Roscommon Castle

Roscommon Castle is located near the very center of Ireland. The name derives from Coman mac Faelchon who built a monastery there in the 5th century. The woods near the monastery became known as Ros Comáin (St. Coman’s Wood) The castle was built by the Justiciar of Ireland, Robert de Ufford, in 1269, on land seized from the nearby Augustinian monastery that furthermore for centuries was the homeland of the Connachta dynasty. The O’Connors besieged the castle starting in 1272 and it went back and forth between English and Irish control until the O’Connors regained it in 1340. The Irish retained control for the most part until 1652 when it was partially blown up by Cromwellian forces. What to see when you visit: Note the towers, which were built to a design similar to that of Harlech. The associated lake Read more…

The Norman Conquest of Ireland (part 1)

The Normans were conquerors. Even more, they conquered. It was what they did. It was only natural, then, that eventually one of them would set his sights on Ireland.  That someone, in this case, was Richard de Clare, otherwise known as Strongbow. Now, Strongbow wasn’t entirely at fault for what came next. In fact, in 1169 he was invited into Ireland by the ousted king of Leinster, Diarmait Mac Murchada. Murchada had been removed from power by the High King of Ireland, Rory O’Connor, and, naturally, he wanted his lands back. He knew about Norman military prowess and looked to south Wales, where Clare was the Earl of Pembroke, for assistance. And what did Clare get out of it? Murchada had no male heir, so he promised Clare his daughter and the kingship of Leinster if they succeeded. For Clare, that Read more…