Roscrea, one of Ireland's oldest towns, is the gateway to the Shannon Region and to the south-west of Ireland. Church Street, the site of St Cronan's sixth century monastery, is dominated by the twelfth century ruins of a Hiberno-romanesque gable, round tower and high cross, reminders of the once famous diocese of Ros Cre. This monastic story is highlighted at nearby Sean Ross, the bog-island of Monaincha and the Franciscan Friary at Abbey Street, and continues as a living tradition at the Cistercian Abbey of Mount Street Joseph, west of the town.
In the thirteenth century, a royal state-of-the-art castle was erected to fortify this corner of Ely O'Carroll and its strategic situation on the Slighe dhala, one of the five great roads of ancient Ireland. Its gate-tower, curtain walls and corner turrets are currently undergoing restoraton by the State, as are its courtyard and gardens. Within this courtyard, Damer House was erected in the early eighteenth century. Its Queen Anne pine staircase is of particular interest.
A Heritage Trail, with accompanying booklet in three languages, is freely available to help you explore this historic town.
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