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History & Heritage > Buildings > Roscommon Abbey

Roscommon Abbey

Roscommon Friary was founded for the Dominicans by Felim O’Conor, King of Connacht, in 1253 and was consecrated in 1257. It was destroyed by fire in 1308 but rebuilt in 1453 and the surviving fragments belong in the main, to about that date.

The Church originally consisted of one long aisle. The original lancet windows in the east and west walls were replaced in the 15th century by traceried windows which have largely disappeared, but those in the south wall are still preserved. The north transept was added in the 15th century.
The tower remained until 1792. In 1577 the Church and grounds were taken over by Sir Nicholas Malby.

The most remarkable feature of the Friary is the effigy of King Felim O’Conor in a niche in the north wall near where the alter stood. The effigy, carved between 1290 and 1300, has been placed upon a later 15th century tomb with 8 mail-clad warriors in niches with angels above them. On the opposite wall are traces of another 15th century tomb.

After 1698 the Friars left but remained in nearby villages until the mid XIXth century.

The Friary was vested in the Commissioners in 1966 by the owner Mr. Thomas Greally.

Minor conservations works were carried out in 1980.

Further Reading Sources:
See publications section of website
  • Roscommon Abbey – A visitors guide by Dr. Kieran O’Conor & Brian Shanahan
  • Roscommon Abbey – a Dominican Priory by Roscommon County Council
Roscommon Historical & Archaeological Society Journal: Volume  1 – 1986
  • Page 6: Dominican Priories of Roscommon by Fr. Valkenburg O.P.
Volume 3 – 1990 Roscommon Historical & Archaeological Society Journal
  • Page 45: Heads and Tails of Stone (Dominican Priory) by Albert Siggins
Volume 5 – 1994 Roscommon Historical & Archaeological Society Journal
  • Page 72: Birds and Beasts (Dominican Priory, Roscommon)
Volume 9 – 2003 Roscommon Historical & Archaeological Society Journal
  • Page 43: The Roscommon Abbey Watercolour by Albert Siggins
Volume 10 – 2005 Roscommon Historical & Archaeological Society Journal
  • Page 9: History and Architecture of the Mendicant Friars with Reference to Some Roscommon Foundations by Yvonne McDermott
Volume 13 - 2016 Roscommon Historical & Archaeological Society Journal
  • Page 7: An interesting pair of images of the Last Judgement from Roscommon and Fuerty by Dr Christy Cunniffe
Roscommon Association Yearbook 1988
  • Page 68: Photo: Roscommon Abbey
Roscommon Association Yearbook 1990
  • Front Page Photo: Roscommon Abbey