Roscommon is full of unexpected treasures and Roscommon Castle is definitely one of those. Unlike many Irish castles which are really tower houses, this is the real thing complete with towers, slits for archers and a murder hole.
Today the 13th century Norman castle is in ruins but is still a magnificent imposing structure, ample to inspire the imagination of any small child. It towers over the lovely 14-acre Loughneneane Park, complete with playground, natural turlough and wildlife conservation area. Loughneneane translates from Irish as ‘the lake of the birds’. It’s just a few minutes’ walk from Gleesons Roscommon.
Roscommon Castle was strategically located from a geographical point of view and the location is also very symbolic. The kings of Connacht, the Ó Conchobair’s had a stronghold here. It is steeped in myth and legend, and connected with the epic Táin Bó Cúailgne or Cattle Raid of Cooley, the most famous tale in Irish mythology. It’s even reputed to be an entry point to the Otherworld.
Marie Gillooly brings Roscommon Castle to life on her tours, explaining its complex history as it was attacked, destroyed and rebuilt, switching hands through battles and sieges. There are traces of each different style as it was changed and updated along the way. She’ll even introduce you to what passed for a bathroom in the Middle Ages!
Local historian and tour guide Marie Gillooly runs informative and lively historical tours of Roscommon. Book a tour with Marie when you’re next staying at Gleesons Roscommon.