Caislean Ros Comáin aka Roscommon Castle located on a hillside, just outside Roscommon town, is a large 13th Century Norman structure. It was the centre of Anglo-Norman power in this part of Ireland until the mid 14th century. For two centuries it was the residence of the kings of Connacht. The castle is now part of the local amenity area called Loughnaneane Park.
Erected on the orders of King Henry III of England, this castle was built in 1269 (on lands taken from an Augustinian priory) by Robert de Ufford, Justiciar of Ireland. Construction was impeded by native attacks led by Aedh O'Conor (son of FeiIim O'Conor, the Irish king of Connacht).
The castle was laid siege by the Connacht King Aodh O'Connor in 1272. It was repossessed by the English garrison and fully restored in 1280.
By the year 1340, the O'Connors regained possession and held it until 1569, when it then fell to Sir Henry Sidney, the Lord Deputy.
In 1577 the castle and 17,000 acres was granted to an English solider and administrator, Sir Nicholas Malby. He built Renaissance-influenced fortified house to the northern part making the Roscommon Castle one of the largest New English estates in lreland at this time.
In 1641 it was gained by the Parliamentarian faction and then confederate Catholics, under Preston, captured it in 1645. From thence, it remained in Irish hands until 1652 when it was partially blown up by Cromwellian "Ironsides" who then had all the fortifications dismantled.
The castle was burned down in 1690 and ultimately fell into decay. Its ruin now remains within the public park that is 1km from Roscommon town centre.
Amenities: The park offers bird watching at the turlough, wildlife conservation, duck pond, children’s playground and outdoor gym equipment.
It is accessible by a ramp up to the castle but there are no toilets nor cafe on site.
Note: the interior of the castle may not be fully accessible and some of the higher towers are gated off for safety.
Opening hours and cost: Admission is FREE and there is a free car park.
Roscommon Town, Co Roscommon, Ireland
+353 90 662 5613