The wildflowers of County Roscommon make it a romantic summer destination, but there’s a lot more to this part of Ireland than pretty flowers. The region is covered in ancient burial sites with hundreds of prehistoric mounds and dolmens. Throw in some of Ireland’s best pubs and restaurants and County Roscommon becomes a perfect location for a holiday.
Views and Scenery in County RoscommonRoscommonis a watery place – the county is famous for its turloughs, mini lakes on a limestone base that flood in the winter but dry out in the summer leaving beautiful wildflower meadows. County Roscommon has dozens of turloughs that are rich in wildlife – whooper swans, geese and ducks of all kinds live on the water during the wet months. When the waters shrink, smaller birds like the willow warbler and meadow pipit arrive, along with flowers like parnassus, lady’s smock, brooklime and ragged robin.
Lough Key is a more permanent stretch of water and the beautiful lake bordered by the atmospheric forest park peppered with mediaeval ruins.
Around Boyle, visitors will also find the foothills of the Curlew Mountains, which are great for cycling and walking.
Heritage and History in County RoscommonRathcrogan Royal Centre offers a fantastic insight into ancient Ireland, deciphering the enigmatic sites for visitors. The centre is home to about 200 of the 1,500 prehistoric sites in Roscommon and is a great place to visit. The site was the seat of the High Kings of Ireland and is steeped in Irish mythology. The Drumanone dolmen near Boyle is also a superb example of a megalithic structure.
The county is littered with more recent history as well. Roscommon Castle, built in 1269, retains most of its walls, and there are fine abbeys at Roscommon town and the village of Boyle.
The Arigna Mine in Roscommon town is one of the county’s must-sees – the former coal mine has been converted to give visitors a 45-minute tour of the daily life of the Irish miners.
Sport and LeisureThe waters of Lough Key are great for pleasure boating and fishing – anglers will love the calm waters of the lake with its abundance of pike, bream and tench. The Boyle river, Finlough, Oakport Lake and Lough Gara are also pleasant fishing spots.
Golfers can find courses in attractive surroundings at Roscommon town, Athlone, Boyle and Castlerea, while ramblers have a host of trails to pick from – there are several paths near Boyle for all standards, while Kilronan Castle is good for longer walks.
Shopping and Events in County RoscommonThe Boyle Arts Festival in July covers all the main disciplines: music, art and theatre. Roscommontown is the place to go for high street shops, and the farmers take over the town each spring for the Roscommon Lamb Festival. The Tain March in early June is a celebration of Roscommon’s history, the costumed warriors parading at Rathcroghan.
Enjoy County RoscommonCounty Roscommon is a great place for history buffs to visit, but don’t forget its natural charms – the changing of the seasons brings a new look for Roscommoneach month.