Dominican Friary

Although no physical evidence remains, St Comman founded the first abbey in Roscommon town during the 8th century. Then in 1253 Fedhlim O'Conchobhair (Felim O'Connor), King of Connacht founded a Dominican Friary on a new site in the same area, now known as Abbey Town. The church had a long north aisle, but only part of the arcade remains. There was a nave and chancel with a central tower and cloister. Nothing remains of the tower or the cloister. In the 15th century a short north transept was added and traceried windows were inserted into the east and west walls replacing the original lancet windows. In the south wall there are several tomb niches with five lancet windows above them.

Looking through the modern entrance

Tomb carving detail

The most interesting tomb is situated in a niche in the north wall of the chancel. On his death in 1265 AD Felim O'Connor was interred here and his tomb was later covered with an effigial slab. The figure is wearing a long robe and a dog rests at his feet. The effigy is resting on the side panels of a 15th century tomb with elaborately carved gallowglass warriors wearing chain-mail coats. Seven of the soldiers are carrying swords and the eighth a gallowglass axe. The Friary was burned in 1270 and by 1445 had fallen in to disrepair. It was restored c.1578 before finaly being dissolved later in that century.

Decoration on 15th century east window

Part of the aisle arcade

A later memorial carving

Situated: If you enter Roscommon Town from Athlone (N61) take a left at the roundabout onto the N63. At the next roundabout take a left. The Abbey is located at the rear of the Abbey Hotel.

Discovery Map 40: M 8731 6390. Last visit August 2013.

Longitude: 8° 11' 31" W

Latitude: 53° 37' 29" N

Google Map.

Photos: Jim Dempsey.

Previous-----Home-----Next Page