The name Roscommon comes from the Irish word 'Ros' meaning a gentle terrain and 'Coman', the name of an Irish saint.
Roscommon covers an area of 984 square miles and has a population of over 52,000. It is an inland county 100km in length and 64km at its greatest width.
Located on Ireland's
fertile central plain, the soil is most fertile in the central district, east of
the town of Boyle.
Most of the county is situated between the Shannon River,
to the east, and its chief tributary, the Suck River, to
The land is undulating, with natural
grazing areas interspersed with rocky outcrops, lakes, and
Livestock raising and agriculture are economically
important. Sheep are raised in the highlands, oats
and potatoes are grown, and coal is mined in the hills.
In antiquity, northwestern County Roscommon was MacDermott country; and part of the south was in O'Kelly occupation. By the Composition of Connaught (1585) a large number of lords and chieftains of the province were given tenure in their territories under English law. Because Connaught and Clare were left by Oliver Cromwell to Irish proprietors after the English conquest in the 17th century, this part of Ireland retained its Irish social pattern longer than any other, though it was affected by the penal laws, the land acts, and other social changes that were imposed upon Ireland generally.
There is a rich heritage with many burial grounds, megalithic tombs and ring forts. The royal burial site at Rathcroghan was home to the kings of Connacht and later became home to the High Kings of Ireland.