Roscommon Town Heritage
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History & Heritage

Chapel Lane

On a wall forming part of the link access between car park and Chapel Lane are a number of foundation plaques and an explanatory inscribed stone explaining their origins set up by the County Council. There is also the Crucifixion plaque understood to be originally from St. Coman’s Well and brought here probably through the good offices of the clergy of the time or by the Mercy Nuns who had come here in 1853. A stone water font dated 1717, said to be from the Church, can be seen in the Sacred Heart Church. The site had a Penal Church from 1756 and on acquiring a new premises (the former Sessions House) became a National School in 1842. A Commissioners of Education Enquiry of 1826 tells us that there were 140 pupils there, 80 boys and 60 girls under the care of James Reynolds, Master. Records in the Mercy Convent, Roscommon tell us that the Nuns came to Roscommon in 1853 led by Mother Vincent Hartnett as Superior. They set out from Limerick at 6.00 a.m. by steamer and arrived in Athlone at 6.00 p.m. They were met by the Bishop of Elphin, George Plunket Browne who then had his residence there.

After coming to Roscommon they were teaching in the Chapel Lane School and at various stages penetrated the establishment institutions of the Workhouse, New Jail and Infirmary with their loving care and Christian zeal. In the 1880’s a larger school was established at the back of the Post Office in the Market Square for older boys.  Young children starting school were looked after by the Nuns which were the case till recent years. The Chapel Lane School became obsolete about that time and subsequently became a dwelling house. Gross deterioration set in over the years and it was finally demolished when the car park was being enlarged in the late 1980’s. A positive aspect to this change was the finding of the various plaques which had become hidden by debris and growth on the site. They now enjoy the passage of the sightseer, tourist and general public as they were always designed to be. A stone Holy Water font dated 177? and likely from this Church was transferred to the Catholic Church in The Square in 1836 and again in turn transferred to Church of Sacred Heart, dedicated in 1905.

Further Reading Sources:
Volume 7 – 1998 Roscommon Historical & Archaeological Society Journal
  • Front Page Drawing: Crucifixion Plaque – St. Comans Well
  • Page 4: Front Cover (Crucifixion Plaque – St. Coman’s Well) & Back Cover (Map: Ducomane – “the washing place of Coman”)
Roscommon Association Yearbook 1991
  • Page 68: Photo: Plaques discovered in excavations at Roscommon and re-erected by Co. Council at new carpark