Building started about 1269 and was faught over right up to the late 1600s when it was damaged by fire and abandonded.

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Comment by Mary Collins Dolan on January 20, 2014 at 1:49am

It is my understanding that a fight by Roderick (?) O'Conor defending his castle was the only battle the invading Normans lost in the West of Ireland.  Shortly after they gave us the quest to move further into North Roscommon and Leitrim, citing the wet, boggy, poor ground and lack of treasures as the main reasons.

Comment by Frank Scott on January 20, 2014 at 1:35pm

Hi Mary, the castle was started in 1269 at Roscommon as the king of Connacht, Aedh O Conor was sick at the time. In 1270 the O Conors burnt the castle and in 1271 Aedh levelled it. He again distroyed it in 1272 and was taken by Feilim O Conor in 1277.It was rebuilt in the years 1277-1295. In 1305 the Castle was badly damaged by Feilim and again rebuilt and strengthened by 1307. Now comes Rory son of feilim and he burnes the castle in 1315 and his dad feilim did the same next year 1316. I 1340 Aead was captured and sent to the Castle for safe keeping, and another of the family Turlough captured the castle in1341. I 1342 Turlough hiself was captured and imprisoned in the castle.By about 1360 the castle fell into the O Conor hands and the Anglo/ Norman/English presance came to an end. Then the Irish fought each other over the Castle. In 1499 the Castle was briefly captured by the Earl of Kildare and in 1569 the O Conor Don surrendered Roscommon castle to the Lord Deputy, Sir Henery Sydney. In 1573 the O conors burnt the Castle. In 1577-79 the Castle was granted to Sir Nicolas Malby who turned it into a massive fortified house putting the windows seen today, fish ponds and formal gardins.

In 1596 the Castle was besiged by Red Hugh O Donnell for three months. Many of Malbys men died and furniture and stairs were burned as was the Town.In 1690 Patrick Sarsfield ordered the demolition of Roscommon Castle during the Williamite Wars. In 1691 the Castle was badly damaged by fire and let fall into disrepair.

Comment by Mary Collins Dolan on January 21, 2014 at 5:46am

Thanks for the information, Frank.  Wasn't as clear cut as I thought!  

Comment by Frank Scott on January 22, 2014 at 6:28am

One other thing to keep in mind, the O Conor clan had 20,000 head of cattle which they grazed on the limestone plains of Connacht. The land was very fertile and the bogs ment there was a place of safty if you knew your way through them.

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