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Aran Inspired

Roscommon Castle

On the outskirts of Roscommon Town sits this  large and sprawling Norman castle ruin, originally built in 1269. Situated on a slope overlooking the town, it is easy to see how this castle would have dominated its surroundings in medieval times.

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Rathcrogan and Glenballythomas Earthworks

A grouping of ancient earthworks that covers nearly two square miles, this ancient site includes ring forts and a large mound that may actually be a passage tomb similar to the Mound of the Hostages at Tara in County Meath. There are a number of enclosures that also appear to be tombs. One is said to be that of King Dathi, the last of the pagan kings of Ireland. It is marked by a standing stone nearly seven feet tall. Megalithic tombs of several varieties are common to this area as well.

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Lough Key Forest Park and Castle Island

Lough Key is one of Ireland’s most beautiful lakes, which can be reached by boaters on the River Shannon via the Boyle River. The Forest Park surrounding it comprises approximately 800 acres of varied woodland. The lake’s name derives from the Druid of the Silver Arm, also known as Cé (pronounced kay). The druid was said to be the king of the Tuatha de Danann, the mythical ancient people who, according to oral tradition, first inhabited the island of Ireland. Legend has it that he was drowned when the lake’s waters erupted from the earth.

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Tullyboy Farm

 At its scenic location on the plains of Boyle, County Roscommon, Tullyboy Animal Farm gives an authentic and fun taste of life on an Irish farm. Visitors can enjoy a leisurely time observing, petting, and feeding over 30 different kinds of animals, such as deer, ostriches, pigs, and horses. Then have a leisurely picnic in the orchard, or relax with refreshments in the authentic old-fashioned coffee shop and restaurant, located in one of the attractive limestone buildings situated around the farm.

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Strokestown Park House and Famine Museum

At first glance, the Strokestown Park House looks like most other 18th century Irish estates. But when you enter this house – the world that the Pakenham Mahon family lived in from 1600 until 1979 – you’ll notice a marked difference.  For three centuries, family members have lived and died here, and an amazing number of original possessions remain on the property and available for inspection. This creates a sense of family continuity that makes a visit to the estate special. The children’s area exhibits are especially poignant, featuring items such as 1930’s copybooks filled with notes and a variety of children’s toys.

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Castlestrange Stone

This ancient, richly decorated and beautiful carved stone is located on the Castlestrange Estate near Athleague in County Roscommon. Free to visit, the stone dates from the late Iron Age period -- somewhere between 500BCE and 100AD. Roughly egg shaped, the Castlestrange Stone is about 60cm high and about 1 metre wide, and has a swirling design engraved into its granite surface. It sits on a bed of river rocks. A protected National Monument, the purpose of the Castlestrange Stone remains known. Historians presume it served some religious or ceremonial function.

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Dr. Douglas Hyde Interpretative Centre

Douglas Hyde is best remembered as the first President of Ireland, and was a student and academic dedicated to the preservation of the Gaelic language and culture. This centre is committed to revealing the life of the man as well as the results of his work as founder of the Gaelic League, an organization known as a powerful cultural influence across Ireland. Douglas Hyde was born in Castlerea, County Roscommon, on January 17, 1860. His family was known for a long tradition of service to the church of Ireland. In fact, his father Arthur Hyde, was once rector of the church building that now houses the interpretative centre.

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King House

On the shores of Boyle River sits the majestic King House, built in 1730 by Sir Henry King. It is an important icon of both period architecture and local history. The King family moved to Rockingham in 1788, leaving the house to be used as a military barracks for the Connaught Rangers and later the Irish Army. King House was restored in 1989 by local craftspeople to its original beauty. Impressive features include the main entrance and salon, as well as majestic vaulted ceilings. A large permanent exhibit at the house uses models and visual and sound effects to show what life was like at various stages in the history of the building.

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Roscommon Dominican Friary

The ruins of the Dominican Friary date back to 1253. The church was consecrated in 1257. It was built by Felim O’Conor, who was Lord of Roscommon at that time. A transept was added to the single aisle church in the 15th century, and its original lancet windows were replaced by tracery windows, some of which survive in the existing south wall. The north wall contains a carved effigy of Felim O’Conor that was created sometime during the last decade of the 13th century. Since the 15th century, it has marked a tomb along with a carving of eight warriors, clad in mail and brandishing weapons. Angels overlook the tomb from their niches in the wall above.

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The Sacred Heart Church, Roscommon Town

Sacred Heart Church is the most prominent building in the town of Roscommon. It is made entirely of local stone. Construction began in 1903 and was completed in 1925.The spire of the church rises 25 m and seems even taller as the building stands atop a small hill. The front is adorned by a small, sunken grotto. Above the front entrance, there is an extraordinary mosaic that includes the images of two bishops responsible for the construction of the church. It was designed and executed by an Italian group called Salviate.

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