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History & Heritage > Buildings > Roscommon Courthouse

Roscommon Courthouse

The visitor to the modern town of Roscommon will remark on this fine building of cut stone which occupies a commanding position at the junction of Abbey Street and Church Street. Roscommon Courthouse with its fine portico consisting of entabulature over pairs of fluted Doric style columns. Designed by Sir Richard Morrison in 1821 as a courthouse and headquarters of the Grand Jury and completed in 1828. Still performing eminently as a courthouse today, it is also houses the administration for the County. It was erected beside the New Jail where he also had an involvement in design with another Architect Richard Richards of Dublin. Issac Weld in his Statical Survey of County Roscommon (1830) says that Mr. Richards “left proofs of his taste in many of the houses in Roscommon”. There is evidence that he leased property in Abbeytown and probably worked on designs for Mount Talbot and Donamon Castle. A Board of Commissioners was set up by the Grand Jury to oversee the task of building the Courthouse and by 1828 it was close to completion costing close to £9,000. In 1829 the old courthouse in the Market Square (now Bank of Ireland) was sold to Rev. John Madden for £20 with the proposal for converting it to a Catholic Church which was duly done. Weld in his for the Royal Dublin Society took a great interest in the courthouse and describes it in his book. He regretted the omission of a pediment over the portico but took some joy in reports that the Grand Jury rooms were still being used for balls and assemblies. A steamroller, the first to be brought across the Shannon, can be seen nearby.

Further Reading Sources:
Volume 6 – 1996 Roscommon Historical & Archaeological Society Journal
  • Page 7: Roscommon Courthouse and Town Fire – 1882 by Marian Harlow
Volume 10 – 2005 Roscommon Historical & Archaeological Society Journal
  • Page  21:  Roscommon Courthouse Collapse 1719 by William Gacquin
Roscommon Association Yearbook 1983
  • Page 57: Roscommon Courthouse by Helen Kilcline
Roscommon Life 2004/2005 (incorporating Roscommon Association Yearbook)
  • Page 16: The Court system in Roscommon explained by Brian Cunniffe

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