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Rindoon peninsula, Lecarrow, Roscommon, Ireland

South Roscommon Heritage Trail

Discover the rich heritage of South Roscommon on this charming Trail.

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Difficulty: Easy
Duration: Multiple days
 
Overview: Richard Collins of St. John's House B&B in Rindoon and Nollaig Feeney, Heritage Officer for County Roscommon, have shared their joint passion for the heritage of their environs with this wonderful Heritage Trail. All of the places you might have heard of, as well as a few you'll be glad to know of, are included here. It's a great addition to finding these hidden gems in the heart of Ireland.

Using St. John's B&B as your base, you could easily visit all of these sites in a week, or why not come back over a few weekends and combine some fishing, walking and birdwatching around the peninsula? Richard will of course be happy to prep you in advance of your day's activities as well as answering any questions you may have that evening - how's that for a comprehensive service?

There's a wide range of ancient monuments, holy wells and burial sites to visit, each with a fascinating lore to them. Roscommon may not roll off the tongues of all visitors to Ireland, but to those who seek beauty and culture, it is place they'll be happy to come back to again and again.

The sites are of course for you to decide on, but based on proximity and what can realistically be covered in a day allowing for time out and lunch, we've divided the points of interest into the following bunches: -

Day One: Points 1-5 Knockcroghery and Lecarrow.
Day Two: Points 6-10 Roscommon Town.
Day Three: Points 11-16 The Suck Valley.
Day Four: Points 17-22 Down to the Shannon.


Tips: The places listed on this Trail are spread out over 25 miles. A serious cyclist would be able to cover these places, but for someone hoping to enjoy a leisurely few days, we'd recommend driving. Do not use this App while driving. The guide is offered subject to acceptance of the Licence Agreement, which is linked on the right hand column of this page. If you are downloading, we recommend the use of the EveryTrail Pro app, which allows for offline map usage of the guide.

We also have produced a full guide for the wonders of Rinn Duin - simply click on the link to it in the Nearby Guide on the top left hand column.

Points of Interest

Landmark
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Rinn Duin

Park outside the main green gate beside the looped walk map. There is public access for walkers. Rinn Duin is the best preserved deserted Anglo Norman settlement in Ireland and is located near Lecarrow. The peninsula contains a large ruined Royal Castle and eight other historic sites, including a 500 metre defensive townwall with recently conserved towers, gate house and walls. There is also a windmill, church, hospital, Viking harbour and a medieval wood which has a superb display of primroses and blue bells in early May. The settlement was built in the 13th Century to support an Anglo Norman town of approximately 800 - 1000 settlers which disintegrated around AD 1343 due to repeated raids by the Irish, its cost and loss of strategic value. There is a beautiful scenic looped walk around Rinn Duin starting from the gates to St John's House.
Information
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Claypipe Centre

The village of Knockcroghery in South Roscommon has been famous for almost 300 years for its clay pipes or dúidíns. In the late 1800s, virtually the entire village was involved in the industry. Production of the claypipes ceased abruptly in 1921 when the village was burned down during the War of Independence. Today, with original moulds from the late 1800's, Ethel Kelly makes clay pipes using the same skills employed by artisans centuries ago. The Visitor Centre is located on the original site of the last pipe factory where you can see photographs and artifacts relating to this unique facet of Irish heritage. Entry is free.
Landmark
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Mote Park Lion

There is no formal access but can be seen from the raod. Entrance gate to former Mote Park demesne, c. 1800, consisting of a Doric triumphal arch surmounted by a lion with screen walls linking it to a pair of identical lodges possibly designed by James Gandon. The head and keystone of the arch appear to be of a later date.
Viewpoint
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Brehony's ringfort

This site has no formal public access but can be seen from road. Park in bay beside house. A ringfort is an early medieval farmstead enclosed by a circular stone or earth bank. It gave shelter and security to the family and its livestock. The size of the bank may serve as an indicator of the occupier's status. Brehony's ringfort is typical with a diameter of 25 m but has a rare high bank, especially to the North and East. The shed in the middle of the fort is an example of a ‘De Valera era ' hen house erected during World War 2 to encourage food production in Ireland.
Landmark
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Scregg passage tomb

Known locally as ‘The Cloghogle' this site has no formal public access but can easily be seen from road. This spectacular burial tomb has a large capstone with some grassy clay on top, supported by two low side stones and a smaller backstone. There is no sign of any circular kerb which is the norm for most passage tombs. Its date is imprecise. It may be contemporary with Carrowmore in Sligo and therefore date to approximately 4000 BC.
Building
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Roscommon Abbey

Also known as the Friary. Founded over 750 years ago by Felim O' Conor who was buried there in 1265. His effigy in the chancel dates from around 1300 and also has eight niches containing fifteenth-century figures of gallowglasses, Scottish mercenaries. Much of its existing fabric dates from the thirteenth century. A chapel was added in the fifteenth Century.
Building
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Sacred Heart Church

Park on road. The foundation stone was laid on St. Patrick's Day 1897 on land given by the Sisters of Mercy. It was barely 50 years after the famine and Roscommon town was incapable of giving much material help towards the building of the church. As a consequence funds were collected from the Irish abroad in England, Scotland, Argentina and USA. The dedication took place on 18th June 1903 and the eventual cost of the completed building was £40,000. Inside the church are fine stained glass windows and Mosaic decorations. Toilets beside the church.
Building
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St. Coman's graveyard

For a site associated with St Coman (c. 750 AD) there are scant remains of ancient buildings but some important pieces of sculpture from the Irish Romanesque (1000- 1169 AD) and the ‘Joseph' stone of c.800 AD have been discovered. The Church is an amalgam of different building styles from c.1600. The graveyard has some very fine headstones, especially those of the signs of the Passion
Information
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Roscommon Museum

Park on road or in adjacent car park. Roscommon County Museum has a large range of unique items including a ninth century inscribed slab from St Coman's foundation, a replica of the Cross of Cong and a superb example of a 'Sheela na Gig' figure taken from Rahara Church.
Building
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Roscommon Castle

Park on road leading to the castle, beside Loughnameane Park. Built in 1269 by Robert de Ufford. Captured by Aodh O'Connor in 1272. Eight years later retaken by the English. Regained in 1340 by the O'Conor's who mostly held it until 1569 when seized by Sir Henry Sidney. Retaken in 1641 by Parliamentarians until Confederates captured it in 1645 and was partially blown up by Cromwellians in 1652. Burned in 1690. Well worth a visit.
Landmark
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La Tène Stone

On arrival, go through stone gates. Stone is 50m on the right. Known as the Castlestrange Stone, this dramatic granite boulder displays the characteristic curvilinear ornamentation of Celtic flourishes called La Tène. These date from the Iron Age (c. 400 BC), and were named from the site in Switzerland where such designs were first noted in artifacts. Picnic table on site.
Landmark
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Lobbinroe Windmill

A tower mill built c.1750, and consolidated c.1990. A stone in door reveal is inscribed 'Sep 1818 IN' . It is enclosed by stone wall and survives as a reminder of the industrial heritage of the area. It has superb views of the surrounding countryside
Building
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Sheela-na-Gig

Park beside the entrance to the graveyard. Located in the ruined church. The sheela na gig (a figurative carving of a naked woman displaying an exaggerated vulva) can be found at the external apex of the gable end of the medieval church which is at the far end of the graveyard. Such 13th Century carvings are said to ward off death and evil and it is commonly said that they are there to keep evil spirits away and are often positioned over doors or windows, presumably to protect these openings.
Water
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St Ronan's Holy Well and Rag Tree

Holy wells are sacred sites that have continued in use since prehistory. A bride might hope for good luck; an invalid might search for a cure. St Ronan's Well is reputed to have curative powers for eyesight. Often a special Mass is said. The prehistoric ritual of circumambulation or making structured rounds of the well continues. Rag trees are normally close to Holy Wells, as is the case on this site. Usually the rags are placed there, often by the traveller community, believing that if a rag from someone who is ill, or has a problem of any kind, is hung the symptoms will disappear.
Building
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Brideswell Holy Well

A superb example of a well maintained holy well in the centre of the village. Good location for a refreshment break. This well is one of the earliest Christian sites in Ireland and has a traditional Pattern day on the last Sunday of July (Garland Sunday). Pilgrimage to this well helped Roman Catholics preserve their faith in the difficult years of the Penal Laws. Local folklore has it that the fine 17th Century coat-of-arms of Randall McDonnell, the Earl of Antrim, erected in 1625 and found beside the well, is in recognition of a favour granted. The water has no known curative powers but is visited infrequently by women for fertility purposes.
Building
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Milestone - Curraghboy

Located on East wall beside the road. A rare roadside pillar showing 6 Irish miles to Athlone. It was probably part of a turnpike or toll on the Curraghboy road. Tolls were abolished in1858. One Irish mile is equivalent to 2,240 yards or 1.27 statute miles and 2.048 kms.
Landmark
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Meehambee Dolmen

Park at tomb sign beside road. The 300 metre long Bridle Pathway at Meehambee, Drum leads to the pre-historic monument, the 3500 BC megalithic burial tomb, Four separate information panels are presently in place at different locations along the pathway. The site of Lios na Dreoilin (Fort of Wrens) has now become a Bird Watchers Paradise and its peaceful surroundings attracts walkers to stop at the Wayside Sign and listen to the singing birds. The garlic patch when in full bloom over the summer months provides walkers with a sweet scented aroma. The descriptive information panel offers walkers a look back in time when garlic was extensively used for cures in humans and animals alike. Picnic table on site.
Building
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Curraghaleen Hedge School

Park on road beside school. Not many ruins of Hedge Schools are to be found today in rural Ireland. Described as a wretched cabin on the 1826 Survey of Schools, the records state Curraghaleen Hedge school had an attendance of 12 males and 4 females and the Hedge School Master was a Patrick Hawkins. The interior of the refurbished one-room school contains sixteen life-size models of barefooted pupils attired in dress of the period. The stern faced School Master is seated across from his class where he points to an old-time griddle which he uses as a blackboard. The Gaelic translation of the town-land points to Curraghaleen being originally known as the low-land of linen. Flax growing and homespun linen appears to have been a large scale farming activity in Curraghaleen during the 16th-17th Centuries. The interior of the restored old school-house contains Information Wall Panels depicting photos of the laborious task involved in flax growing and the tedious work of converting the crop for the making of linen. Drum Heritage Centre has the keys to the school. Tel 00353 87 9918966.
Building
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Drum Heritage Centre, Holy Well and Graveyard

Drum Heritage Centre has a large display area containing one of the largest collections in the midlands of historic documents relating to Drum and the local area, including Mass Display paths. There is also a large collection of the literary works of Tadgh O' Neachtain including those of his son Sean, the papers of the old Gaelic family, the Naughten's, a display of all local families in the 1911 census and the Boston Pilot papers. There is a fine example of Holy Well adjacent to the Monastic Site which stands on an embankment within the Monastic enclosure. Known to locals as "The Monastery", the Abbey appears to have been the place of worship for a Community of Patrician Monks whose living quarters are located to the rear of the Abbey building. The Monastic site also contains the ruins of a Medieval Church and the remains of at least four small buildings believed to have been one-time solitary penitent places of prayer, in addition to three hundred and fifty well maintained memorials to the dead. Entry is free. Toilets in the Centre.
Landmark
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Thomastown mausoleum

The cemetery and the very fine Naghten mausoleum were both restored in 1997-1999 by Drum Heritage Group, as was the adjacent early Christian Church known locally as the Blind Church (no windows). Its interior wall carries a limestone plinth to the memory of the Forgotten Dead many of whose remains were interred within the surrounding one acre cemetery site. Thomastown House for several generations was the seat of the Naghten family who were owners of 5,000 acres of land in Drum right up to the twentieth century. The house is now demolished. Muddy approach. Boots needed
Building
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Shannonbridge fortifications

These fortifications are an outstanding example of early 19th century artillery fortifications, built following the 1798 rising, to guard against a further French invasion. Four guns were arranged along the front of the redoubt. Remains of the pivots and circular track indicate that they were mounted on traversing platforms. The roof of the barracks carried 3 guns. There is a newly opened looped walk adjacent to the fort. There is a restaurant in the fort and by arrangement with the local tourist office in Shannonbridge there are guided tours of the fortification.
Building
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Nure Wake House

Park beside the road. Known to the present day as "The Caoinna Marbh" (crying of the dead), this Wake house was frequently used in early Christian times to rest coffins and coffin carriers when funeral corteges passed through on their way to Clonmacnoise. The interior is furnished with a limestone funeral bearer intended to replicate the recumbent coffin position, the practices and customs of old time wakes in rural Ireland when snuff and clay pipes were much used during the waking period.
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South Roscommon Heritage Trail Map


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