The name Roscommon is derived from Coman mac Faelchon who built a monastery there in the 5th century. The woods near the monastery became known as Saint Coman's Wood (Ros Comáin). This was later anglicised to Roscommon. The town is the location of a notable archaeological find in 1945 when a lunula, a gold necklace, and two discs were discovered. Both items are dated to the period 2,300 and 1,800 BC.
It was the homeland of The Connachta dynasty, and included such kingdoms as Uí Maine, Delbhna Nuadat, Síol Muirdeach, and Moylurg. In addition, it contained areas known as Trícha cét's, Túath and is the homeland of surnames such as Ó Conchobhair (O'Connor), Mac Diarmada (McDermott), Ó Ceallaigh (Kelly), Ó Birn (Beirne, Byrne, Burns), Mac Donnchadha (McDonough) and Brennan (Mac Branáin and Ó Branáin).
Roscommon is fairly short on attractions. It has no real wilderness but most of its farmland is poor. The most notable feature is the river Shannon and its lakes which stetch along the eastern border of the county.
The population is sparse and the county has had a long history of decline and emigration along with most of the west of Ireland.
Horse Racing. A horse racing course is situated approximately 1.6 km (1 mi) from the town centre, the track itself is an oblong right-handed track 2 km (1.25 mi) in length, and the course has stabling for up to 95 horses. edit
Mote Park. Mote Park, approximately 1.6 km (1 mi) from the town centre is a woodland area covering several miles and is popular with walkers. The impressive ruins of Roscommon castle are located on a hillside just outside the town, the castle is quadrangular in shape, it had four corner D-shaped towers, three storey’s high, and twin towers at its entrance gateway, one of which still retains its immensely sturdy vaulted roof. The entire castle was enclosed by a lofty curtain wall. It was built in 1269 by Robert de Ufford, Justiciar of Ireland, on lands he had seized from the Augustinian Priory. The castle had a most chequered history. It was besieged by Connacht King Aodh O’Connor in 1272. Eight years later it was again in the hands of an English garrison, and fully repaired. By 1340 the O’Connor’s regained possession of it, and, except for a few brief intermissions, they held it for two centuries until 1569, when Sir Henry Sidney, Lord Deputy seized it. It was granted to Sir Nicholas Malbie, Elizabethan Governor of Connaught, in 1578. Two years later the interior was remodeled and large mullioned windows were inserted in the towers and curtain walls. Again, in 1641 the Parliamentarian faction gained it until Confederate Catholics under Preston captured it in 1645. It remained in Irish hands until 1652 when it was partially blown up by Cromwellian "Ironsides" under Commissary Reynolds, who had all the fortifications dismantled. It was finally burned down in 1690, and, from the closing years of the 17th century, it gradually fell into decay. A symmetrical moat some distance from the curtain walls surrounded the entire castle and safeguarded it. It s now a national monument. In the town's main street is the prominent and beautifully renovated Bank of Ireland known also as Harrison Hall. Once a 17th century sessions house, it was remodeled in 1762 by Sir William Morrison and converted into a court house and market house. It is built in the classical architectural style with a cupola. It became a catholic church in 1863. After 1903 it became a recreational hall to commemorate Dr John Harrison (who was a physician in Roscommon town’s workhouse, during the famine of the 1840’s) it was used as a dance hall, cinema and theatre before it was sold to the Bank of Ireland in 1972. edit
Old Gaol. The Old Gaol is the second most prominent building in the town and faces the back of the Bank of Ireland now houses a modern shopping centre, the facade is all that remains of the original structure. The original building is thought to have been designed by Richard Cassells in 1736. The gaol had the distinction of having a hang woman ‘Lady Betty’, a criminal who had her sentence withdrawn on the provision that she perform the unpaid task of hang woman. In 1822 it was taken over for use as a lunatic asylum. In 1833 it became a ‘Lazaretto’ – a place where outcasts who suffered from small pox were confined. Sometime after 1840 the building was converted to residential and commercial use. Next to Harrison hall in the town square is a small Presbyterian Church built in 1863, the building now houses the County Museum and the Tourism office. The building is of cut limestone with a large recessed door, circular headed windows and fenestration on the wheel window over the door is in the form of the ‘Star of David’ to commemorate its Welsh Builders. The building was renovated in 1991 and now contains many exhibits and artifacts illustrating and interpreting the history of Roscommon. Among the artifacts on display are a 9th century grave slab from St Comans Abbey and a Sheela na Gig from Rahara church. edit
Golf. Roscommon Golf Club was founded in 1904, the course, set in parklands filled with mature sycamore, beech, whitethorn trees and ash trees, was extended to eighteen holes in 1996 and now measures 6,390 meters (6,900 yards)edit
See GAA match. Dr Douglas Hyde Park, with a capacity of 30,000 is an important Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) venue in Ireland and is home to the Roscommon county footballers and Roscommon Gaels club. edit
Leisure Centre. Roscommon has a leisure centre which opened early 2002 and has a 25 m (82 ft) deck level pool with a learner swimming pool and spectator gallery and fully equipped gymnasium. Situated next to the swimming pool is the home of Roscommon's most successful sport - St Coman's handball club. Established in 1930 the club has produced many All-Ireland winning handballers. edit