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Situated in the central regions of the Republic of Ireland, County Roscommon is named after its largest city and subsequent county seat, Roscommon Town. The name "Roscommon" is derived from the phrase "Ros Chomain," or "Saint Coman's Wood," in memory of the notable historical figure St. Coman mac Faelchon. During the 7th century, he established a monastery and school in the area, which helped in the early formation of the town. Another notable structure in the county's history is Roscommon Castle, which was constructed in 1269 by the Justiciar of Ireland at the time—Robert de Ufford—was attacked numerous times in the following centuries. Its ruins stand today as one of Roscommon Town's more recognizable attractions. The general climate of County Roscommon is cloudy, with temperatures that only infrequently rise above 19 degrees Celsius, even during the warmest months of the year (June through August). That being said, sub-freezing temperatures do not often occur in the region. Some previous visitors to the area recommend visiting between June and August if one is interested in participating in outdoor activities.
County Roscommon, named after one of the largest cities in the area, is one of many various landlocked counties in the Republic of Ireland. Roscommon specifically is in the central portion of the nation, bordered by seven other counties. Strokestown, Castlerea, Kiltoom, Ballaghaderreen, and Boyle are some of the other communities in the surrounding area that are of note.
The township of Roscommon is home to nearly 6,000 people as of the 2016 national census. Because of the city's central location within Ireland as a whole, a number of public routes pass directly through town or merge together, most prominently the N61, N63, and N60 roads. Relative to other cities in Ireland—and in particular, other county seats—Roscommon is relatively small with regard to its population. Despite this, the town is home to various architectural features and archaeological finds. In 1945, for example, a series of ancient artifacts were found that date back to periods as early as 2300 and 1800 BC.
A few of the local residents of Roscommon have commented on their town's (and county's) range of activities and attractions. One person describes the city as "a great place to stretch your legs and wander, even if you are only stopping while en route to another part of the country." For tourists or those staying in Roscommon for more than a few hours, it is recommended that they visit Roscommon Castle. Located at the north end of town and built sometime during the 13th century, the structure was destroyed by Irish forces, leaving behind ruins that can be explored. Additionally, a town park is situated near the castle as a supplementary activity.
Other features of County Roscommon include the Arigna Mining Experience, Boyle Abbey, Lough Key Forest and Activity Park, and the Rathcroghan Visitor Centre. The lattermost attraction houses approximately 240 archaeological sites and 60 monuments under national protection. It is also the "home of the legendary Queen Medb" and contains a mysterious structure that has been nicknamed "Ireland's Gate to Hell." Boyle Abbey's history dates back to the 12th century—and despite numerous raids and sieges over the centuries, it remains a "well-preserved example of Cistercian architecture."
Bordered by more Irish counties than any other denomination of the country, County Roscommon is home to approximately 64,000 people. Located in the central region of the Republic of Ireland, the area is surrounded by Counties Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim, Longford, Westmeath, Offaly, and Galway. Despite the region's landlocked nature, it does have one notable aquatic fact associated with it, namely that Lough Key (Key Lake) in the county's north section has thirty-two islands. Additionally, the exact centre of Ireland lies within County Roscommon's borders, on the western shore of Lough Ree to the southeast of Roscommon Town.
The topography of County Roscommon is predominantly flat, with numerous farmlands, lakes, and ponds dotting the landscape. Roscommon—the county seat and namesake of the region—can be found in the county's central area. It is only a short distance away from Lough Ree, which is the largest lake in the county, despite the fact that it has portions that lie within Counties Longford and Westmeath.
Many people who have visited the area recommend planning trips from late June to late August if one is interested in participating in warm-weather activities. During that time, temperatures usually range from 12 degrees to 19 degrees Celsius. This time of year is the warmest that the county gets, with the remainder of the year's months generally seeing temperatures of between 4 degrees and 15 degrees Celsius. These temperatures drop slightly more from December to February, though it is rare for the region to experience weather below the freezing point. Generally speaking, the monthly number of rainy days that County Roscommon witnesses doesn't change very much throughout the year. The quantity of rain, on the other hand, peaks in November (92 mm) and drops in April (53 mm).
Regarding the wildlife, biomes, and habitats that are present in or around Roscommon Town, one of the community's websites states that "much of Roscommon's biodiversity is found on farms, particularly on marginal land like hedgerows and rough grassland." There are numerous wet or otherwise watery locations that help to sustain nature and wildlife of many kinds. These regions are comprised of water features such as streams, rivers, and lakes. Reed canary grass, meadowsweet, sedges, rushes, and ragged robins are all examples of local flora that thrive in these wetland environments. Mammals can also be found in County Roscommon, including but not limited to species such as hares, badgers, hedgehogs, and stoats. Similar to many other zones in Ireland, a number of frogs, birds, and insects also reside in County Roscommon.
Modern-day Roscommon Town was initially called "Bearna-na-headargana" in the days before St. Coman mac Faelchon founded a monastery there. Following that event, which took place sometime in the 5th century, the area became known as "Ros Chomain," which is where the name "Roscommon" was derived from. Its meaning roughly translates to "Saint Coman's Wood," in memory of its founder, though there were other saints in that area throughout history named Coman.
Roscommon Town was also the homeland of the Connachta dynasty. A few kingdoms rose and fell during this epoch, namely Uí Maine, Delbhna Nuadat, Síol Muirdeach, and Moylurg. Many of the remnants of the time period are still present in the town today as attractions for visiting tourists. Roscommon Castle is one of the more notable of such structures, which is located on a hillside just outside of the northern town limits. Built in 1269 by Robert de Ufford—who was the Justiciar of Ireland at the time—the castle was besieged a number of times, leaving only ruins in the modern age to explore. Another historical feature, Roscommon Abbey, is located within the city proper and was founded roughly 750 years ago by King Felim O'Connor.
County Roscommon as a whole did not become formally established until 1569, and its "administrative division has its roots in the Middle Ages." A few changes in county borders took place shortly thereafter, in 1585, during the Tudor re-establishment.
In the modern age, County Roscommon's economy is "greatly dependent on agriculture," given its numerous expanses of fields and farmland. Some additional forms of industry are present in the area, such as retail and coal mining. The Famine Museum, constructed in 1994 in Strokestown Park, strives to recall the legacy of one of Ireland's most devastating agricultural histories, which was the Irish Potato Famine of 1845-1849.
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