Category Archives: Roscommon

Castlereagh (Castlerea) Old Roman Catholic Gravestone Photographs, Co. Roscommon

Once I got to Castlereagh then I had to find the old Roman Catholic graveyard didn’t I?

It’s on a hill and I have to say it was very difficult to walk around even though the grass had been recently cut.  When I went in I did intend to photograph as many stones as I could *but* the layout, the difficulty of walking around cancelled out that idea.

I photographed as many Flanagan stones as I could see and then a few that stood out.  There is one stone with some wonderful work and I personally have not seen one like this before over in Laois.

This is a big graveyard and the remains of the old Catholic Church stand in the middle of it.  Really just the tower and bits of the walls

Roscommon Castle Photographs

Back in 2013 I went to visit Roscommon Castle with some friends over from the US. These are some of the photographs that were taken on that day.

Bog Bursts, Co. Roscommon

A.D. 1831, January.- Bog, near Geevagh, Co. Sligo.
” After a sudden thaw of snow, the bog between Bloomfield and Geevagh gave way; and a black deluge, carrying with it the contents of 100 acres of bog, took the direction of a small stream, and rolled on with the violence of a torrent, sweeping along heath, timber, mud, and stones, and overwhelming many meadows and arable land. On passing through some boggy land, the flood swept out a wide and deep ravine, and a part of the road leading from Bloomfield to St. James’s Well was completely carried away from below the foundation for the breadth of 200 yards.”

Ref: Lyell, Principles of Geology’ 10th ed., vol. ii., p. 504

Strokestown House, Co. Roscommon Photographs

Last year (it was last Summer..) when Cassie was over, one of the places we went to look at was Strokestown house.  Now, I’ve never been over to Roscommon much except when I lived in Longford and had to get my appendix out in a bit of a rush in Roscommon hospital many moons ago, so, visiting Strokestown house was interesting – very interesting.

Here are a selection of the photographs I took on that day.

Ballinasloe News, Co. Galway, 1845

The King’s County Chronicle

General Advertiser for the Unions of Parsonstown, Tullamore and Roscrea
Vol. 1 – No. 1
Parsonstown, Wednesday September 24, 1845


The Great Agricultural Meeting and Annual Cattle Show
Of Live Stock, Horses, Sheep, Swine and Implements, Flax, Wool, Butter, Poultry, Seeds, Roots, Grasses, &c. &c. To be held at Ballinasloe, on Tuesday, 30th of September, 1845 and the days following.
Under the patronage of the Royal Agricultural Improvement Society of Ireland. His Grace the Duke of Leinster, President.

Programme for the Proceedings
All implements intended for exhibition must be in the Show Yard this day ; the Exhibitors having first taken out the necessary Tickets of Admission from the Clerk of the Yard.

Monday, 29th September
There will be a Trial of Implements this day, under the direction of the Judges.
Professor Kane will deliver his First Lecture on the Application of Chemistry to Agriculture. Admittance, One Shilling each Lecture.
There will be a General Meeting of the Society at Two o’Clock, his Grace the Duke of Leinster, President, in the Chair, to nominate Judges and Stewards of the Yard for the day following, and to receive Deputations for holding the Annual Cattle Show next year.
All Stock, Sheep, Swine and other articles will be received into the Show Yard this day; the Exhibitors having first taken out the necessary Tickets of Admission from the Clerk of the Yard.

Tuesday, 30th September.
First Day of the Show
All the remaining Stock and other Articles must be at the Show Yard gates before Six o’Clock on the Morning of this day to be placed for Exhibition; but Horses will be received until eight o’Clock, when the gates will be closed, and the Yard cleared to enable the Judges to proceed with their adjudications.
Professor Kane will deliver his Second Lecture at Eleven o’Clock this day.
The Gates of the Show Yard will be opened at One o’Clock for the admission of the Public, at two Shillings and Sixpence each Person.
The Council Dinner will take place at Six o’Clock in the New Agricultural Hall, the Earl of Clancarty, Chairman of the Council, in the Chair.
Tickets – One Guinea each.

Wednesday, 1st October
Second Day of the Show
The Show Yard gates will be opened at Nine o’Clock this day for the admission of the Public at One Shilling each.
The Banquet Dinner will be held in the Great Agricultural Hall, this day at five o’clock, when his Grave, the Duke of Leinster, President of the Society, will preside, supported by Lord Clonbrock, and other Vice Presidents of the Provinces. Tickets Ten Shillings Each.
Admittance to the different Entertainments to be confined to the Members of the Central Society who shall have paid their Annual Subscriptions for 1845, Subscribers to the Local Fund, and such strangers from England and Scotland as shall honour the meeting with their presence.

Thursday 2nd October
Mr. Hugh Ferguson of Dublin, will deliver a Lecture this day, open to the Public, on the prevailing Epidemic among Cattle in Ireland.
There will be a general Auction of Stock, Horses, Sheep, Implements &c., at Twelve o’Clock this day in the Show-yard.
Professor Kane will deliver his Third Lecture at Two o’Clock this day and his Fourth Lecture on the day following. The remaining Two Lectures of the Course to be delivered on Monday and Tuesday, the 6th and 7th of October, during the Fair.
The Proceedings of the Meeting will be terminated with a Grand Ball and Supper, on Thursday night, the 2nd of October, under the immediate patronage of the leading Nobility and Gentry, Members of the Central Society.
Catalogues and Lists of Stock Implements, &c., to be had in the Show-yard, after the Judges have given in their Reports.
Signed by Order
Edward Bullen, Secretary.
Society’s Rooms, 41 Upper Sackville street,

** Arrangements have been made for securing every accommodation for Strangers, which can be had on application by Letter to Mr. John Gill, Local Assistant Secretary, Ballinasloe, by whom the same will be provided.

Emigration and Education Statistics, 1931, Co. Roscommon


Roscommon, an inland county, is bounded on the north by counties Sligo and Leitrim, on the east by counties Leitrim, Longford and Westmeath, on the south by Offaly (King’s county) and Galway and on the west by Galway and Mayo. Its greatest length is 60 miles and its greatest breadth from Rooskey to a point west of Lough Errit, is 33 ½ miles.


The name of the county is derived from that of the town. In the beginning of the 8th century, St. Coman founded a monastery here and the place was called from his name “Ros-Comain” Coman’s Wood.

The district formerly called Moylurg, of which MacDermott was the chief, extended from the Curlieu Mountains on the north to Elphin on the south, from the River Shannon to Lough Gara; and is known in modern times as the Plains of Boyle. South of this Moy-Ai or Maghery-Connaught (the Plain of Connaught) extends from Elphin to the town of Roscommon and east and west from Strokestown to Castlereagh. The old territory of Hy Many originally included the part of Roscommon lying south of Lanesborough and the town of Roscommon, it also formed the territories called Delvin Nuadat. The portion lying between Elphin and the Shannon and extending north and south from Jamestown on the Shannon to the north part of Lough Ree was called the “Three Tuathas” or territories, i.e. “Keriel Dofa,” between Slieve Bawn and the Shannon; “Corcachlann” to the west and “Tir Briuin of the Shannon” north of these two.


The Arigna mines near the River Arigna are well known, and part of the Connaught coal field runs into this county.

There are no extensive or high Mountain Ranges in the county. The Curlieu Range runs along the boundary between Roscommon and Sligo, but the highest point is not much over 800 feet. The Slieve-bawn Hills, south-east of Strokestown, running parallel with the River Shannon, rise to about the same elevation. The highest point in the county, (1,377’) is on the Leitrim boundary at the extreme north.

The Lakes are dotted all over the county, but only a few of them are of any importance. In the north, is Lough Key, a very fine lake, 3 ½ square miles in extent, on the shores of which stand the beautiful demesne of Rockingham; on an island in the lake is the old castle of the MacDermotts, the proprietors of the surrounding district. The lakes on the River Shannon which extend into the county are Lough Ree, Lough Forbes, Lough Bofin, Lough Boderg and Lough Allen. Near the town of Lough Glinn stands the lake of that name, and in the same part of the county are Loughs Errit, Cloonagh and Cloonacolly. Near Ballinlough Lough O’Flynn is of considerable size. South of Elphin is Kilglass Lake, 2 miles in length. South of Strokestown are Loughs Clonfree, Ardakillen and Finn. In the south are Lough Funshinagh, Lough Croan and Corkip Lake.

The River Shannon forms the whole of the eastern boundary of this county. The Suck rises in Mayo and soon passes into Roscommon where it runs through Lough O’Flynn and passing by Castlerea, forms for about 50 miles the boundary between Roscommon and county Galway, till it joins the River Shannon near Shannon Bridge. The Arigna flows mostly through the northern part of the county, into the Shannon. The Boyle River flows through the “Plains of Boyle” from Lough Gara to Lough Key, and thence to the Shannon. Other rivers are the Breedogue and the Lung.





Total Pop.

104,519 104,210 208,729

123,031 126,582 249,613

127,016 126,575 253,591

86,411 87,025 173,436

79,841 77,431 157,272

70,647 70,023 140,670

66,657 65,833 132,490

58,000 56,397 114,397

51,233 50,558 101,791

48,522 45,434 93,956

43,283 40,221 83,556

Families and Houses in 1926

The number of families in the county was 18,902 the average number in each family being 4.3 The number of inhabited houses was 18,883, showing an average of 4.4 persons to each house. The special inhabitants of public institutions are omitted from these calculations.

There were in the county 16,295 Occupiers or Heads of Families, who were in occupation of less than five rooms, being 86.21% of the total for the county. Of these 403 or 2.13% of the families in the county occupied one room; 2,157 or 11.41%, two rooms; 10,657 or 56.39%, three rooms; and 3,078 or 16.28%, occupied four rooms.

There were in the county 204 tenements in which the room had only one occupant; 164 cases where the room had 2-4 occupants, 50 cases in which there were 5-7 occupants and 11 cases where the occupants of one room exceeded 7 in number, including one case where nine persons occupied the same room.

Birthplace of Inhabitants

Of the population in 1926, 88.62% were born in the county, 9.8 % in other counties in Saorstat Eireann. 0.35% in Northern Ireland, 0.69% in Great Britain, and 0.54% were born abroad.


In 1911 there were in the county 78,148 persons aged 9 years and upwards; of these 68,012 or 87.1% could read and write; 2,440 or 3.1% could read only and 7,696 or 9.8% were illiterate. As this census is the starting point where the age was raised from 5 years to 9 years; no comparison can be made with previous figures from other censuses. The report states that the percentage of those of 5 years and upwards who were unable to read and write was 18.2% in 1891, 13.4% in 1901 and in 1911 had fallen to 11.9%.

IRISH SPEAKING (1861-1911)

of people
1861 1871 1881 1891 1901 1911

Irish only
530 739 95 21 55 14

Irish & English
32,616 17,364 21,494 11,864 15,317 10,099

Irish Total
33,146 18,103 21,589 11,885 15,372 10,113
% of
31.8 12.9 16.3 13.0 20.9 20.1

RELIGIONS, 1871-1926 (% of population)

1871 1881 1891 1901 1911 1926

Roman Catholic
96.1 96.5 96.4 97.34 97.63 98.4

Church of Ireland
3.4 3.1 3.1 2.23 2.01 1.37

0.3 0.2 0.3 0.25 0.21 0.13

0.1 0.1 0.1 0.10 0.07 0.02

0.1 0.1 0.1 0.08 0.08 0.08

EMIGRATION (1861-1911)

1861 1871 1881 1891 1901 1911
27,756 21,393 13,790 23,128 16,322 11,070

Presbyterian (Seceders) Synod, 1833: Congregation Index

Roman Catholic Parishes, 1836: Parish Index

This page features a list of over 1,300 record parishes from the Roman Catholic Parishes index of 1836.

Cathal Crovederg or “Charles of the Red Hand”

The ruins of Ballintober Castle are amongst the most magnificent in Connaught, and are memorable as the last strong- hold of the O’Conors. The castle, which stands on an elevated ridge by the road-side, above the little village of Ballintober, four miles from the town of Castlebar, consists of a quadrangular inclosure, 270 feet in length, and 230 feet in breadth, with four flanking towers, and one upon each side of the great entrance, the whole surrounded by a deep fosse, portions of which still retain water. Mr. Weld has remarked upon the strong resemblance which the towers of this castle bear to some of those in Wales. “No one tower, it is true,” he says, “is comparable to the Eagle Tower at Caernarvon. Nevertheless, the south-west tower at Ballintober is a superb piece of architecture, and, for its general effect, amongst the most imposing remains of antiquity that I can call to recollection in Ireland.” There are two localities of this name in Connaught: Baile-an-tobhair-Phaidraig, the town of the Well of St. Patrick, in Mayo, and Baile-an-tobhair-Brighde, that of St. Bridget, now under consideration.

This place is, among other things, memorable as the birth-place of the celebrated Cathal Crovederg, or “Charles the Red-Handed,” the illegitimate son of Turlough-More O’Conor, the brother of Roderick, and last of the Irish monarchs. About this prince, who was born in the latter end of the twelfth century, – and who, says the Ulster Annals, was “the best Irishman, from the time of Brien Boroma, for gentility and honour; the upholder, mighty and puissant, of the country; keeper of peace; rich and excellent,” there are many romantic tales and superstitious legends, still lingering with the people in the vicinity, which, were they woven into a novel, would far surpass most modern works of fiction. When we have a novelist not only acquainted with Irish history and antiquities, but possessing the power of fusing the ancient legend with the drama of modern life and impulse; making the feelings that influence the lover or the hero subservient to the chronicle; picturing the part, through the knowledge of the human heart at the present-then, and then only will Irish history be known and appreciated.

Cathal of the Red Hand was the son of a beautiful girl of very small stature, named Gearrog Ny-Moran, of the Muhall territory. When the queen heard what had occurred, she, like Sarah of old, commenced a bitter persecution against the king’s mistress, and had, as was customary at the time, recourse to witchcraft and Sorcery to prolong the sufferings of the unhappy maiden. Like Juno, before the birth of Hercules, she, with the assistance of a noted witch, set a charm, consisting of a bundle of elder rods, tied with a magic string, knotted with nine knots. This she hung up in her chamber and watched with great care. Stratagem, however, achieved what humanity could not induce. The queen, while walking on the terrace, was accosted by a female (the midwife disguised), who entreated alms for a poor women who had just been confined in the neighbouring village. On hearing who it was, she was so enraged, that she instantly rushed to her apartment, and cut the charm into pieces. The spell was broken, and the bond-woman’s child was born.

For several years after, the people protected Gearrog and her son from the jealous fury of the queen; and both were long harboured in the monasteries of Connaught. As time wore on, however, the Church was insufficient against the wrath of the offended queen, and Cathal was obliged to fly to a distant province, where, in the garb of a peasant, he supported himself by manual labour. At length the King of Connaught died; and the people declared they would have no monarch but his son, Cathal Crovederg, if he could be found. Heralds were sent forth, and proclamations issued, according to the fashion of the times, yet still no tidings of the elected king. One day, as harvest was drawing to its close, a Bollscaire, or herald, from the Court of Ballintober, entered a field in Leinster, where some of the peasantry were at work reaping rye, and told the oft-repeated tale of the missing monarch of Connaught. Cathal, who was among the reapers, heard the story, and stood for some minutes lost in reverie. He then, removing the cover with which he always concealed the mark, held up the red hand, and throwing down the reaping-hook, exclaimed- “Slan leath a corrain anois do’n cloideam” -i.e., “Farewell, sickle; now for the sword!” The Bollscaire recognizing him, both he, and the men who were along with him in the field, prostrated themselves before him, and proclaimed him King of Connaught. He was afterwards crowned at Carnfree, near Tulsk, by the chieftains and the coorbs of Sil-Murray, and “Cathal’s Farewell to the Rye” is a proverb and an air still well known in Roscommon and Galway.

From Wilde’s Superstitions of Ireland.