Roscommon Town Heritage
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History & Heritage

History & Heritage > Buildings > The County Library

The County Library

Formerly known as the Old Infirmary and was erected in 1783 under the patronage of Mrs. Letitia Walcott, sister of Lord Chief Justice Caulfield of Donamon Castle. A printed document is preserved in the Library that shows an earlier infirmary in Roscommon in 1767 supported by subscribers with sums ranging from £3 to a large sum of £56 per year by Lady Francis Coningsby, a major estate owner of the town who lived in London. This building was probably in Abbey Street. The present building appears to have been composed of one block with flanking additions erected some years later. Very little is known of its early history but Isaac Weld published his survey in 1832 he discusses the talents of a Surgeon there, Dr. Lysaght who performed an early type of plastic surgery. In the succeeding decades notable Surgeons there included Dr. Peyton Reynolds and Dr. Blakeney. In the 1940’s Surgeon O’Hanrahan was on the scene and made the transition to the new County Hospital on the Athlone Road. The building then became the County Library and also served as a training centre for the famous Roscommon Senior Football team who won two successive All Ireland finals in 1943 and 1944. It has been tastefully been refurbished and is catering well for the Library needs while still showing some of its eighteenth century character.

Further Reading Sources:
Volume 2 – 1988 Roscommon Historical & Archaeological Society Journal
  • Page 45: Roscommon Co. Library’s Source Material for Local History by Helen Kilcline
Volume 5 – 1994 Roscommon Historical & Archaeological Society Journal
  • Page 103: The Memory of A Shattered Life by Helen Kilcline
Roscommon Association Yearbook 1982
  • Page 40: I Remember Roscommon by (1939-1977, 38 years) by J.O’Hanrahan F.R.C.S.I.
Roscommon Association Yearbook 1986
  • Page 13: Photo: Library
Roscommon Association Yearbook 1989
  • Page 33: Sketch: The Old Infirmary, Roscommon
Roscommon Association Yearbook 1991
  • Page 52: Roscommon’s New Library Headquarters & Branch Library by D. Connolly (County Manager)
Roscommon Life 2004/2005 (incorporating Roscommon Association Yearbook)
  • Page 19: My memories of Roscommon Infirmary by Bridie Kirrane