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Roscommon Castle
 

County

Roscommon

Coordinates

N 53° 38' 07.9"   W 008° 11' 35.2"

Nearest town

Roscommon

Grid Ref.

M 87226 65094

Map No.

40

Elevation a.s.l. (m)

56

Date of visit

Sunday 31 May 2009

GPS Accuracy (m)

10
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The Roscommon castle seen from the southwest across the pond in the town park west of the castle. It looks like the Taj Mahal.


We were here already on December 9th, 1995 and May 7th, 1997.
The Roscommon castle is in town and is one of the finest Anglo-Norman castles in all Ireland. It's a quadrilateral fortification with a D-shaped tower on each corner. The site for building the castle was chosen by the Dublin government in 1262 during the course of a hosting against Aedh O'Conor, son of Feilim O'Conor, the High King of Ireland. The works for the building began in 1269, but several raids by the Aedh's army slowed down the building works and it took ten years to complete the castle, that was the centre of the Anglo-Norman power until the mid 14th century. The townland where the castle stands is called Loughnaneane, which derives its name from the Irish for "The lake of the birds".
Originally the castle was surrounded by a 2.5 metres deep ditch filled with the water from the lake. The access to the main gateway between the twin-towered gatehouse on the east wall and to the postern gateway on the west wall was granted by drawbridges and portcullises. All the four corner towers and the battlements on the wall walks were supplied with arrowloops. The twin-towered gatehouse was originally three storeys in height and had many rooms within it.
The castle was attacked many times by the local Irish and in the mid 14th century was in the hands of the O'Conor Don's family that held it for over 200 years. In 1569 the O'Conor Don family gave the castle back to the Dublin government, and the crown granted the castle and the surrounding lands to sir Nicholas Malbie, an English soldier who turned the northern section of the castle into a fortified house in a Renaissance style. The twin-towerd gatehouse and the northern corner towers were joined in a elegant L-shaped house.
The castle was abandoned at the end of the 17th century.


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