County Roscommon

Coordinates: 53°45′N 8°15′W / 53.750°N 8.250°W / 53.750; -8.250
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County Roscommon
Contae Ros Comáin
Coat of arms of County Roscommon
Latin: Constans Hiberniae Cor
"Steadfast Irish heart"
Location of County Roscommon
RegionNorthern and Western
Establishedc. 1569[1][2]
County townRoscommon
 • Local authorityRoscommon County Council
 • Dáil constituenciesRoscommon–Galway
 • EP constituencyMidlands–North-West
 • Total2,548 km2 (984 sq mi)
 • Rank11th
Highest elevation428 m (1,404 ft)
 • Total70,259
 • Rank26th
 • Density28/km2 (71/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC±0 (WET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+1 (IST)
Eircode routing keys
F42, F45, F52 (primarily)
Telephone area codes071, 090 (primarily)
Vehicle index
mark code
WebsiteOfficial website Edit this at Wikidata

County Roscommon (Irish: Contae Ros Comáin) is a county in Ireland. It is part of the province of Connacht and the Northern and Western Region. It is the 11th largest Irish county by area and 26th 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 was 69,995 as of the 2022 census.[4]


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.[5]


County Roscommon has an area of 2,548 square kilometres (984 sq mi).[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.[6]

Roscommon is the third largest of Connacht's five counties by size and the second-smallest in terms of population. It ranks 11th in size of Ireland's 32 counties, but 26th in terms of population, making it the 3rd most sparsely populated county after Leitrim and Mayo. 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, people from Roscommon have the longest life expectancy of any county on the island of Ireland.[7]

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 (1,404.20 ft).[8]

Largest towns by population[edit]

According to the 2016 census:[3]

  1. Roscommon 5,876
  2. Boyle 2,568
  3. Castlerea 1,992
  4. Ballaghaderreen 1,808


There are nine historical baronies in County Roscommon.

North Roscommon

South Roscommon


River Suck at Athleague.

Rathcroghan (Irish: Rath Cruachán), near Tulsk, a complex of archaeological sites, the home of Queen Medb (Irish: Méadhbh, anglicised 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. The county is home to prehistoric ringforts such as Carnagh West Ringfort and Drummin fort.

County Roscommon as an administrative division has its roots in the Middle Ages. 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 alongside the River Suck.

Medieval art[edit]

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.[9][10][11][12] The workshop has been linked to St. Assicus of Elphin.[13]

Ordnance Survey[edit]

Roscommon Castle

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."[14][15]

The River Shannon running through Athlone town.
Lough Key

Places of interest[edit]

Government and politics[edit]

Roscommon is governed locally by the 18-member Roscommon County Council, a body created under the Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898.

The 1898 Act also divided the county into the rural districts of Athlone No. 2, Ballinasloe No. 2, Boyle No. 1, Carrick-on-Shannon No. 2, Castlerea, Roscommon, and Strokestown.[16] The rural districts were abolished in 1925.[17] Boyle and Roscommon were administered locally by town commissioners.[18] Roscommon town commissioners were abolished in 1927. After becoming a town council in 2002,[19] in common with all other town councils in Ireland, Boyle Town Council was abolished under the Local Government Reform Act 2014.[20]

For general elections, Roscommon is mostly within the three-seat Dáil constituency of Roscommon–Galway, with a portion of the county in the Sligo–Leitrim constituency. For European elections, the county is part of the Midlands–North-West constituency.

Rail transport[edit]

There are railway stations located in Boyle (Dublin–Sligo line), Carrick-on-Shannon (Dublin–Sligo line), Roscommon (Dublin–Westport line), Castlerea (Dublin-Westport line), Ballinasloe (Dublin-Galway line) and Athlone (Dublin–Galway and Dublin–Westport lines).


Gaelic football is the dominant sport in Roscommon. Roscommon won the All-Ireland Senior Football Championships in 1943 and 1944 and the National Football League Division 1 in 1979, as well as Division 2 in 2015 and 2018. Roscommon have captured the Connacht Senior Football Championship on 23 occasions, the most recent being in 2019.

Roscommon's main hurling title was the 2007 Nicky Rackard Cup.

Soccer and rugby are also popular sports in the county.

Notable people[edit]

In order of birth:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mannion, Joseph (20 June 2019). "Elizabethan County Galway: The Origin and Evolution of an Administrative Unit of Tudor Local Government". Journal of the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society. 64: 64–89. JSTOR 24612855.
  2. ^ "County Galway, Ireland Genealogy Genealogy – FamilySearch Wiki". Archived from the original on 28 July 2020. Retrieved 20 June 2019.
  3. ^ a b c "County Profiles – Roscommon". Western Development Commission. Archived from the original on 2 June 2021. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  4. ^ a b "Census of Population 2022 – Preliminary Results". Central Statistics Office. 23 June 2022.
  5. ^ Walsh, Jane (9 September 2016). "What do Ireland's county names mean?". Archived from the original on 10 November 2016. Retrieved 22 November 2016.
  6. ^ "Ordnance Survey Ireland: FAQs". Archived from the original on 28 February 2012. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  7. ^ "Roscommon tops life expectancy study". RTÉ News. Dublin: RTÉ Commercial Enterprises. 12 August 2008. Archived from the original on 4 September 2008. Retrieved 19 August 2009.
  8. ^ "Seltannasaggart 428m hill, Arigna Mountains Ireland at". Archived from the original on 10 November 2016. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
  9. ^ Ó Floinn 1987, pp. 179–187.
  10. ^ Hourihane 2012, pp. 225.
  11. ^ Edwards 2013, pp. 147.
  12. ^ Karkov, Ryan & Farrell 1997, pp. 269.
  13. ^ Kelly 1902, pp. 291–292.
  14. ^ Hunt, Roy (2010). Painful progress: the slow evolution of County Roscommon society, 1850–1914 (Thesis). National University of Ireland Galway. p. 8.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ Clancy, John Joseph (1899). A handbook of local government in Ireland: containing an explanatory introduction to the Local Government (Ireland) Act, 1898: together with the text of the act, the orders in Council, and the rules made thereunder relating to county council, rural district council, and guardian's elections: with an index. Dublin: Sealy, Bryers and Walker. p. 424.
  17. ^ Local Government Act 1925, s. 3: Abolition of rural district councils (No. 5 of 1925, s. 3). Enacted on 26 March 1925. Act of the Oireachtas. Retrieved from Irish Statute Book on 22 December 2021.
  18. ^ "1926 Census: Table 9: Population, Area and Valuation of urban and rural districts and of all towns with a population of 1,500 inhabitants or over, showing particulars of town and village population and of the number of persons per 100 acres" (PDF). Central Statistics Office. p. 28. Archived (PDF) from the original on 27 April 2016. Retrieved 30 October 2022.
  19. ^ Local Government Act 2001, 6th Sch.: Local Government Areas (Towns) (No. 37 of 2001, 6th Sch.). Enacted on 21 July 2001. Act of the Oireachtas. Retrieved from Irish Statute Book on 3 August 2022.
  20. ^ Local Government Reform Act 2014, s. 24: Dissolution of town councils and transfer date (No. 1 of 2014, s. 24). Enacted on 27 January 2014. Act of the Oireachtas. Retrieved from Irish Statute Book on 21 May 2022.

Secondary references[edit]

External links[edit]

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