This month, we're promoting our new "Explore Ireland" map page! Take a look at some interesting facts about County Roscommon from its common surnames to famous Rossies.

Irish name: Ros Comáin / "St. Coman's Wood"

Nickname: The Sheepstealers, The Rossies

Population: 64,000

Area: 983 square miles

Province: Connacht

County town: Roscommon

GAA colors: Blue and Primrose

Common surnames in County Roscommon

Hanley, Beirne, Kelly, Brennan, Connor, Flynn, Cox, McDermott, Brady, and Farrell

Famous people with roots in County Roscommon

First President of Ireland Douglas Hyde (Hyde Park, the GAA park in Roscommon is named for him), Irish Taoiseach Albert Reynolds, past president Mary McAleese, Percy French, actress Maureen O'Sullivan, actor Chris O’Dowd.

A brief history of County Roscommon

In mythological Ireland, Rathcroghan, in present-day Roscommon, was the seat of Queen Maebh (Maeve), the Kings of Connacht, and later the High Kings of Ireland.

The name Roscommon comes from the Irish 'Ros' meaning a wooded, gentle height and 'Coman', the name of the county's famous saint and the first bishop of the see, Coman mac Faelchon, who built a monastery in Roscommon in the fifth century.

Roscommon was officially established in 1585, when the Tudors reinstated the land division of Connacht. It is outlined by water, with Lough Key in the North, the River Shannon and Lough Ree to the East, the River Suck to the West.

In 2008 it was revealed that statistically, Roscommon has the longest life expectancy of any county on the island of Ireland.

There is also a County Roscommon in Michigan.

Key attractions in County Roscommon

Lough Key in north Roscommon has 32 islands – coincidentally, the number of counties on the island of Ireland. Nearby is Lough Key Forest Park.

Boyle, a city at the foot of the Curlew Mountains, is known for its history and culture. There you will find Boyle Abbey, which was founded in the 12th-century, and, each summer, the Boyle Arts Festival. It is also the hometown of actor Chris O’Dowd and his TV series "Moone Boy."

Tulsk is the nearest village to the mythological (and archaeological) site of Rathcroghan, home of Queen Maebh. It was also the starting point of the Táin Bó Cúailgne, an epic tale in Irish mythology.

Strokestown Park House and Famine Museum is an award-winning museum dedicated to telling the story of the great Irish Famine.

Roscommon Castle is a 13th-century Norman castle near Roscommon town. After being won and lost by siege multiple times over the course of four centuries, it was burned down one final time in 1690. It is a ruin today, but still stands. The castle is next door to Loughnaneane Park, a wildlife gem.

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