Chapter 6: Built Heritage and Archaeology


Our built heritage is a unique resource, an irreplaceable expression of the richness and diversity of our past and the generations who have gone before us. Structures and places have, over time, acquired character and ‘special interest’, through their continued existence and familiarity. In a changing world they have cultural significance. Co. ’s built heritage consists not only of the grand buildings, such as or Park House and cathedrals, like St. Nathy’s in , but also includes the everyday works of local craftsmen, such as the rendered stone buildings, which form the Main Street of our towns; the thatched houses scattered around the county; and the dry stone wall field boundaries, which are so typical of the Roscommon landscape. Milestones, water pumps, bridges, post boxes and shopfronts are also part of the rich built heritage of Co. Roscommon. Ancient buildings and monuments, such as earthworks, raths, , dolmens, crannógs, abbeys, castles and military barracks trace the evolution of settlement and built heritage in Co. Roscommon from the Neolithic age to the present day.

The Heritage Act (1995) includes in its definition of heritage ‘monuments’, ‘archaeological objects’, ‘heritage objects’, ‘architectural heritage’, ‘inland waterways’ and ‘heritage gardens and parks’. The need to conserve the built heritage; awareness of the social and economic benefits of conserving this part of our common inheritance on improving our quality of life; and, also of the place of conservation in policies of sustainable development, has gathered increased recognition in recent years.

Ireland’s historic environment, or our built heritage, offers huge economic potential. Protecting and enhancing our built heritage in its own right is a valuable exercise, but there is also a strong economic rationale for investment and protection of built heritage. The historic environment is a highly significant contributor to ’s national economy, supporting thousands of jobs nationwide.


The built heritage of is special and unique, and includes not only works of great artistic and structural achievements but also everyday items, which have been produced by skilled craftsmen of bygone days usually with local materials. Architectural heritage includes monuments, groups of buildings and sites. This built heritage includes all manmade structures and features of the landscape in the county; such as the houses, bridges, towns, demesnes and stone walls. This built heritage has acquired special cultural interest through time and as we enjoy this inheritance we should be conscious of our duty as custodians. Built heritage is a non-renewable resource. Once lost it cannot be replaced hence it is important that we appreciate what we have and provide adequate protection for the built environment in its existing form. When looking at built heritage we must be open to sympathetic re-use of historic buildings.

The National Inventory of Architectural Heritage (NIAH) is a service provided by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. The aim of the survey is to highlight a representative sample of the architectural heritage of each county and to raise awareness of the wealth of architectural heritage in Ireland. This inventory provides a description and appraisal of hundreds of heritage buildings around

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014-2020 Page 155 Chapter 6: Built Heritage and Archaeology

County Roscommon. It can be viewed on . It is a fantastic introduction to the built heritage of County Roscommon.

6.1.1 Vernacular Architecture:

The value of classical architecture typified by structures such as the Bank of Ireland in Roscommon town or Strokestown Park House, is well recognized. However, there is also value in the less magnificent structures, which contribute greatly to the built heritage of the county. These buildings, many of which are ‘Vernacular’ architecture are built in a style which developed over time without much outside influence, using local materials such as stone or mud for the structure, lime render to cover the walls, timber sash windows with painted sills, roofed with thatch or in some parts of the county, stone and in later times slate or tin. Buildings such as post offices and post boxes, shops and timber shopfronts and sign lettering, town houses and coach houses, cottages and traditional farm buildings, national schools and churches contribute much to the built heritage of the county. Other features such as stone walls, stiles, piers and gates represent a local style and display great variation from one part of the county to another.

Vernacular architecture is the back-bone of all our towns and villages. However it is becoming increasingly rare, frequently overlooked in development applications and proposals, where demolition and new build over adaptive reuse of traditional buildings is generally the most common approach. This loss of traditional building stock is a gradual process, but the cumulative impact of losing this layer of the cultural fabric of the county’s built heritage, is a loss of the character and erosion of the architectural integrity of the county.

6.1.2 Industrial Architecture:

Our industrial architecture covers structures and buildings, which had specific purposes and functions. There is a broad spectrum of industrial heritage in Co. Roscommon from lime kilns, ice houses such as at Rockingham, navigational structures including harbours such as at , moorings such as at , quays and bollards such as at , canals with their associated infrastructure of locks and lock keepers cottages such as at Albert Canal near Jamestown. Other types of industrial architecture include market houses such as in , Strokestown and ; bridges such as Mount Talbot, and ; and power stations and industrial chimneys such as in Ballaghaderreen. Water mills and windmills are also to be found throughout the county, such as at Elphin, St. John’s, Lobinroe, Lecarrow, , Castlerea, and Boyle.

Each of these features represents an era in the development of the county. Each structure has a story to tell us about the way of life of our ancestors. Some of these sites are still in use for the purpose for which they are originally built, some are now redundant; some have been adapted into new uses, while some are preserved as tourist attractions. All represent an important layer of the built heritage of the county.

Since the mid 1960’s the changing landscape of both our towns and villages, in addition to the countryside, has been enormous. Much of our built heritage has been lost, but equally much has survived. This built heritage requires ongoing care and maintenance and in particular protection. New uses need to be found for traditional buildings and this may require their adaptation. Retaining older buildings helps pave the way for the advancement of traditional construction skills, which would certainly be lost in a modern building environment. There has been and continues to be, a significant growth in public awareness of our built heritage and with the increase in cultural tourism, which plays a significant part in the tourist economy, the conservation of our built environment contributes to attractiveness of our county as a destination that we can enjoy and be proud of and that others can visit. The retention of the character of historic towns and villages is recognised as being a major attraction and is important in maintaining local distinctiveness for both the local community and visitor alike.

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014-2020 Page 156 Chapter 6: Built Heritage and Archaeology


A protected structure is a structure that the Local Authority considers to be of special interest from an architectural, historical, archaeological, artistic, cultural, scientific, social or technical point of view. Every planning authority is obliged to have a Record of Protected Structures (RPS) that includes structures of special interest in its functional area.

Protection afforded to structures on the Record of Protected Structures (RPS) applies to all parts of a given structure, including its interior, its curtilage (the area of land attached to or associated with a building and usually forming one enclosure with it), and any other structures in that cartilage, as well as specified features in attendant grounds. Protection also applies to all fixtures and fittings forming part of the interior of a protected structure or of any structure within the curtilage. Protected Structure Status does not preclude appropriate development and indeed, “Protection, in relation to a structure or part of a structure, includes conservation, preservation, and improvement compatible with maintaining the character and interest of the structure or part thereof.” [PDA (2000), Part I, S. 2: p 22) Each owner and occupier must ensure that a protected structure, or any element of a protected structure, is not endangered through harm, decay or damage, whether over a short or long period, through neglect or through direct or indirect means. Where possible, facilitates the operation of any available grant scheme, currently the ‘Structures at Risk Fund’, to assist the owner or occupier of a protected structure to undertake necessary works to secure its building fabric (See Record of Protected structures which accompanies this Plan).


Buildings or structures grouped together can have an overall value quality. An architectural conservation area is a place, an area, a group of structures or part of a townscape which is of special architectural, historical, archaeological, artistic, cultural, scientific, social or technical interest or contributes to the appreciation of protected structures; and which is listed as such an area in the County Development Plan. An architectural conservation area could include, for example, a terrace of houses, a street, a demesne, buildings surrounding a square, or any group of buildings, which together give a special character to an area. An architectural conservation area may or may not include protected structures and can include historic places.

Designation as an Architectural Conservation Area (ACA) gives protection to the exterior of such structures. Planning permission will be required for any works, which would have a material affect on the character of an ACA.

To date ACAs have been designated six towns around the county. Full details of them can be viewed in the Local Area Plan for that town. These can be viewed on . Currently ACAs are designated under: Roscommon Area Plan (Part of the County Development Plan 2008-2014) Elphin Local Area Plan 2009-2015 Strokestown Local Area Plan 2010-2016 Castlerea Local Area Plan 2012-2018 Boyle Local Area Plan 2012-2018 Ballaghaderreen Local Area Plan 2012-2018

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014-2020 Page 157 Chapter 6: Built Heritage and Archaeology

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014-2020 Page 158 Chapter 6: Built Heritage and Archaeology

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014-2020 Page 159 Chapter 6: Built Heritage and Archaeology

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014-2020 Page 160 Chapter 6: Built Heritage and Archaeology


Heritage Gardens and Parks are areas whose plant collections, design, design features, buildings, setting, style or association are of significant botanical, aesthetic or historical interest or which illustrate some aspect of the development of gardening or of gardens or parks 1.

County Roscommon has a rich heritage of demesnes, gardens and designed landscapes, associated with the large estates which once existed around the county. The most well known is that of the parkland and many features such as the ice house, tunnels, quay, gazebo’s, bog gardens and deer park of the Rockingham Estate at Lough Key Forest and Amenity Park, near Boyle. The pleasure grounds in Boyle are associated with King House. The gardens at Strokestown Park House have faithfully recreated the original kitchen garden and pleasure garden, both of which served very different purposes in their role as part of the Strokestown Park House demesne. Mote Park in Roscommon now provides a valued public amenity and area for walking to the people around Roscommon town. Demesnes reflect the fashion and social aspirations of their owners and users of their day with geometric layouts being replaced by more “natural” layouts in the 19 th century. Aligned to the heritage value of these heritage parks and gardens, they have a social and economic value.

The Survey of Historic Gardens and Designed Landscapes, carried out by the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage service of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht ( ) has identified 145 historic gardens and designed landscapes in Co. Roscommon. Not all of these have survived intact, but it is important to recognise the importance of these features and to conserve them where appropriate.

Policy in terms of Built Heritage Policy 6.1 Identify and protect the architectural heritage of the county and to manage any change to that heritage in such a way as to retain its character and special interest. Policy 6.2 Promote pride in, and awareness of , the importance and value of the county’s built heritage. Policy 6.3 Maintain the Record of Protected Structures for County Roscommon and seek to provide advice and information for owners and occupiers of structures on the Record of Protected Structures. Policy 6.4 Protect the built heritage within an area or in the setting of protected structures, through the designation of appropriate Architectural Conservation Areas. Policy 6.5 Seek the conservation and enhancement of historic gardens, parks and designed landscapes, where appropriate. Use the designation of Architectural Conservation Area where considered appropriate to preserve the character of a designed landscape.

1 A Methodology for the Preparation of County Heritage Plans, The Heritage Council 2001

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014-2020 Page 161 Chapter 6: Built Heritage and Archaeology

Objectives in terms of Built Heritage Objective 6.1 Conserve and protect structures (i.e. includes conservation, preservation, and improvement compatible with maintaining the character and interest of the structure), groups of structures or parts of structures, which are of special architectural, historical, archaeological, artistic, cultural, scientific, social or technical interest. Preserve the character of a place, area, group of structures or townscape, which is of special architectural, historical, archaeological, artistic, cultural, scientific, social or technical interest or value, or contributes to the appreciation of protected structures, taking into account building lines and heights. Objective 6. 2 Apply best conservation principles to all development applications relating to historic buildings and structures. These principles are: • Research prior to planning work • Minimum intervention – repair rather than replace • Respect the setting of the building. Objective 6. 3 Encourage sustainable reuse as opposed to demolition of historic buildings, whe re protected, especially vernacular buildings and town centre buildings. This approach represents sustainable development and helps foster a culture of conservation and use of traditional building skills. Objective 6. 4 Seek retention of traditional features such as original windows, doors, fanlights, renders, roof coverings and rainwater goods, on protected structures or in Architectural Conservation Areas. Objective 6. 5 Seek to c onserve historic street furniture, such as stone kerbing, milestones, benchmarks, streetlights, manhole covers and ventilation pipes in Architectural Conservation Areas. Objective 6. 6 Seek to c onserve features of the built environment such as stone walls, pillars, piers, stiles, gates, railings, wells, mass rocks, telephone boxes, post-boxes and memorials in Architectural Conservation Areas. Objective 6. 7 Promote the importance of informed decision making with regard to historic buildings by seeking engagement of a suitably experienced conservation specialist with regard to material specification and application. Objective 6. 8 Compile and maintain an inventory, in accordance with NIAH guidelines, of all architectural heritage structures and protected structures in the care of Roscommon County Council. Objective 6.9 Prepare a conservation policy for buildings of architectural heritage value and protected structures in the care and ownership of Roscommon County Council and within this framework prepare a conservation plan for individual buildings as appropriate. Objective 6.10 Maintain the Record of Protected Structures, adding new structures as appropriate. Objective 6.11 View as unfavourable , development which is likely to adversely affect the character of a protected structure or the setting of a protected structure. Objective 6.1 2 Seek the appointment of a conservation officer within the lifetime of this plan. Objective 6.13 Promote high conservation standards to owners, occupiers and agents and require adherence to the available guidance such as the ‘Architectural Heritage Protection Guidelines for Planning Authorities’ and the ‘Advice Series’ publications produced by the Built Heritage and Architectural Policy section of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht which are currently available to download from: ations/ Objective 6.14 Promote appropriate use/re -use and repair of protected structures, including the implementation of any available Conservation Grants Schemes Objective 6.15 Identify and designate, where appropriate, Architectural Conservation Areas, within the lifetime of this plan.

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014-2020 Page 162 Chapter 6: Built Heritage and Archaeology

Objective 6.16 Take such steps as are necessary to ensure the preservation of the special character of Architectural Conservation Areas. Objective 6.17 Promote initiatives to underpin the preservation of the special character of such Areas, such as preparing a guidance leaflet to provide relevant information to owners and occupiers of structures within an ACA. Objecti ve 6.18 Require that development applications in designed landscapes designated as Architectural Conservation Areas to take into consideration the impacts of the development on that designed landscape and demonstrate that the development proposal has been designed to take account of the heritage resource of the landscape. Objective 6.19 Preservation by record of features of interest in designe d landscapes may be considered, where appropriate.

6.4.1 Development Guidelines for Architectural Conservation Areas


• According to the principles of best conservation practice, the reuse of existing buildings is preferable to their replacement. Roscommon County Council will start from the premise that the structure should be retained. Applications for demolition of buildings that contribute to the character of an ACA will only be granted in exceptional circumstances. The onus will be upon the applicant to justify the demolition of the building. • Where replacement buildings are deemed acceptable, new buildings should take into account existing plots, where possible, in order to retain the existing grain, character and vibrancy of the ACA. • Where buildings have a negative impact on the character of an ACA, demolition of existing and their replacement with buildings of more appropriate design may be desirable (the current condition arising from low levels of maintenance including fire damage will not normally be considered as a negative impact). The replacement buildings should respect their setting. • Where permission is sought for demolition on the grounds of structural defects or failure, a report containing photographs and drawing(s) indicating locations of photographs will be required, produced by a suitably qualified and experienced professional regarding the existing condition. As part of the justification for any demolition within the ACA on structural grounds, details will be required of repairs/remedial works normally used in similar circumstances and details of why they are not suitable in that instance. • Details of the design including materials proposed for replacement building(s) will be required in any case where demolition is considered, proposals for a replacement building will be assessed as set out below as part of the consideration of an application for demolition. • Corner buildings in towns can provide identity and points of orientation, consideration will be given to allowing for higher buildings and appropriate designs to emphasise these locations, which may not be acceptable in other locations. It should be noted that in Irish towns one often finds lower buildings at the corner e.g. pubs, with, for example, a drop down from three-storey to two- storey.


• Retention of existing materials is preferable to replacement, where replacement materials must be used they will be in the first instance in keeping with the predominant traditional materials used within the ACA, or alternatively as agreed with Roscommon County Council. • Where new buildings or alterations at roof level are proposed, consideration should be given to the effect of the proposals on the character of the area with regard to roof shape, pitch, angle and length, height, and eaves details, such that they are in keeping with the character of the area in question. • The provision of dormers, and roof lights may be considered acceptable where they are in keeping with traditional and/or typical examples, which contribute to the existing character. Roof lights should be to hidden pitches where possible. • Ventilation of roof spaces should be via eaves vents where possible.

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014-2020 Page 163 Chapter 6: Built Heritage and Archaeology

• Where breaking through internally between adjacent buildings in an ACA, both fronts are to maintain an active function, the disruption of historic material is to be kept to a minimum such that the character is not negatively impacted upon, this is preferable to demolition of one or both structures.


• Roof extensions, where deemed to be appropriate, should always complement the appearance of the existing and adjacent buildings, in keeping with the character, as set out in the character appraisal or character statement for the ACA. • Changes to roof pitch angle, ridge height and span of roof can have a significant impact on character, and would be unacceptable to existing buildings except where the changes involve the reinstatement or enhancement of character. • Telecommunications equipment, ductwork, lift shafts, or other roof plant require planning permission. These should be sensitively located and must not adversely affect the character of the building or where appropriate the roofscape of the ACA. • The use of modern roofing or re-cladding materials will not be acceptable where it impacts upon the character of the ACA. • The retention of chimney pots and stacks is preferable to replacement. • Where replacement buildings or substantial changes to roof structures are permitted within an ACA the use of chimney stacks should be considered in the design to retain existing patterns and to punctuate the roofscape. • In cases where dormers are deemed to be in keeping with the character and therefore acceptable, traditional designs in keeping with the character and form of the building and the ACA may be acceptable.


• Where repairs are to be carried out to traditional renders, the material, its style and detailing should match, as far as possible, the existing. These should be based on lime mortar and not contain cement. Sample panels may be requested to assess appropriateness. • The stripping of render to expose the underlying stone is unacceptable generally and particularly within the ACA. • Replacement of traditional finishes with modern style materials will not be considered to be in keeping with the character and will therefore not be granted planning permission other than in exceptional cases. • Where an external finish has gained an identifiable patina of age such as weathering and lichen growth it will merit special consideration with regard to repairs or replacement.


• Roscommon County Council will facilitate where possible and support any initiatives to route underground overhead services in the ACAs. • The removal of redundant services from the facades of buildings will be encouraged.


• Lighting of certain landmark buildings and structures is acceptable in principle to Roscommon County Council. The method of lighting i.e. type of fitting, fixing method and type of light would require to be specified by the applicant in seeking authorisation.

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014-2020 Page 164 Chapter 6: Built Heritage and Archaeology


• Advertisements affixed to the exteriors of structures within an ACA require planning permission. An application will provide details of impact on the character of the building to which they are attached, adjacent buildings and to the ACA in general. Details of the fixing method will also be required to ensure minimisation of irreversible impacts on the building in question as part of the planning application. • Signage fixed flat to the façade of a building is normally preferable to those fixed on brackets perpendicular to the façade. • Advertising on canopies or elements of street furniture will not generally be permitted in an ACA.


• Applications for alteration to existing opening sizes and proportions, or for additional openings in traditional buildings within ACAs will only be considered where they do not detract from the character of the area. • The replacement of timber windows and doors with modern materials such as PVC or aluminium will not be acceptable within an ACA. • Where original or old glass survives in windows it should be retained and/or incorporated into repaired/replaced windows. • Replacement of PVC and Aluminium window frames and doors with timber will be encouraged and facilitated where possible by Roscommon County Council. • Features such as fine cut limestone window sills and door steps are to be retained and protected from any potential damage. • External roller shutters will not be preferred within an ACA. Alternative methods of security should be used, if required.


• Traditional shopfronts should be repaired rather than replaced, with materials matching the original. • Modern style awnings to the front of commercial premises will not normally be considered to be in keeping with the retention of character in the ACA. • The provision of new or extended shopfronts would be inappropriate where it/they extend across two or more distinct buildings. Clear vertical distinction is required between distinct buildings. • New or extended shopfronts should never obscure architectural details of the original building such as sills, stringcourses, or windows. • The removal of existing traditional shopfronts will only be considered in exceptional cases. Repair will always be preferable to replacement. • Applications for the provision of new shopfronts shall take into consideration the effect of proposed designs on character of the building, adjacent buildings and the ACA in general, with regard to scale, proportions, materials and detailing. Modern requirements such as newspaper receptacles should be built into the design of new shopfronts as opposed to being tacked on. • The provision of external roller shutters is not preferred for either new or existing shopfronts. Additional security, where required, should be provided using other methods. • Traditional sign writing to shopfront fascias may contribute to the special character of a shopfront and it is important to retain or at least cover good examples in a manner such that it can be uncovered at a future date. • Roscommon County Council may request a method statement with regard to extensive or complicated repair work to shopfronts in advance of works commencing. • Standard corporate signage may not be acceptable within ACAs, such signage is to be provided in a manner in keeping with the character of the ACA. • Where newspaper receptacles are to be fixed to the façade of a building planning permission is required.

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014-2020 Page 165 Chapter 6: Built Heritage and Archaeology


• Applications for change of use from residential to retail will be required to provide an assessment of the impact on the structure and its character, particularly where breaking out ground floor front wall or the provision of signage forms part of the application. • Alterations such as the removal of original external limestone steps, and provision of new openings for additional access to upper floors will be considered in relation to its impact on character. 5 TRAFFIC, STREET FURNITURE, PLANTING

• Any changes to traffic management and parking within ACAs will take into account its designation as an ACA and will seek to retain or improve the character of the ACA in the design and provision of Pay and Display machines, signage, ramps, renewed surfaces, dished pavements etc. • The Council will actively promote the retention of all surviving original kerbing and cobbles in the ACAs. • Where agreement is reached with the Council for works to dish footpaths, original kerbs will not be removed, they will be lowered in full and not cut or removed. • Post boxes, seats, water pumps and other street furniture where in keeping with the character of the ACA will be retained in-situ. • New street furniture will be of high quality reflecting the area’s status as an ACA and be of appropriate (preferably local) materials.


• Development within Demesne ACAs should be such that it does not negatively impact upon the designed and natural landscape, the setting of structures within the Demesne or mature trees and wildlife, which contribute positively to the character of the ACA. The original landscape design intentions are to be respected. • Car parking facilities in Demesne ACAs should be concealed where possible with appropriate planting and landscaping.


Heritage Objects are defined as objects that are over 25 years old, which are works of art or of industry (including books, documents and other records, including genealogical records) of cultural importance 2.

Objective for Heritage Objectives Objective 6.20 Conserve and protect heritage objects, which are of importance to the County by securing suitable storage and presentation facilities for these items.


There are over two thousand in the county, each with a distinctive name. reflecting the natural and man-made features, landscape or history of the locality. It’s very important that we use the rich variety of native place names in County Roscommon to ensure that we do not lose this vital part of our heritage forever. It is therefore important that a Placenames Committee / Coiste Logainmneacha Ros Comáin be set up in the County in order to advise on appropriate names for new developments including housing estates etc.

The naming of residential estates and other developments should reflect local place names and local people of note, heritage, language or topographical features as well as incorporating traditional and place names from the locality. The use of the name in new developments may also be appropriate. In addition, place names should be easily pronounced.

2 A Methodology for the Preparation of County Heritage Plans, The Heritage Council 2001

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014-2020 Page 166 Chapter 6: Built Heritage and Archaeology

Policies for Placenames Establish, within the lifetime of this plan, An Coiste Logainmneacha Ros Comáin - The Policy 6.6 Placenames Committee of Roscommon, to advise on names of new developments. The naming of new developments, such as housing estates, streets, shopping centres etc. Policy 6.7 shall reflect the local place names, history, culture and heritage or topographical features as appropriate. Ensure that the use of Irish language place names is encouraged, where possible and Policy 6.8 should be easily pronounced by non-Irish speakers. Signage should be of appropriate size and material and shall be erected in a timely manner.


Archaeology is the study of past societies through the material remains left by those societies and the evidence of their environment, which includes anything made or modified by people from earliest times up to 1700AD. The archaeological heritage of Co. Roscommon includes structures, constructions, groups of buildings, developed sites, all recorded monuments as well as their contexts, and moveable objects; situated both on land and under water 3. This means that the archaeological heritage is not confined to the archaeological sites within the Record of Monuments and Places. It includes any archaeological site that may not have been recorded yet, as well as archaeology beneath the ground surface, as well as the context of any site 4.

To date there has been over 4,400 known Recorded Monuments identified in County Roscommon. However, new sites and monuments are continuously being discovered, often during development or building work, details of these can be viewed on . Our archaeological heritage can be used to gain knowledge and understanding of the past. It is of great cultural and scientific importance. Only a portion of the material remains of past societies has survived and the available evidence is of archaeological significance.

People have been influencing the landscape of County Roscommon for over 6,000 years and the result of this interaction is a diverse collection of burial tombs, settlement sites, artefacts, buildings, industries, art, music, folklore and traditions. Drumanone Dolmen near Boyle and the court tomb in Knockranny Wood just outside are good examples of Neolithic sites dating from 4000-2000BC. Bronze Age sites dating from 2000BC – 500BC include burial mounds called Barrows, such as Knockadoobrusna close to Boyle Golf Course. Iron Age sites dating from 500BC – 500AD include linear earthworks or ancient roads such as at Cloonburren, near Shannonbridge and Crannógs. Crannógs are tiny circular islands found in most lakes in the county often covered with trees, such as at Tully Lough, near Strokestown. These are man-made dwellings built in shallow water, using timber, stones and other material 5 are a very distinctive feature of

3 The European Convention for the Protection of Archaeological Heritage, Valetta 1992. 4 Ref: Department of Environment, Heritage & Local Government 5 Ref: Earthen Banks and Broken Walls, Our Legacy of Ancient Monuments, Department of Environment, Heritage & Local Government

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014-2020 Page 167 Chapter 6: Built Heritage and Archaeology the Roscommon countryside which, uniquely for Ireland, remained in use up to late Medieval times around the 17 th century.

Medieval settlement is still a strong and visible feature of the Roscommon landscape. Ancient Gaelic settlement traditions survived in Roscommon longer than in other parts of the country because of the strong Gaelic traditions of the O’Connor Clan who were Gaelic lords in control of most of County Roscommon. Perhaps the most frequently occurring monument found throughout the county is the . Ringforts are circular earthworks, defined by an earthen bank and external ditch. They enclosed a dwelling house and other buildings of a Lord or wealthy farmer in the early Medieval period (c. 500 – 1100AD) 6. Known also as Raths, Lios or Dúns, many of these monuments give names to the townland in which they are found. For example, there are three townlands in the county called ‘Rathmore’, meaning big rath or big ringfort. Other settlement types known as ‘moated sites’ were built by the Gaelic lords in Roscommon around 1300AD, such as at Ogulla, near . Medieval field systems still survive from this era, especially at Carns, near Tulsk. The deserted Medieval town of Rindoon, situated on the shores of is one of the most important complexes of Medieval monuments in the country. The archaeological significance of late Medieval rural settlement in the landscape of Roscommon, even to this day, is reflected in the research carried out here by the Discovery Programme – Ireland’s national archaeological research body - which has found ‘that we are seeing a native lordship that is consciously aware of maximizing economic return through the careful management of its lands and its people’ 7.

While the landscape features described above reflect the influence of Gaelic settlement on the landscape, the influence of the Anglo-Normans is also to be seen, particularly in the great stone castles of Roscommon and Ballintubber, which were built c. 1300AD. Other surviving elements of Medieval settlement include many churches and ecclesiastical sites around the county. Over half of the graveyards in the county contain within them sites of archaeological importance. 8

6.7.1 Monument Protection

At present a monument is protected in one of four ways:

• It is recorded in the Record of Monuments and Places (RMP) –There are over four thousand monuments on the RMP for County Roscommon, they can be viewed on . • It is registered in the Register of Historic Monuments (RHM) – Over three hundred and eighty of the monuments in the County are also on the RHM. • It is a national monument subject to a preservation order (or temporary preservation order), a list of these can be viewed on . • It is a national monument in the ownership or guardianship of the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht or a Local Authority – a list of these they can be viewed on .

All known sites and monuments in the county are identified and listed for protection in the Record of Monuments and Places, a statutory inventory of sites protected under the National Monuments Acts. The Record of Monuments and Places is a set of 6” maps of County Roscommon with an accompanying index, which shows all the sites, monuments and zones of archaeological potential identified to date in the county. The Record of Monuments and Places is available to the public at the Planning Office of Roscommon County Council and in the County Library Roscommon. More detailed information on monument protection can be viewed on .

6 Ref: Earthen Banks and Broken Walls, Our Legacy of Ancient Monuments, Department of Environment, Heritage & Local Government 7 8 Ref: County Roscommon Graveyard Survey 2005 © Roscommon County Council.

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014-2020 Page 168 Chapter 6: Built Heritage and Archaeology

6.7.2 Archaeological Assessment

Government guidance 9 states that proposed developments that may (due to their location, size, or nature) have implications for the archaeological heritage should be subject to archaeological assessment.

Archaeological assessment is an essential first step in the development process to identify the archaeology, if any, present on a site, so as to allow the development to be designed from the start in such a way as to minimize the impacts of that development on the archaeology. This can avoid or reduce costs and delays to the development.

A very useful leaflet ‘Archaeology in the Planning Process’ has been produced by the Department of Environment, Community & Local Government. It will guide planning applicants and their agents through the planning process if there is a known site or monument in or adjacent to any proposed development. This can be downloaded from:

6.7.3 Underwater Archaeology

Under the National Monuments Acts 1930-2004, all shipwrecks over one hundred years old, underwater archaeological structures, features and objects are protected. The Record of Monuments and Places does not include all underwater archaeological sites. As a result the potential exists for development to impact negatively on our underwater cultural resource. Development impacting upon rivers and lakes may encounter underwater archaeology.

Policy for Archaeological Heritage Policy 6.9 Protect the archaeological heritage from damage. Policy 6.10 Make available appropriate guidance in relation to the protection of the archaeological heritage in the County. Policy 6.11 Promote public awareness of the rich archaeological heritage in the County.

Objectives for Archaeological Heritage Objective 6.21 Secure the preservation (i.e. preservation in situ or, as a minimum, preservation by record) of all archaeological monuments included in the Record of Monuments and Places as established under Section 12 of the National Monuments (Amendment) Act, 1994, and of sites, features and objects of archaeological interest generally. In securing such preservation Roscommon County Council will have regard to the advice and recommendations of the National Monuments Section of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. Objective 6.22 Ensure that any development either above or below ground, within the vicinity of a site of archaeological interest shall not be detrimental to the character of the archaeological site or its setting. Objective 6.23 Promote pre -planning consultations in relation to the archaeological heritage with the planning authority and with the National Monuments Service of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in its capacity of being charged with the implementation of the National Monuments Acts. Objective 6.24 Support the conservation of archaeological landscapes in conjunction with the National Monuments Service of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. Objective 6.25 Continue to make available the results of archaeological excavation in a timely and appropriate manner.

9 Framework and Principles for the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage,100,en.pdf

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014-2020 Page 169 Chapter 6: Built Heritage and Archaeology

Objective 6.26 At sites where underwater archaeology might be encountered, especially at the three main fording points of the Shannon at Roosky, Termonbarry & Ballyleague, refer development applications to the Underwater Archaeology Unit, via the Development Applications Section of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht for comment.

Objective 6.2 7 Ensure that proposed developments that may (due to their location, size or nature) have implications for the archaeological heritage, are subject to archaeological assessment.

6.7.4 Development in Areas of Archaeological Potential – Development Standards

• All developments that may have implications for archaeological heritage should be subject to archaeological assessment. Such developments include those located at or close to archaeological monuments or sites, extensive developments in terms of area covered (ground disturbance of more than ½ hectare) or length (1kilometre or more) and developments requiring an Environmental Impact Statement. The archaeological heritage includes National Monuments in the care of the State, archaeological and architectural monuments and sites in the Record of Monuments and Places and the Register of Historic Monuments, zones of archaeological potential in Historic Towns; the underwater archaeological heritage, including historic wrecks; unknown and unrecorded archaeological sites (including subsurface elements with no visible surface remains); potential sites located in the vicinity or large complexes of sites or monuments, present or former wetlands, unenclosed land, rivers or lakes. • Development taking place either above or below ground which is within, adjacent to or might affect sites and features of historical and archaeological interest shall respect the character of the archaeological site and its setting and shall be sited and designed with care for the character of the site and setting. • Archaeological monitoring may be required in the course of carrying out development works. It shall be a condition of archaeological monitoring that there is a requirement for the stopping (on the advice of the monitoring archaeologist) of all works which might affect elements of the archaeological heritage, the recording of exposed archaeological material, and preservation by record or preservation in-situ of the elements of the archaeological heritage, as appropriate.


Photo © Gary Dempsey

The Rathcroghan area of County Roscommon, located along the N5 between Tulsk and Ballinagare, is the location of a complex of archaeological monuments that are of major national significance. Rathcroghan is the traditional site of the seat of Connaught’s Iron Age elite and the burial place of the pagan kings of Ireland. It is famous in myth, legend and folklore as the location from which Queen Maeve of Connaught set out on her raid to claim the Brown Bull of Cooley, in the epic tale the ‘Táin Bó Cúalnge’.

The landscape of the Rathcroghan area reflects 5,000 years of human activity from Neolithic to Medieval periods. The archaeological characteristics of this landscape have survived largely intact to this day because of the respect and appreciation of the site amongst the local landowners. Conservation of this landscape and of the monuments and their settings, which contribute to this historic landscape, must be balanced with the sustaining of viable land use practices and a viable population in the area. Many of the individual monuments, which together form the archaeological complex of Rathcroghan are National Monuments in

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014-2020 Page 170 Chapter 6: Built Heritage and Archaeology the ownership or guardianship of the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. There are also other important national monuments in private ownership. A database of recorded monuments in the Rathcroghan archaeological complex is included in Section 8.16 of the Rathcroghan Archaeological Complex Conservation Study, which can be viewed on hcroghan%20Conservation%20Study.pdf

Policy for the Rathcroghan Archaeological Complex Policy 6.12 Support the implementation of the Rathcroghan Arch aeological Complex Conservation Study, as prepared for the Department of Environment, Heritage & Local Government. Policy 6.13 Facilitate sustainable development within the zones of archaeological potential associated with the Rathcroghan site in accordance with ‘Sustainable Rural Housing Guidelines for Planning Authorities (Government of Ireland 2005).

Policy 6.14 Protect and conserve the vulnerable archaeological and cultural landscape and to conserve and enhance views from and between the 12 key archaeological monuments and 4 key view points as identified in the Rathcroghan Archaeological Complex Conservation Study.

Objectives for the Rathcroghan Archaeological Complex Objective 6.2 8 Permit individual housing only in accordance with the Rural Housing Strategy as set out in Chapter 5 of the Roscommon County Development Plan 2014 – 2020. Objective 6.2 9 Facilitate modestly scaled development, such as extensions to existing domestic dwellings, sensitively designed and sited agricultural building, reuse of existing buildings and where appropriate, replacement buildings comparable in scale to buildings being removed. Objective 6. 30 Discourage development along the existing as it passes through the Rathcroghan area, even if the status of that route changes during the lifetime of this plan.

Objective 6.3 1 Carry out a capacity study for the Rathcroghan Complex Study area to assess the capacity of the landscape to accommodate future development. This is necessary because the greatest concern in relation to rural housing is its cumulative impact on the landscape as well as the national and international significance of the Rathcroghan complex landscape which is based on its landscape and intervisibility between the key monuments.

6.8.1 Development in the Rathcroghan Area – Development Standards

Along with the archaeological development standards applied countywide, additional development criteria will be applied to the Rathcroghan area:

• In order to apply the policy of conserving this significant historic landscape, development applications must be assessed in the policy context as set out in Chapter 5 Housing, ‘Rural Development Within Sensitive Environmental and other Designations’. • Development applications, which relate to appropriately scaled economic activity, such as tourism related facilities or employment opportunities may be considered, however Section 47 10 agreements may be utilized to sterilize land from other development. • All developments that may be considered on the Rathcroghan Plateau (defined by the 120m-130m contour), in the vicinity of the 12 key monuments identified in Section 8.4 to 8.15 and the 4 key view points highlighted as being of significance in Figure 5 of the Rathcroghan Archaeological Complex

10 Planning and Development Act 2000

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014-2020 Page 171 Chapter 6: Built Heritage and Archaeology

Conservation Study must be subject to a visual impact assessment to ensure the intervisibility and setting of the monuments is conserved. • All developments that may be considered within the archaeological zones will be subject to an archaeological assessment requirement.

6.8.2 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

A Tentative list is an inventory of those properties which a country intends to consider for nomination to the World Heritage List. Rathcroghan Archaeological Complex has been submitted for addition to the Tentative List for future inscription as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, by what is now the Department of Arts , Heritage and the Gaeltacht, as a part of the Royal Sites of Ireland which also includes Cashel, Dun Ailinne, Hill of Uisneach and Tara. An area of south County Roscommon falls within the site of “The Monastic City of and its Cultural Landscape” has also been submitted for addition to the Tentative List for future inscription as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. These two areas of County Roscommon have potential to become UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Policy for UNESCO World Heritage Sites To recognise and respect potential World Heritage Sites in Roscommon on the UNESCO Policy 6.15 Tentative List – Ireland -2010 and support their nomination to World Heritage status.

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014-2020 Page 172 Chapter 7: Natural Heritage and Landscape Character Assessment


Our natural heritage includes the variety of all life around us. The preservation of this heritage, incorporating its ecological integrity, is a priority of this County Development Plan. The Heritage Act, 1995 defines natural heritage as including flora, fauna, wildlife habitats, landscapes, seascapes, wrecks, geology, inland waterways and heritage gardens and parks. Ireland’s National Biodiversity Plan ‘Actions for Biodiversity 2011-2016’ sets out Ireland’s vision for biodiversity - “That biodiversity and ecosystems in Ireland are conserved and restored, delivering benefits essential for all sectors of society and that Ireland contributes to efforts to halt the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystems in the EU and globally.” Action 1.6 of the National Biodiversity Plan seeks to ensure that all development plans comply with environmental legislation and in particular with the nature directives so as to protect and minimize any potential damages to biodiversity.

We share the country of Ireland with 28 species of land mammal, over 400 species of birds, more than 4,000 plant species, over 12,000 species of insect, as well as a huge range of other living creatures. Conserving this biodiversity - plants, animals and micro-organisms along with our lakes, river, bogs, woodlands, grasslands etc, means maintaining the variety of species and genetic resources, as well as the environment in which different species co-exist and are interlinked. Biodiversity and the natural environment provide us with many of the essentials of life – oxygen, water, food, medicine and places to relax in. It is therefore important that we protect the wealth of wildlife and habitats i.e. the biodiversity, in Co. Roscommon because we are dependent on these for our survival and wellbeing. This biodiversity makes up the landscape of Co. Roscommon and this landscape is also the result of human activities down through the generations. This landscape provides a home, for people, plants and animals and is a unique cultural resource. It contributes to our sense of place, to the local distinctiveness of each part of the county and it contributes to our quality of life.


A wide range of different sites have been (or will be) designated under National & EU legislation and under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. There are over fifty habitat types and over twenty animal and plant species in Ireland that are recognised by the EU as being in need of special protection. This has lead to a comprehensive network of protected areas being established in Ireland in recent years. This network is made up of sites of European importance - Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Special Protection Areas (SPAs) - known collectively as “Natura 2000” or “European Sites”, and sites of National importance - Natural Heritage Areas (NHAs). Many of these habitats and species are found in Roscommon and some, such as Turloughs and Active Raised Bogs, are priority habitats because of their importance and rarity. The three main types of site designations are detailed below. Some sites have multiple designations. Designation of natural heritage sites in Ireland is the responsibility of the Department of Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht.

Strategic Aim for Designated Sites

It is a strategic aim of Roscommon County Council to:

• Protect, conserve and enhance the biodiversity and natural heritage of designated sites in County Roscommon. • Identify, protect and conserve sites of natural heritage importance, in co-operation with the relevant statutory authorities.

Special Areas of Conservation (SACs)

The EU Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC) lists certain habitats and species that must be protected. This protection is implemented under the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014-2020 Page 173 Chapter 7: Natural Heritage and Landscape Character Assessment

(S.I. No. 477 of 2011). These are the prime wildlife conservation areas in the country, considered to be important on a European as well as an Irish level

Any development in, near or adversely affecting an SAC should avoid any significant adverse impact on the features for which the site has been designated or proposed for designation. There are 28 SACs in Co. Roscommon, indicated on Map 10.

Special Protection Areas (SPAs)

These sites are areas of importance for birds (and often are also important for other types of wildlife). The EU Birds Directive (79/409/EEC) requires designation of SPAs for listed rare and vulnerable species, regularly occurring migratory species and wetlands, especially those of international importance, which attract large numbers of migratory birds each year.

Any development in, near or adversely affecting an SPA should avoid any significant adverse impact on the integrity of the site. There are 8 SPAs in Co. Roscommon, indicated on Map 10.

Natural Heritage Areas (NHAs)

The Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000 provides for the designation and conservation of Natural Heritage Areas (NHAs). NHAs are sites that support elements of our natural heritage which are unique, or of outstanding importance at the national level. Any development in, near or adversely affecting a Natural Heritage Area should avoid any significant adverse impact on the features for which the site has been designated. There are currently eleven Natural Heritage Areas in Co. Roscommon. T hese are indicated in Map 10 and listed in the table below. There are many more proposed NHAs in Co. Roscommon which will be designated on a phased basis.

Other Natural Heritage Designations

There are five Wildfowl Sanctuaries (WS) is County Roscommon – Annaghmore Lough, Lough Croan, Lough Funshinagh, part of Lough Key and Four Roads . Shooting of game birds is not allowed in these sanctuaries so that game birds can rest and feed undisturbed.

Some rare plant species are afforded legal protection by the Wildlife Acts, under the Flora (Protection) Order 1999 (or other such orders). It is illegal to cut, uproot or damage the listed species in any way, or to offer them for sale. This prohibition extends to the taking or sale of seed. In addition, it is illegal to alter, damage or interfere in any way with their habitats. This protection applies wherever the plants are found and is not confined to sites designated for nature conservation. Any major change in existing land-use (e.g. a change from pasture to arable, or a change in fertiliser regime would be covered by this provision 1. Under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, which came into force in Ireland in 1985, is designated as wetland site of international importance.

1 Ref:

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014-2020 Page 174 Chapter 7: Natural Heritage and Landscape Character Assessment

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014-2020 Page 175 Chapter 7: Natural Heritage and Landscape Character Assessment

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014-2020 Page 176 Chapter 7: Natural Heritage and Landscape Character Assessment

Development in or near Heritage Areas

Planning authorities must ensure that any development proposal which is likely to have a significant effect on a Special Area of Conservation, Natural Heritage Area, Special Protection Area for birds, or other area designated under statute for the conservation of features of natural or geological interest, or other designated area, is authorised only to the extent that the planning authority is satisfied it will not adversely affect the integrity of the area. Such a proposal must be subject to an appropriate assessment of its implications for the area, if it is clear, on the basis of a preliminary examination, that the project could have a significant effect on the area. All aspects of the proposal, which could, themselves or in combination with other proposals, affect the area’s conservation objectives, should be identified.

Appropriate Assessment

It is necessary to consider the nature conservation implications of any plan or project on the Natura 2000 site network using a process known as Appropriate Assessment. The first step in this process is Appropriate Assessment Screening and prepare a Natura Impact Statement. This is to determine, on the basis of a preliminary assessment and objective criteria, whether a project, alone and in combination with other projects, could have significant effects on a Natura 2000 site in view of the sites conservation objectives. Best scientific evidence and methods and specialist advice will be required for this screening process. It is the responsibility of the competent authority to carry out this screening process. It is the subsequent responsibility of Roscommon County Council to carry out an Appropriate Assessment of the application to asses the effects of the plan or project on the Natura 2000 site.

Policy for Designated Sites Policy 7.1 Protect proposed and designated Natural Heritage Areas, Special Protection Areas and Special Areas of Conservation. Policy 7.2 Protect geological Natural Heritage Areas as they become proposed, designated and notified to Roscommon County Council during the lifetime of this plan. Policy 7.3 Protect any additional areas that may be proposed or designated during the lifetime of the plan in accordance with Policy above Policy 7. 4 Promote development in these areas, for recreational and educational purposes, where it would not conflict with the preservation and protection of these sites. Policy 7.5 It is Council policy to implement the mitigation measures a s set out in Section 11.3 of the Environmental Report accompanying the Development Plan, which are envisaged to prevent, reduce and, as fully as possible, offset any significant adverse impacts on the environment of implementing the County Development Plan. These mitigation measures refer to biodiversity, human health, geology and soils, water quality, flooding,air,climatic factors, transport infrastructure, wastewater treatment, waste management, cultural assets and landscape as referred to in Table 48 of the Environmental report.

Objectives for Designated Sites Objective 7.1 Maintain or restore the favourable conservation condition of a designated or proposed designated site under the control of the Planning Authority. Objective 7.2 Ensure Appropriate Assessment Screening, and, where required, Appropriate Assessment, is carried out for any plan or project which, individually, or in combination with other plans and projects is likely to have a significant direct or indirect impact on any Natura 2000 site or sites; in accordance with best practice guidance as issued by the National Parks & Wildlife Service of the Department of Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht and/or the Department of Environment, Community & Local Government.

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014-2020 Page 177 Chapter 7: Natural Heritage and Landscape Character Assessment


Geology is the study of the planet Earth as a whole, or in part and the materials of which it is made. It includes study of the processes that act and have acted upon these materials; the products and structures formed by such action and the physical and biological history of the planet since its origin including the history of life preserved as fossils in rocks and deposits at the surface or in layers beneath the surface of the earth. It also includes stratigraphic succession, caves, fossil content of any other items of scientific interest, and includes geomorphology, lithology and mineralogy 2.

There is a statutory requirement placed on Local Authorities to have due regard for conservation of geological heritage features under the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended), Planning and Development Regulations 2001, The Heritage Act 1995 and the Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000. The National Heritage Plan (2002) indicates that geological sites of local or regional importance will be classed as County Geological Sites. These will have no statutory protection, but the nomination of such sites will ensure that the geological features are considered by local authorities in reaching planning decisions.

County Roscommon is a geologically diverse place. The bedrock foundation, with hundreds of millions of years in its formation and shaping, and the more recent history of geomorphological processes such as limestone solution and scouring by glaciers, are what has created that underlying geodiversity. Geological understanding and interpretation is best done on the ground at sites where the rocks and landforms are displayed. County Roscommon has a wealth of such natural and human-influenced sites, particularly of karstic and glacial types.

An Audit of County Geological Sites in Roscommon, part funded by the Heritage Council, was carried out in 2012 in conjunction with the Irish Geological Heritage Programme of the Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI). It has identified twenty nine sites County Geological Sites which are currently understood to be the most important geological sites within Roscommon. Many of these sites are considered to be of national importance as best representative examples of particular geological formations or features. Many of these sites fall within existing pNHAs and SACs where the ecological interest is founded upon the underlying geodiversity.

County Geological Sites fall into two broad types of site. The most common are small and discrete sites. They may be old quarries, natural exposures or other natural cuttings into the sub surface, such as the mushroom stones at Moyvannon and Carrowmurragh, the old clay pits at Lecarrow or the old coal mines at and Altagowlan. They usually have a scientific interest such as fossils, minerals or are a representative section of a particular stratigraphical sequence of rocks. The other type tends to be larger areas that represent a geomorphological interest – landscapes that illustrate processes which formed them, such as the suburb eskers found in Roscommon. Most geology is actually quite robust and generally few restrictions are required in order to protect the scientific interest. Consultation with the GSI is important if development is proposed within a County Geological Site. In this way geologists may get the opportunity to learn more about a site or an area by recording and sample collection of temporary exposures, or influence the design so that access to exposures of rock is maintained for the future, or prevent completely inappropriate development through a strong scientific case.

2 Ref: A Methodology for Local Authority Heritage Officers on the Preparation of County/City Heritage Plans, The Heritage Council.

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014-2020 Page 178 Chapter 7: Natural Heritage and Landscape Character Assessment

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014-2020 Page 179 Chapter 7: Natural Heritage and Landscape Character Assessment

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014-2020 Page 180 Chapter 7: Natural Heritage and Landscape Character Assessment

Table 7. 1 County Geological Sites County Geological Site Geological Interest Brierfield Turlough Turlough Castleplunkett Turlough Turlough Carrowmurragh Mushroom Rocks Mushroom Rocks Killeglan Karst Landscape Unmodified glacial boulder ridges now as karst landscape Lough Funshinagh Disappearing lake that intermittently drains away Loughnaneane Turlough Turlough Mewlaghmore Dolines Large d oline field Moyvannan Mushroom Rocks Mushroom Rocks Mullygollan Turlough Turlough Oweynagat Relict Cave Pollnagran Active Stream Cave Rockingham Spring Large karstic spring -Split Hills -Clonmacnoise Long, sinuous esker ridge system 70 kilometres across -Clara Esker System the Central Midlands Boyle Drumlins Discrete drumlin field of approx 200 drumlins McKeon’s Pit Gravel pit in glacial fan Mid Roscommon Ribbed Moraines Ribbed moraine field with superimposed drumlins Castlesampson Esker Esker Cloonburren Fan Glacial fan Errit and Cloonagh Loughs Deltas Glacial deltas Garranlahan Esker Esker Castlemine Quarry Limestone quarry Keeloges Quarry Limestone quarry Largan Quarry Limestone quarry Boyle Road Cutting Road cutting in Devonian rocks Lecarrow Clay Pit Possible Tertiary clay deposit in a karstic solution pipe. Callows River floodplain Suck River Callows River floodplain Altagowlan Disused coal mines and ancillary surface infrastructure, stone quarries Disused Coal Mines and visitor centre

Policy for Sites of Geological Importance Policy 7. 6 Raise awareness of the importance of geological heritage and disseminate information on sites of geological importance in County Roscommon.

Objective for Sites of Geological Importance Objective 7.3 Preserve and protect sites of county geological importance from inappropriate development where they comprise designated sites or national heritage areas. Objective 7.4 Refer all planning applications within County Geological Sites to the Geological Survey of Ireland for consultation and have regard to their recommendations.

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014-2020 Page 181 Chapter 7: Natural Heritage and Landscape Character Assessment


County Roscommon has a rich and varied landscape and supports a diversity of wildlife and habitats that are both rare in Ireland and Europe. Some of the most important sites have been designated or proposed for nature conservation. Outside of the designated areas there are lots of other important places for nature and wildlife in Roscommon, in rural areas and in our towns and villages, where the Council will endeavor to promote green infrastructure. Habitat mapping of County Roscommon (outside of the designated areas), part funded by The Heritage Council, was carried out in 2010. This found forty nine different habitat types within County Roscommon. It found that there is a relatively good cover of semi-natural habitats in the wider countryside; linear features such as hedgerows and drainage ditches are important habitats and linking features and that land abandonment and its impacts on peatlands, wetlands, species rich grasslands and limestone pavement should be researched as a matter of priority to initiate action to appropriately manage surviving good quality examples of these rare habitat types.

Many habitats of conservation concern particularly designated sites are linked to the surrounding countryside by natural and manmade features – rivers, streams, canals, drainage ditches, hedges, treelines, roads and railways. Therefore areas of conservation concern must not be considered in isolation. Linkages and wildlife corridors between designated sites and important habitats must also be given consideration.


The County Roscommon Hedgerow Survey Report (2005) found that townland boundary hedgerows and roadside hedgerows contain a greater diversity of native shrub species than other hedges. This is due to earlier establishment in the landscape of roadside and townland boundary hedges. The corridor role of hedgerows in facilitating the movement and distribution of wild flora and fauna through the landscape is believed to be enhanced significantly if hedgerows link into other (natural or semi-natural) habitat features. 12% of hedges surveyed in County Roscommon had end links with habitats other than hedgerows.

Hedges are a valuable asset to the county, they add much to the scenic appearance of the landscape and provide many services on the farm. The root systems of hedgerow trees and shrubs regulate water movement in the land and improve the quality of water. Hedgerows are also enormously important for wildlife. They are a habitat for insects like butterflies and bumblebees and provide food, shelter, and nesting sites for birds, from small songbirds to larger birds of prey like the Kestrel and Sparrowhawk. Mammals such as wood mice, hedgehogs, badgers, and bats also depend on hedges for their survival 3. It is important that hedgerows be retained where possible, especially townland boundary, roadside hedges and hedgerows linking other habitats, forming a wildlife corridor. However, proper care and maintenance of hedgerows is also important.

Trees and Woodlands

Trees and woodlands contribute to the landscape and visual amenity of County Roscommon. Native trees are particularly valuable as a habitat for invertebrates and bird life and trees provide a carbon sink and contribute to clean air and quality of life in the county as well as providing a valuable source of shelter and acting as a buffer from noise. Woodland sites, such as St. John’s Wood near Lecarrow are of national importance. Many other woodlands survive around the county, especially in demesnes and estates, such as at Rockingham near Boyle, at Castletennison or Kilronan Castle, near Keadue, at Strokestown Park and at Mote Park near Roscommon. The importance of demesnes as locations for trees and woodland is evident in the number of significant trees recorded in these demesnes by the Tree Council in the Tree Register of Ireland, as Champion Trees in County Roscommon 4.

3 Ref: ‘County Roscommon’s Hedges’, Roscommon County Council 2005 4 Ref:

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014-2020 Page 182 Chapter 7: Natural Heritage and Landscape Character Assessment


Eskers are glacial features composed of narrow ridges of sand and gravel. Eskers are important because of their cultural, geological and natural heritage qualities. In ancient times they were used as roadways, in more recent times they are being used for extraction of the sand and gravel required by the construction industry. The glacial soil of eskers provides a habitat for many rare plants and for species-rich dry calcareous grassland of a type listed, with priority status, on Annex I of the EU Habitats Directive.

Roscommon County Council recognises that there is a need to balance the requirements of aggregate extraction with the requirements of conservation of these important landscape features, allowing them to survive and achieve their educational, tourism and recreational potential.

The Geological Survey of Ireland is undertaking Aggregrate Potential mapping (APM) on a county by county basis. Three esker systems of interest from a geological heritage perspective have been identified as County Geological Sites.


Peatlands or bogs, as they are more commonly known, are a distinctive feature of the Co. Roscommon landscape. Bogs are a unique wetland habitat, rich in wildlife possessing a combination of plants and animals that have evolved especially to thrive in a bog. Bogs can also be considered a living history book, containing within them semi fossilized plant remains and human artifacts, such as stumps of bog pine from trees that grew about 4000 years ago and ‘toghers’ or ancient wooden roadways which were built from the Bronze Age up to the medieval, from c. 2000 BC up to c. 1500 AD before the bog grew over and concealed them. ‘Bogs are important controllers of water levels in river catchments, providing a source of water in dry conditions and soaking up excess water during wetter periods 5’ Blanket bogs are found on the high ground, such as Kilronan Mountain in the north of the county. Raised bogs are found throughout the rest of the county. Active blanket bogs and active raised bogs are considered to be priority habitats, listed on Annex I of the EU Habitats Directive.


Turloughs are lakes, which disappear for part of the year, leaving a floor covered with grasses, sedges and herbs. They occur in limestone areas west of the Shannon and are unique to Ireland 6. Turloughs are unique because of the geology that underlies them, their importance for controlling ground water, the plant communities that survive there and the birds and animals that thrive on them. Turloughs are priority habitats listed on Annex I of the EU Habitats Directive. Turlough sites of European and national conservation importance are designated, as explained in Section 8.3. At least a third of the turloughs in Ireland have already been drained 7. It is important to identify turloughs of local conservation importance and to be aware of the hydrological impacts of development on turloughs.

Wetlands, Watercourses and Fens

Wetlands are simply lands covered with water – lakes, rivers, marshes, fens, bogs and other waterbodies whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, still or flowing water’ 8. ‘A fen is a wetland habitat with a permanently high water level at or just below the surface. Its principal source of nutrients is from surface or ground water and the substrate is an alkaline to slightly acid soil. The vegetation of fens is diverse and usually dominated by sedges and brown mosses’ 9. Wetlands are a significant feature of the landscape in Co. Roscommon, such as the Shannon and Suck Rivers and their associated callows or

5 Ref: ENFO WL12 Irish Raised Bogs 6 Ref: ENFO BS9 Turloughs 7 Ref: ENFO BS9 Turloughs 8 Ref: ENFO FS7 Wetlands in Ireland 9 Ref: ENFO BS35 Irish Fens

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014-2020 Page 183 Chapter 7: Natural Heritage and Landscape Character Assessment floodplains are major habitats. Wetlands are of importance for their habitat value and the rich wildlife that they provide a home to. However, wetlands have another importance – drainage; much of the surface water, which remains on land in Ireland is stored in wetlands. However wetlands, including fens, are under increasing threat from drainage, reclamation and development.

The EU Water Framework Directive and the Ramsar Convention provide guidance for the protection of wetlands. ‘Guidelines for Planning Authorities on Draining and Reclamation of Wetlands’ are currently being prepared by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government.

Heritage Parks and Gardens

As set out in Chapter 6 Section 6.5, Roscommon County Council recognizes the natural and cultural heritage value of 130 or so heritage gardens, demesnes and parks within the county. Along with their architectural importance, heritage parks and gardens may be an important record of landscape design phases over the past four hundred years and may contain habitats and species, such as a gene pool of rare fruit trees or plants, champion trees (see Trees and Woodlands section above) and species which are increasingly rare.

Objectives for Nature Conservation Objective 7. 5 Protect and promote the conservation of biodiversity outside of designated areas, while allowing for appropriate development, access and recreational activity. Objective 7.6 Continue to carry out habitat mapping for the county to identify significant local habitats in the county. Mapping of habitats should prioritise: Habitats listed in Annex 2 of the EU Habitats Directive; Species listed in Annex 2 of the EU Habitats Directive; and Species listed in Annex 1 of the Birds Directive. Objective 7.7 Co -operate with statutory and other relevant agencies to identify, protect and conserve a representative sample of the county’s wildlife habitats of local or regional importance, not otherwise protected by legislation. Objective 7. 8 Identify, protect and conserve, in co -operation with the relevant statutory authorities and other groups, vulnerable, rare and threatened species or wild flora and fauna and their habitats. These include plant and animal species afforded protection under the Wildlife Acts and the EU Habitats & Birds Directives. Objective 7.9 Retain where feasible and enhance important landscape features, such as lakes, rivers, wetlands, stonewalls, hedgerows etc, which form wildlife corridors and link habitats, where they provide, stepping stones necessary for wildlife to flourish. Objective 7.10 Integrate biodiversity considerations into all Roscommon County Council activities

Objective 7.11 Ensure that the conservation and management of biodiversity is a key priority in water resource management. Objec tiv e 7.12 Require that floodlighting proposals for historic structures are accompanied by a Bat Survey, carried out at the appropriate time of year by a suitably qualified person, so as to identify bat species present on the site and to specify mitigation measures required to ensure minimal disturbance to bats, if any, on the site. Objective 7.13 Seek to minimize light intrusion by having regard to impacts of floodlighting and public lighting in public/open spaces in or close to designated areas. Objective 7.14 Have regard to the recommendations of any national guidelines , which may come about during the lifetime of this plan, with respect to potential impacts on nature conservation, when considering development applications relating to activities; such as use of jet-ski’s and power boats on sites of nature conservation importance. Objective 7.15 Ensure that any development, which impacts on a townland boundary, roadside hedgerows or hedgerows which form links with other habitats and form wildlife

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014-2020 Page 184 Chapter 7: Natural Heritage and Landscape Character Assessment

corridors; should first seek to retain, translocate or replace with native species of local provenance, these hedges. The overall goal should be to have no net loss of the hedgerow resource 10 . Objective 7.16 The retention, re -location, or re -establishment of hedgerow s in planning consents shall be an aim of the Planning Authority for those seeking Planning Permission where feasible. Objective 7.17 Carry out a tree survey of the county to identify trees suitable for Tree Preservation Orders. Objective 7. 18 Commit to using native species where ever possible in its landscaping work and on Roscommon County Council property Objective 7.19 Assess applications for quarrying activity in proximity to eskers, having regard to the designated status of the esker and conserve them from inappropriate development. Objective 7.20 Seek hydrological reports for significant developments within and close to peatlands so as to assess impacts on the integrity of peatland ecosystems. Objective 7.21 Support projects which plan for future re -use of industrial cutaway bogs as sites for habitat creation, amenity use and economic use. Objective 7.22 Seek hydrological reports for significant developments within and close to turloughs so as to assess impacts on the integrity of the turlough system and associated groundwater levels. Objective 7.23 Support the work of the National Wetlands Wilderness Park committee 11 . Objective 7.24 Promote awareness and educational opportunities relating to wetlands in the county Objective 7.25 Ensure that the County’s wetlands are retained for their biodiversity and flood protection values. Objective 7.26 Ensure that where flood alleviation works take place the natural heritage and landscape character of rivers, streams and watercourses are protected and enhanced to the greatest extent possible. Objective 7.27 Encourage sensitive development, which does not lead to a loss of, or cause damage to, the character, the principal components of, or the setting of parks, gardens and demesnes of special historic interest and which are protected. Objective 7.28 In order to facilitate development, a condition of planning permission may include seed or cutting collection from rare plants surviving in a heritage garden or park, in order to facilitate survival of a rare species. Objective 7.29 To co -operate with the Department of Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht and other interested groups to facilitate the protection, promotion and enhancement of heritage gardens and parks in the county.

10 Roscommon County Council has successfully piloted hedgerow translocation on a site in Croghan. See for details. 11 Ref: A Long-Lived Wilderness – The Future of the North Midlands Peatland Network, John Feehan, 2004

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014-2020 Page 185 Chapter 7: Natural Heritage and Landscape Character Assessment


Inland waterways are canals, canalised sections of rivers and lakes, navigation channels in rivers and lakes, and their associated navigational features 12 . There are 8 inland waterways in Co. Roscommon, all of which are connected to the Shannon Navigation, these are indicated on Maps and listed in the table below. Table 7. 2 Inland Waterways in Co. Roscommon River Shannon Boyle Canal Jamestown Canal Carnadoe Waters Lecarrow Canal

These waterways have a rich built, natural and cultural heritage associated with them. The industrial archaeology of these inland waterways provides us with a means of learning about our past. The bridges, locks, lock keepers cottages, harbours and navigation markers found along the inland waterways represent engineering skills and workmanship dating from the 1700’s to the present day. Inland waterways provide a valuable habitat for many diverse species of flora and fauna. Their cultural value is represented in the local history of trade and commerce, also employment and traditions that each waterway brought to the towns and villages it passed through.

Nowadays, inland waterways have an economic value, in terms of tourism attractions with potential to generate revenue. They also have a quality of life value, valuable to locals and visitor alike. They provide access to places where people can walk along towpaths and enjoy the surroundings of the waterside.

12 A Methodology for the Preparation of County Heritage Plans, The Heritage Council 2001

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014-2020 Page 186 Chapter 7: Natural Heritage and Landscape Character Assessment

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014-2020 Page 187 Chapter 7: Natural Heritage and Landscape Character Assessment

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014-2020 Page 188 Chapter 7: Natural Heritage and Landscape Character Assessment

Policy for Inland Waterways Policy 7.7 Have regard to the recommendations set out in the ‘Waterways Corridor Study 2004 - A Study of the area surrounding Lanesborough to Shannonbridge’, Waterways Corridor Study 2004 - The Shannon River between Roosky and Lanesborough’ and the ‘Waterways Corridor Study 2005 – A Study of the area surrounding the Upper Shannon navigation down to Roosky, including the Boyle River, Lough Allen, Lough Key and the Carnadoe waters’ ( ) Policy 7.8 Safeguard and enhance riparian zones along waterways as well as canal towpaths where they occur in the interests of enhancing the public’s interface and enjoyment of these natural amenities.

Objectives for Inland Waterways Objective 7.30 Maintain and preserve the aesthetic value of inland waterways and the waterway corridors in the county from the impacts of dispersed and highly visible development. Objective 7.31 Support the growth and development of local communities within the inland waterway corridors whilst maintaining their distinctive character. Objective 7.32 Seek to enhance public access to inland waterways as a condition of any development granted along inland waterways.


Invasive species are species that have been introduced, generally by human intervention, outside their natural range and whose establishment and spread can threaten native ecosystem structure, function and delivery of services. Once introduced, control, management and eradication where possible of invasive species can be very difficult and costly; therefore early detection and reactive measures are desirable. The National Biodiversity Data Centre has established a National Invasive Species Database that will provide centralised up-to-date information on the distribution of invasive species in Ireland. This database will play a key role in recording, monitoring and surveillance programs. The National Biodiversity Data Centre also would encourage all local authorities to submit their data to the National Invasive Species Database to build a comprehensive picture of the knowledge of the species at a national and international level. Cognisance will be taken of Schedule 3, Part 1 and Part 3 (Non –native species subject to restrictions ) of S.I. 477 European Communities(Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011.

Invasive species identified as present in Co. Roscommon include Japanese Knotweed, Himalayan Balsam, Giant Hogweed, Rhododendron, Grey Squirrel, Zebra Mussel, Bloody –Red Shrimp, Parrot’s Feather, African Curly Waterweed and New Zealand Flatworm. Potential invasive species which have been identified are Muntjac Deer and Asian Clam. Absence of the record for a species in an area does not mean the species is not there just simply that a record of it has not been supplied to the Data Centre. Further details about invasive species are available from

Objectives for Alien Invasive Species Objective 7.33 Support initiatives, which reduce the risk s of invasions, help control and manage new and established invasive species, monitor impacts, raise public awareness, improve legislation and address international obligations. Objective 7.34 Implement conditions as appropriate, as part of a grant of a planning permission or a waste permit, to prevent spread of invasive species. Objective 7.35 Encourage the use of native species in amenity planting and stocking and related community actions to reduce the introduction and spread of non-native species. Objective 7.36 Investigate the development of a local authority staff code of practice (COP) in relation to invasive species where resources permit.

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014-2020 Page 189 Chapter 7: Natural Heritage and Landscape Character Assessment


Ireland, in common with thirty four other countries, has signed and ratified the Council of Europe’s European Landscape Convention (2000). The Convention came into effect on 1 st March 2004. It obliges us to implement certain types of policy changes and objectives concerning landscape. Section 10, Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended , requires that all Local Authorities consider ‘the character of the landscape’ when drawing up objectives for their county development plans, in the interests of proper planning and sustainable development. This process is known as Landscape Character Assessment (LCA). Characterisation is the first stage of the process. This involves identifying Landscape Character Types or distinct landscapes that exist within the county. These are then grouped or identified as Landscape Character Areas. The next stage of the process is to record the Landscape Value placed on the landscape character areas. Landscape Character Assessment was carried out for County Roscommon in 2008 and the complete assessment can be viewed on the Planning Section of .

Landscape Values

Thirty six landscape character areas have been identified. The landscape values presented on Landscape Character Assessment classifies each of the landscape character areas into one of the following four classes: Exceptional Value, Very High Value, High Value and Moderate Value.

There are two landscape classified as of Exceptional Value, namely the Tulsk and Rathcroghan Plateau in the centre of the county (LCA 28) and the Lough Key and Boyle River Network in the northeast of the county (LCA 16). Classification of the former area is greatly influenced by the cultural heritage significance of Rathcroghan, whereas the latter area is valued for its aesthetic and amenity qualities.

The Shannon System running along the eastern boundary of the county has been classified as of Very High Value, along with Boyle and (LCA 17) and the Arigna Mountains (LCA 14) and Lough Meelagh Drumlins (LCA 15) located in the northeast. The Shannon System is of high aesthetic and ecological quality and the other upland areas provide important scenic amenities.

The River Suck corridor running along the western boundary of the county is judged to be of High Value due to its amenity, ecological and aesthetic qualities. The Castlerea Raised Bogland (LCA 27) is valued for its tranquility as well as ecological importance, the Roscommon Town Hinterland (LCA 32) for its cultural heritage significance and Skrine Hill and Limestone Pavement (LCA 33) for its unusual geology.

All of the remaining landscape character areas have been classified as of Moderate Value. None of the landscape character areas are of Low Value.

Landscape Value Objective 7.3 7 Seek to minimize visual impacts on areas categorized within the Co. Roscommon Landscape Character Assessment including “moderate value”,” high value”, “very high value” and with special emphasis on areas classified as “exceptional value” and where deemed necessary, require the use of visual impact assessment where proposed development may have significant effect on such designated areas. Objective 7.3 8 Take into account the detailed landscape character analysis which forms part of the Lough Key Local Area Plan when assessing development proposals in this area. Objective 7.3 9 Monitor the significant environmental effects of the implementation of the Plan th rough SEA Regulations 2004-2011 and take account of the protection of Natura 2000 and ecological sites, of habitats and species of ecological value and of ecological corridors to ensure the coherence of the Natura 2000 network. Objective 7. 40 Seek to protect important views and prospects in t he rural landscape and visual li nkage between established landmarks , landscape features and views in urban areas.

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014-2020 Page 190 Chapter 8: Social, Community and Cultural Development


Community, educational and recreational facilities include a broad range of facilities such as childcare, schools, healthcare, libraries, playgrounds, sports facilities, burial grounds, museums, community tourism centres, community centres and heritage centres. These facilities are important for developing a sense of belonging within communities by providing opportunities for people to meet and greet, and get to know one another.

County Roscommon has a broad range of existing social and community facilities available to residents throughout the County. Facilities such as childcare, health and social infrastructure are fundamental to establishing communities and promoting quality of life, social inclusion, sustainable settlements, and must be provided as needed. In addition, adequate provision should be made for sport, recreational and other public amenities particularly in communities where there has been a significant increase in population.


‘People are living in poverty if their income and resources (material, cultural and social) are so inadequate as to preclude them from having a standard of living which is regarded as acceptable by Irish society generally. As a result of inadequate income and resources people may be excluded and marginalised from participating in activities which are considered the norm for other people in society’.

Social Inclusion is a key objective at national and local level. At a national level ‘Towards 2016’ proposes a ‘lifecycle’ approach to tackling poverty and social exclusion i.e. children, people of working age, older people and people with disabilities. The ‘National Action Plan for Social Inclusion 2007-2016’ sets out how the agreements under ‘Towards 2016’ will be achieved through targets and interventions. The lifecycle approach places the individual at the centre of policy development and delivery by assessing the risks facing him or her and the supports available at key stages of the lifecycle.

Roscommon County Council has a responsibility to promote social inclusion in all aspects of its activities and does this through the Social Inclusion Unit. The Unit (SIU) was established in early 2008 and is located within the Community and Enterprise department. The main objective of the Unit is to embed social inclusion policy and practice into the day to day operations of Roscommon County Council and also to work with other agencies involved in social inclusion to ensure a co-ordinated approach to service delivery.

A number of objectives have been identified for the Social Inclusion Unit by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; these include assisting the council to incorporate social inclusion into the corporate planning process, supporting the provision of enhanced customer services particularly for disadvantaged communities and promoting an awareness of social inclusion through staff training and the provision of information.

It is vital that we continue to recognise the importance of ensuring the level of community, recreational and cultural facilities are adequate to serve the needs and expectations of the local community. Access to education, health and community support services, amenities, leisure services and a good quality built environment are important for the creation of sustainable communities. We must focus on the most disadvantaged areas ensuring that those at risk of social exclusion have the opportunities and resources necessary to participate fully in economic, social, cultural life and enjoy a standard of living and well being that is considered normal in today’s society.

We must also continue to develop an openness to change and work together with other agencies and organisations to progressively overcome traditional barriers to co-operation. Regular monitoring and evaluation of progress against social inclusion targets and objectives is essential, together with service delivery that is accessible, flexible and customer centred.

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014–2020 Page 191 Chapter 8: Social, Community and Cultural Development

Social inclusion refers to policy which is designed to ensure that all people are able to participate in society regardless of their background or specific characteristics such as race, language, culture, gender, disability, social status, age and other factors. Compared to the general population, groups with such special characteristics are much more likely to face low education, unemployment, homelessness; and resulting poverty and social exclusion. 1 Social inclusion aims to achieve equality of access to services and goods for all, to assist all individuals to participate in their community and society, to encourage the contribution of all persons to social and cultural life, and to be aware of and challenge all forms of discrimination.

In addition, County Roscommon is served by the County Roscommon Community Forum. The role of the Community Forum is to provide a forum to facilitate the sharing of knowledge, experiences and learning opportunities throughout the community sector. The Forum provides a strong, independent voice for the community sector and ensures that there is informed community representation on legislatives structures including the County Development Board, proposed Socio Economic Committee, Joint Policing Committee, Strategic Policy Committees and Roscommon Leader Partnership Ltd.

Policies for Social Inclusion Policy 8.1 Promote equality of access to services and facilities and assist in the removal of barriers to full participation in society. Policy 8.2 Support and encourage the establishment of consultative structures, particularly those associated with the new Local Government and local development sector which will enhance and enable communities to engage in policy making. Policy 8.3 Continue to facilitate improved access to services and facilities for people with disabilities and the integration of ethnic-minority groups in the County. Policy 8.4 Promote the development of, and access to, public transport and safe pedestrian routes. Policy 8.5 Continue to promote the development of disadvantaged areas through the broad range of Council services, working in partnership with other agencies. Continue to work collaboratively with our partners on the RAPID structures in promoting the needs of the area which is the only RAPID designated area in County Roscommon.

Objectives for Social Inclusion Objective Identify levels of need based on disadvantage, and qualify and analyse the needs of 8.1 disadvantaged and marginalised people. Objective Support the preparation of an Age Friendly Strategy in County Roscommon during the 8.2 lifetime of the County Development Plan as resources permit.


One of the main aims of this County Development Plan is to provide a range of facilities throughout the County by making sure that there is enough land zoned in our Area Plans and Local Area Plans to cater for the population increase expected over the next six years. In saying this, it should be noted that the Council does not have responsibility for the delivery of certain community facilities such as schools and hospitals, and even though lands may be zoned in our plans for such facilities, we cannot guarantee that they will be delivered at the right time. In addition, while the Council promotes equal access to community facilities for all, for certain facilities to be financially and functionally viable, such as a swimming pool, library etc. there needs to be an enough people in the area to use the facility. Therefore the Council cannot guarantee the delivery of such facilities in every town. However, the Council will continue to work with those departments responsible for delivering community facilities, for example the Department of Education, in the preparation of our plans and the zoning of lands.

As well as providing enough zoned land in our plans for new community facilities, the Council also supports the use of existing buildings for the development of new community facilities. This includes the dual-use of existing community and public buildings, such as schools, as well as the use of vacant buildings including


Roscommon County Development Plan 2014–2020 Page 192 Chapter 8: Social, Community and Cultural Development vacant housing. The Council has successfully enabled community groups to lease a small number of vacant Council houses so that the community group can provide a range of community resource facilities within the local community. Schools and other educational buildings are a valuable resource in terms of land and buildings, and are generally only used on a part-time basis. Given the current economic climate and that the development of new community facilities is costly; the Council encourages the dual-use of these buildings when possible i.e. during school holidays and after school hours. The Council also supports the alternative use of vacant residential units and buildings for community, educational, health, tourism, commercial, retail, enterprise and cultural uses, as long as they are of a suitable scale and design, and will fit in well with surrounding uses, both existing and proposed (see Policy 5.47, Section 5.16 of this plan).

The Council also recognises that interest in allotments and self sufficiency has become more important in recent years due to the current economic circumstances as well as growing concerns for sustainability and the environment. The Council supports the development of larger vacant sites in our towns and villages for use as allotments and gardens. Allotments do not have to detract from any long-term goal for a site but can be temporary in nature in order that a site is not left vacant indefinitely.

Under the Planning and Development Act 2000-2011 the Council allocated funding for community facilities from the Council’s Development Contribution Scheme. In addition the Council has worked with community organisations to provide community sports and recreational facilities in local areas. Support for these initiatives may include leasing land, providing technical advice and support or liaising with other agencies on their behalf. Planned community projects include a community sports pitch at Clonown, ; a community sports facility in Lisnamult, Roscommon town; an astro turf pitch at Monksland, Athlone; and a community playground and park area at , Boyle. Projects which have been completed recently include a community allotments project in Ballaghaderreen; a wildlife and sensory community garden in Frenchpark and outdoor play area at the community preschool in Castlerea.

Policies for Community Facilities Policy 8.6 Ensure the provision of necessary community services and facilities, including those required by young people and teenagers as well as older people and those with special needs, by zoning suitably located lands and ensuring that adequate development levies are raised and used to provide the required facilities. Policy 8.7 Promote the retention of existing community services and facilities, particularly in disadvantaged areas; ensure that new services and facilities are provided concurrently with the construction of new development, are located near schools and residential areas, and are accessible to all sectors and multi-functional through their layout and design; and ensure, where practicable, that community, recreational and open space facilities are grouped together. Policy 8.8 Encourage the dual -use of existing educational and public buildings and lands for community facilities, as well as the use of vacant buildings. Policy 8.9 Ensure that community facilities are sited in suitable locations such as within residential/village centres or close to existing services and facilities, and public transport routes. Policy 8.10 Facilitate social inclusion and access for all to community services and facilities. Policy 8.11 Facilitate the development of allotments at suitable locations throughout the County. Any such facility should be located within or close to an existing settlement and should be easily accessible to the community. Policy 8.12 Promote the reuse of appropri ately sized vacant sites in our County’s towns and villages for the development of allotments, including temporary allotments.

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014–2020 Page 193 Chapter 8: Social, Community and Cultural Development

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014–2020 Page 194 Chapter 8: Social, Community and Cultural Development

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014–2020 Page 195 Chapter 8: Social, Community and Cultural Development

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014–2020 Page 196 Chapter 8: Social, Community and Cultural Development


Education has a vital role to play in developing sustainable and balanced communities. The location of educational facilities in an area can increase its attractiveness for business as well as for families. While the Council has no direct responsibility for delivering these facilities, this is the responsibility of the Department of Education and other educational authorities; we can make sure that enough lands are available in suitable locations to meet the likely future demands for education al facilities . As with other community facilities, this is done through the zoning of lands in our Plans .

TABLE 8.1 N EW EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES REQUIRED TO 2020 There are currently 94 primary New Primary New New Secondary schools and 8 Secondary Population places Primary places Town growth schools throughout County required Classrooms required 2 2014-2020 Roscommon (see Map 16). (12% of pop.) required* (8.5% of pop.) Having looked at the expected Roscommon Town 845 102 4 72 population growth during the Monksland 538 65 3 46 lifetime of this Plan, it’s likely that we will need up to 748 Boyle 367 45 2 32 new primary places and 531 Castlerea 300 36 2 26 new Secondary places in the Ballaghaderreen 271 33 2 23 County by 2020 (see Table 48 16 1 12 8.1). Assuming 28 students per Strokestown 109 13 1 9 classroom, this equals 27 new Hodson Bay 35 4 1 3 primary classrooms and 1 new Elphin 85 11 1 8 Secondary school. Although Rest of the County 3492 419 15 297 TOTAL 6200 748 27 531 existing schools in the County * Assuming 28 students per classroom may be able to meet the needs of some of these new pupils, it’ s likely that new schools or an extension to existing schools will be needed in Monksland /Bellanamullia , Roscommon Town, Boyle, Castlerea and Ballaghaderreen. The Council will therefore continue to zone lands for education al facilities in our Area Plans and Local Area Plans, particularly in these areas.

Although there are no third-level colleges located within County Roscommon, there are four third -level colleges within easy reach, these are Athlone Institute of Technology (IT), Sligo IT, Galway/Mayo IT and the National University of Ireland Galway. There are also many post -secondary opportunities available throughout the County through SOLAS and Vocational Educational Committee (VEC) sponsored programmes. It is the policy of the Council to promote and encourage the provision of third -level programmes in the County.

As well as primary, secondary and third -level education, early childhood care and education is very important . From birth, children learn rapidly, and studies show that experiences in their early years lay the foundations for later educational achievements. Early childhood is a key stage in children’s lives when they develop many skills that will be essential throu ghout their lives. E arly care and education, both inside and outside the home, is critical in shaping children’s lives. The early years are, in essence, the first stage of the education system. 3

For this reason, the government funds several National Child care schemes including an Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Scheme which provides a free pre -school year to all children in the year before they start primary school. The ECCE programme is designed to give children their first formal experience of early

2 At post-primary level, the Department of Education refers to the size of a building by the number of pupils it will cater for because the number of pupils, together with the curriculum to be delivered (which is school specific), will dictate the range and extent of specialist facilities to be provided. 3 Start Strong , 2011

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014 –2020 Page 197 Chapter 8: Social, Community and Cultural Development learning, the starting point for their educational and social development outside their home. This free pre- school year is available in most Early Childhood Care and Education Services throughout the County (see also Section 8.5).

Policies for Education Policy 8.13 Facilitate the development of primary, secondary and third -level educational facilities to meet the needs of the County through the zoning of suitably located lands for educational use in Area Plans and Local Area Plans, and by allowing such facilities on suitable sites in a range of zonings. Policy 8.14 Promote the location of new educational facilities within existing settlements, preferably near community facilities such as sports facilities, libraries etc. and public transport services, and close to or within the main residential areas in order to ensure that walking, cycling and public transport are suitable options. Out-of-town locations will only be considered in exceptional circumstances. Policy 8.15 Continue to l iaise with school authorities and with the Department of Education regarding the location and provision of adequate educational facilities. Policy 8.16 Limit new development in urban areas where necessary social infrastructure including, schools and community facilities are available. Policy 8.17 Schools should be located on easily accessible sites and applications for education developments will be expected to meet the Council’s Standards with regard to car parking, building design, landscaping and access for people with disabilities. These standards will be applicable whether the proposed development is for a new educational facility or an extension to an existing one. Policy 8.18 Facilitate the improvement of existing education and training services an d facilities, and the development of new ones, to ensure a suitably skilled local workforce and to eliminate educational disadvantage.


The World Health Organisation defines health as ‘a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’ therefore healthcare facilities can include anything from your local doctor’s office to mental health services, community and social welfare.

Responsibility for providing healthcare facilities in County Roscommon lies with a number of public, voluntary and private agencies. The Health Service Executive (HSE) is the main agency responsible for delivering health and personal social services in the County. However, as with other community facilities, the Council can help these organisations to provide a range of services by zoning suitable lands in our Plans and making sure that healthcare services are allowed on a variety of zones including residential zoned lands. The Council’s role in zoning lands is especially important as healthcare policy has changed in recent years from traditional hospital-based care towards community-based care. Certain health facilities and social services that would have traditionally been provided at major hospitals only, are now being provided from primary care centres or health centres within the community, making it easier for people to access these services locally. As many of these services and others such as day care centres, sheltered housing, family resource centres, youth work programmes, and residential care centres for children and those with disabilities, need locations that are easily accessible within new and existing communities, it’s vitally important that the right lands are zoned in the right locations.

There are six primary care facilities currently located in the County; these are in Roscommon, Boyle, Castlerea, Ballaghaderreen, Strokestown and Monksland.

Policies for Healthcare Policy 8.19 Facilitate the development, expansion and improvement of healthcare facilities, including community-based primary care facilities, to meet the needs of the County through the zoning of suitably located lands for community facilities in Area Plans and Local Area Plans, and by allowing healthcare facilities on suitable sites in a range of zonings.

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014–2020 Page 198 Chapter 8: Social, Community and Cultural Development

Policy 8.20 Support proposals for new healthcare services provided they are located in existing settlements and on sites which permit access for people with disabilities, are accessible to public and private transport, and are located close to or within walking distance of residential development. Policy 8.21 Co -operate with the HSE and other statutory and voluntary agencies in the provision of healthcare and other facilities and services for everyone in the County, but in particular those with specific needs such as older or young people as well as those with learning disabilities and special needs.

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014–2020 Page 199 Chapter 8: Social, Community and Cultural Development

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014–2020 Page 200 Chapter 8: Social, Community and Cultural Development

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014–2020 Page 201 Chapter 8: Social, Community and Cultural Development

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014–2020 Page 202 Chapter 8: Social, Community and Cultural Development


Increasing numbers of people in the workforce and changing lifestyles have increased the demand for childcare facilities in our communities. Over the past decade Government policy has recognised this as well as the importance of early childhood care and education. Through its Equal Opportunity Childcare Programmes 2000-2006, the National Childcare Investment Programme 2006-2010 and the current National Strategic Plan 2011-2013 Early Childhood Care and Educations Programmes (ECCE), the government endeavours to improve the quality of childcare services in all communities across Ireland, and to sustain the number of childcare places and facilities available. There are currently three National Childcare schemes in Ireland. They are: 1. The Free Pre-school Year in Early Childhood Care and Education scheme (ECCE) which is available in both private and community services. 2. The Community Childcare Subvention scheme (CCS) which is available in community services, including School Aged Childcare services. 3. The Childcare Employment and Training Support scheme (CETS) which is available in both private and community services, including School Aged Childcare services.

In County Roscommon, the Roscommon County Childcare Committee (RCCC) is the local support agency for ECCE services. RCCC supports the delivery of these national programmes on the ground on behalf of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) by identifying local childcare needs and supporting childcare providers in delivering high quality, accessible and affordable childcare in the County. A high quality childcare setting is important to ensure that early childhood development is appropriately supported. The RCCC publication, The Development of the Early Childhood Care & Education Sector in County Roscommon , 2011, shows a large increase in the number of childcare facilities in the County since 2002. RCCC currently supports 54 Early Childhood Care and Education Services, 22 School Aged Childcare Services, 34 Childminders, and 22 Parent and Toddler Groups. Early childhood care and education facilities in County Roscommon offer a range of services including full day, part-time and sessional services. RCCC offer advice and support not only to ECCE services, but also to parents on all aspects of early childhood care and education. They also work collaboratively with other agencies both locally and nationally to ensure that the child is at the centre of the National Childcare agenda.

Roscommon County Council will work in a collaborative and co-ordinated manner with Roscommon County Childcare Committee to identify local childcare needs and support opportunities provided through the various national childcare schemes. The development plan aims to improve the provision of childcare in the County by including policies and objectives in line with the Government’s ‘Childcare Facilities - Guidelines for Planning Authorities, 2001’ and by permitting childcare facilities to be developed on a variety of zonings within our Area Plans and Local Area Plans.

As well as the need for good quality childcare, play and recreational activities are essential in childhood. Opportunities for play have changed over the years due to a number of factors; changes to where and how we live; parents’ employment commitments, increased use of technology, and children attending childcare away from the home. As a result, more time is spent commuting to and from work, school and childcare meaning less time for play and recreation. In addition, increased traffic on our roads has meant that children’s play is very often indoor play with little or no opportunities for playing outdoors. For these reasons, and in line with Government Policy 4, the Council recognises the need to maximise opportunities for play in both the natural and built environments. The Council is also committed to consulting with children and young people in the development of play facilities in the County. The Roscommon Play Policy 2012-2014 was developed, in consultation with our children and other interested groups, to set out strategic objectives and actions to ensure that play and recreation is central to the lives of children and young people in County Roscommon. One of the main aims of the Play Policy is to maximise the leveraging of funding for play

4 Government policy includes the National Children’s Strategy: Our Children – Their Lives , 2000, and Ready, Steady, Play: A National Play Policy , 2004.

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014–2020 Page 203 Chapter 8: Social, Community and Cultural Development facilities a t a time of significant financial challenges. The Play Policy also promotes the continued development of public library services for children.

There are 12 playgrounds in County Roscommon run or assisted by the Council as well as planning permission for two new ones; one in Elphin and the other at Lough O’Flynn . There are also a variety of parks and amenity areas such as , Stro kestown Park House, and Mote Park .

Policies for Childcare Provision and Children’s Play Policy 8.22 Promote the location of childcare facilities in settlement centres, on sites which are convenient to public transport and pedestrian access as well as an essential part of residential schemes, places of employment such as industrial/business parks and in c lose proximity to or co-located within schools. Policy 8.23 Assess applications for childcare facilities in residential areas on the basis of their impact in terms of noise, loss of residential amenity, traffic generation and general disturbance. In general, the factors to be considered in determining a planning ap plication for a childcare facility will include proximity to public transport, the nature of the facility, numbers and ages of children, adequate parking for staff, and set down areas for customers. Policy 8.24 Liaise and consult with the Roscommon Count y Childcare Committee in relation to area plans and local areas plans as well as development management, as appropriate. Policy 8.25 Support the Roscommon County Childcare Committee in formulating policy to ensure the provision of affordable childcare throughout the County in line with national policy for the sector. Policy 8.26 All sections of Roscommon County Council to ensure the implementation of actions under the County Roscommon Play Policy. Policy 8.27 Support the development of stand -alone, outdoor play areas, in consultation with the Roscommon County Childcare Committee, subject to funding. Policy 8.28 Ensure that fully equipped playgrounds, to appropriate standards, are provided within all new housing developments of in excess of 20 units. Policy 8.29 Support the delivery of a ‘County Play Day’ 5 in County Roscommon in collaboration with the Roscommon County Childcare Committee , the Department of Health and Children and local agencies.


Open space, including playing fields, parks, gardens and informal open spaces, are not just important for sport and recreation but also provide valuable green areas for wildlife corridors and habitats, act as buffers between conflicting land uses, enhance visual amenity, especially in urban areas, and contribute to the health and quality of life of our communities. Sports and recreational facilities, as well as open space, are important resources that must be protected in order to meet the needs of current users and fu ture generations.

One of the main functions of this Plan is to protect existing facilities and open space . In this regard, it’ s crucial that important green areas, open spaces, walks along cana ls/rivers/lakes, greenbelts sports and other recreational facilities are identified and mapped so that they can be protected, and so that locals and visitors

5See information on National Play Day at

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014 –2020 Page 204 Chapter 8: Social, Community and Cultural Development

can be made aware of them. Public open spaces must be maintained and those facilities such as Loughnaneane Park in Roscommon Town must be retained. It is also very important that enough land is reserved for future needs in our Area Plans and Local Area Plans, and that development control standards ensure that recreational facilities and open space are provided as part of new development and in line with population growth. The Council also supports the provision of high quality sports centres, public spaces and parks throughout the County in order to provide people with opportunities for outdoor recreation within relatively easy reach of where they live and work. In relation to providing public facilities, the Council’s development contribution scheme will enable some support for the provision of public open space throughout the County.

In addition, County Roscommon has a dedicated Sports Partnership unit to help co-ordinate and promote the development of sport and physical activity at local level. In order to do this they have developed a Strategic Plan 2007-2012 6 which sets out specific targets and objectives in relation to: ° Increasing participation in sports and physical activity for all people at all stages of their lives; ° Promoting training and development for those involved in sports and physical activity and their clubs; ° Increasing good communications through enhancement of website, newsletter and use of media. ° Promoting the best use of resources, sourcing additional resources and making best use of opportunities that arise.

The Council supports the development of sports facilities within local communities and has facilitated the development of sports facilities at Monksland and other locations. Sports facilities are vital in encouraging people to get involved in sports and attract more visitors to the County. Life-long involvement in sports and activities has significant health benefits also. The Council has given long-term leases of land to community groups in Clonown, Monksland and Roscommon town in order for them to develop large-scale sports facilities which will be available to the wider community. These communities are currently seeking funding for these initiatives through Roscommon Leader Partnership and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport.

Policies for Sports, Recreation and Open Space Policy 8.30 Ensure the provision of necessary sports and recreational facilities as well as open space, particularly for young people, older adults and those who are disadvantaged or marginalised, by zoning suitably located lands and ensuring that adequate development levies are raised and used to provide the required facilities. Policy 8.31 Ensure that sports and recreational infrastructure, including public open space, is provided as an integral part of new development in line with the needs of the development. There is flexibility to provide this infrastructure on or off site where appropriate, or as a development levy to enable the Council to make alternative provision. Where it is proposed to develop residential zoned lands that are linked to or dependant on the amenity of other lands zoned for recreation and amenity purposes, the recreational lands must also be made available. Such development applications shall detail how this availability will be achieved including a timeframe. Policy 8.32 Ensure that public open space provided as part of new development is of high quality, designed and finished to ensure its usability, security and cost efficient maintenance. Existing healthy trees should be retained where possible and developers are encouraged to plant trees and hedgerows that are native to the area. Policy 8.33 Provide for the sports and recreational needs of the County by upgrading and maintaining existing facilities and providing for new facilities at appropriate locations as needed. All facilities should be designed with flexibility in mind so that they are multi-functional and ensure maximum usability by a variety of groups and members of local communities. Facilities should be widely accessible and appropriately located where they can best meet the needs of all sections of the community that they are intended to serve. The Council will work with

6 This plan has yet to be updated .

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014–2020 Page 205 Chapter 8: Social, Community and Cultural Development

community groups, sporting organisations and clubs to ensure the widespread availability of facilities. Policy 8.34 Discourage development which would result in the loss of public or private playing fields, pitches, parks, children’s play space, recreational facilities, amenity open space or land zoned for recreational or open space purposes. An exception may be considered where one or more of the following requirements are demonstrably met: ° There is a clear excess of playing fields or open space provision within the area. This should take into account the long-term needs of the community as well as the type, recreational/amenity value and accessibility of such provision. ° Alternative compensatory provision is made which is both accessible to and of equal or greater quality and benefit to the community served by the existing open space. ° The continued use, proper maintenance and enhancement of the amenity/facility can best be achieved by the redevelopment of a small part of the site that will not adversely affect its overall sporting, recreational and/or amenity value of the facility. ° The site is indicated for an alternative use in the area plan or local area plan. ° Only where it is clearly established that open space i.e. gardens, informal open spaces and playing fields are no longer required for their original purpose and where the Council has considered the need for other forms of recreational and amenity open space in the locality, will it permit alternative development proposals. Many existing areas of open space are of considerable value and are therefore worthy of protection in their own right. Policy 8.35 Support the provision of facilities for young people an d teenagers in the County including sports and recreation facilities, youth clubs and supervised places.

Objectives for Sports, Recreation and Open Space Objective 8. 3 Work with community groups and local organisations to maximise funding for sporting and recreational facilities throughout County Roscommon. Objective 8. 4 Implement the Council’s Development Contribution Scheme as it relates to the improvement of existing recreation and leisure facilities and the funding of new recreation and leisure facilities in tandem with new developments. Objective 8. 5 Preserve and enhance , insofar as practicable , the existing and reputed public rights of way to recreational areas including, mountain, lakeshores, riverbank areas, heritage sites and other places of recreational utility , in accordance with the sustainable management practices and the overall amenity of these areas and where necessary to establish new ones in co-operation and consultation with landowners and the local community. See Map 19 which identifies some of these accesses. Objective 8. 6 Identify strategic locations where public open space and parks should be provided, so that they are useable by a large proportion of the local community and so that they facilitate the enjoyment of other amenities such as rivers, lakes, canal, picturesque landscapes, views or features of our natural heritage, or to retain areas of ecological interest and biodiversity value.

8.7 TOURISM AND OUTDOOR RECREATION (see also Section 3.6)

Roscommon is justifiably renowned for history and heritage with popular attractions such as Rathcroghan, Lough Key Forest Park, Arigna Mining Experience and Strokestown Park House. These together with the County’s natural heritage, where there are some fabulous walking and cycle routes are in place add greatly to the tourism product. The development of tourism is of paramount importance to the economy of County Roscommon. Roscommon County Council together with LEADER and Fáilte Ireland and the Community are working together to develop tourism. 7

Roscommon County Council devised a Tourism Strategy in 2010 which continues until 2014. The DRCDP takes cognisance of this strategy and all future updates as appropriate. The overall objective for the Tourism

7 See for detailed information on tourism in County Roscommon.

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014–2020 Page 206 Chapter 8: Social, Community and Cultural Development

Strateg y has been defined as “To increase by 50% the contribution made by tourism to Roscommon’s economy in the next five years for the period 2010 -2014”. Although ambitious this objective is achievable when put into context of the national revenue generated thro ugh tourism, albeit in a time of economic uncertainty. The Tourism Strategy sets out how the overall objective will be achieved through identifying a suite of actions to be undertaken in three strategic objective areas. The key areas have been identified a s: 1. Governance: Governance – clarifying roles, organisation, management and working with people 2. Selling Roscommon: Selling Roscommon – product development, events , activities and packaging 3. Access to the Countryside: Access to the countryside and signposting – physical access and way -finding

A comprehensive Action Plan has also been developed. County Strategic Objectives under each of these headings have been put in place and ar e being implemented. 8

8.7.1 Walking and Cycling

Roscommon is justifiably renowned for walking and has some fabulous walking and cycle routes (see Table 8.2 and Map 17 below). There are also a number of walking clubs in the County including the Walking Group, the Suck Valley Wa lkers, the Boyle C urlew Walkers and the Ballaghaderreen Mountaineering and Walking Club. Apart from walking and cycling , other land based recreational activities such as horse riding, wildlife bird-watching and other appropriate non noise generating activities will be encou raged.

In 2000 t he number of overseas visitors walking and hiking in Ireland was 685,000. The Foot and Mouth scare in 2001 saw numbers reduce dramatically in the following years and only in 2009 did visitor numbers increase beyond those seen in 2000. 9 In addition, Ireland saw a rapid decline in the number of overseas cycle tourists visiting the Country between 2000 and 2005 10 with cycle numbers falling from 130,000 in 2000 to 60,000 in 2005. However since then the number of walking and cycle tourists has increased steadily .

TABLE 8.2 WALKING AND CYCLING TRAILS IN COUNTY ROSCOMMON Medium/Long Slí na Sláinte walking Heritage/Historical walking trails Medium/Long distance walking routes • Mote Park distance cycle routes • Derrylahan Loop, Cloonfad • Boyle Historical Walking Trail routes • • Roscommon Town • Bog Walk • Kingfisher • Miners Way and • Lough Key Forest Park • Rinn Duin Castle Looped Walk • Green Heartlands Historical Trail • Strokestown • Rinn Duin or Warren Point Looped Walk • Táin Cycle Trail Since 2009 government policy 11 has taken a new approach to travel and transport in Ireland including the promotion of a culture of walking and cycling as viable alternatives to car travel for shorter journeys; the aim being that by 2020, 10% o f all trips will be by bicycle. Although, g iven the rural nature of County Roscommon, walking and cycling are unlikely to play a major role as alternatives to car travel 12 , from a tourism perspective the development of walking and cycling trails can help to attract visitors to an area as

8 See for a full copy of the Tourism Strategy . 9 Fáilte Ireland Statistics and Walking in the West, Western Development Commission, May 2005. 10 A Strategy for the Development of Irish Cycle Tourism, Fáilte Ireland, March 2007 . 11 Smarter Travel: A sustainable Transport Future, and The National Cycling Policy Framework 12 See Section 4.2(B) Infrastructure

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014 –2020 Page 207 Chapter 8: Social, Community and Cultural Development well as encouraging local enterprise such as bicycle renting, walking and cycling tours, and walking festivals. Also, as well as having many health benefits, from a local perspective walking and cycling are important as cheap, non-polluting and flexible ways of getting around for those living in or close to our towns and villages.

At a national level, Government policy has identified the need to support and encourage all types of cycling including recreational and tourist cycling, in particular the development of recreational routes in and around our towns which in turn link to rural areas. The National Roads Authority (NRA) has identified potential routes for a National Cycle Network 13 (see Map 18) and funding has been made available for a number of projects including 20km of dedicated cycle lanes along the old between Athlone and Ballinasloe which is due to be completed in October 2013.

At local level improvements are required to be made to walking routes throughout the County. Cycle paths also need to be provided along public roads where possible. Cycle routes should be designed in adherence with best practice and utilising experience from other locations and should incorporate speed limits and speed constraint measures. The lowering of speed limits and prioritisation of passage of pedestrians and cyclists over motorised transport may be considered in tourist areas in the interests of road safety. In addition, every effort should be made to avoid anti social behaviour in secluded and unsupervised laneways through the provision of public lighting and appropriate layout and landscaping. The Council also supports the development of a Walking Festival including a programme of walks, cultural and social events in order to attract visitors and celebrate the diverse landscape and heritage of County Roscommon.

In addition, the Council will maintain existing and reputed rights of way as per Planning Acts and create new ones as appropriate, in order to promote the greater use of amenity areas. The Council may also seek to incorporate provision of pedestrian ways as a condition of planning to link amenities, facilities and points of interest.

All existing and reputed rights of way indicated on Map 19 will be investigated further within 6 months of the adoption of this Plan together with the following routes: • The Old Springwell Road, • Cloonakilla to Bealnamullia, • Aghagad, • Cloonshade • Ardsallaghmore

Policies for Walking and Cycling Routes Policy 8.36 Develop, provide , improve extend, safeguard , preserve, support encourage an d facilitate the creation of a network of cycling/walking routes (including existing footpaths and walking routes, off road routes, local walks, tourist walks, medium and long distance walking routes), well marked and maintained public rights of way, green corridors to provide access to mountain lakeshore and river features, particularly where these have a historical association. Recognise the potential of walking and cycling as an amenity for local people and a tourism resource in opening up diverse landscape and to support the development of walks and cycle routes which consider local need and economic potential as well as the development of bicycle renting, walking and cycling tours. All such development will be subject to the Habitats Directive Assessment where appropriate and/or other relevant environmental assessment. Policy 8.37 Encourage walking and cycling as sustainable transport modes and healthy recreational activities by ensuring that a network of safe, well-marked and maintained rights-of-way, walking and cycle routes, and footpaths are provided in mountainous, lowland and tourist areas and throughout the County. Policy 8.38 Support and promote National Programmes to develop walking and cycle routes including the Irish Trails Strategy, the National Cycle Policy Framework 2009-2020 and the National

13 National Cycle Network Scoping Study, August 2010, Smarter Travel/NRA

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014–2020 Page 208 Chapter 8: Social, Community and Cultural Development

Cycle Network as well as supporting the development of local routes identified in the Council’s Area Plans and Local Area Plans. All such development will be subject to the Habitats Directive Assessment where appropriate and/or other relevant environmental assessment. Policy 8.39 Actively encourage the use of off -road routes, such as disused railway lines and bridle paths for the development of medium and long distance walking and cycling routes as well as the development of linkages between existing and new trails, particularly those with a historic association in adjoining counties, in co-operation with Inland Waterways, Fáilte Ireland and with other relevant stakeholders to provide linkages with trails in adjoining counties in partnership with their councils. Policy 8.40 Promote cycle and pedestrian -friendly development layouts, infrastructure and facilities in all new development and require that new development is designed to integrate into a cycling network linking with adjoining development areas and schools where appropriate. Policy 8.41 Preserve and protect walking routes and cycleways, such as those identified in Table 8.2, by prohibiting the intrusion of development along these routes particularly those in scenic areas; the impact of the proposed development on those routes will be taken into account in order to protect the integrity of these important recreational and tourism resources.

Policy 8.42 Provide, promote, encourage, improve and extend the network of cycle lanes and pedestrian routes on existing roads, proposed roads and road being up-graded to provide safe and convenient routes for pedestrian (including footpaths) and cyclists. Cycle routes should be designed using current thinking and the best practice from experience in other locations, lower speed limits and priority over motorised transport to ensure road safety for pedestrians and cyclists.

Objective for Walking and Cycling Routes Objective 8. 7 Establish a register of all walking and cycle routes within the County. Objective 8. 8 Commence the process of mapping rights of way in the County during the lifetime of this Development Plan.

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014–2020 Page 209 Chapter 8: Social, Community and Cultural Development

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014–2020 Page 210 Chapter 8: Social, Community and Cultural Development

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014–2020 Page 211 Chapter 8: Social, Community and Cultural Development

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014–2020 Page 212 Chapter 8: Social, Community and Cultural Development

Figure 8.2 National Cycle Network

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014–2020 Page 213 Chapter 8: Social, Community and Cultural Development

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014–2020 Page 214 Chapter 8: Social, Community and Cultural Development

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014–2020 Page 215 Chapter 8: Social, Community and Cultural Development

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014–2020 Page 216 Chapter 8: Social, Community and Cultural Development


The management and maintenance of the public owned burial grounds in the county is the responsibility of the Roscommon County Council. This includes acquiring and developing lands for burial grounds and the delineation, sale and licensing of burial plots. Funding is also granted to voluntary groups to upgrade and maintain cemeteries through an annual Cemetery Improvement and Maintenance Scheme within the resources available

The County Roscommon Graveyard Survey 14 was carried out in 2005 and identifies 287 graveyards around the County, including those not currently in use. Approximately over one third of these graveyards are in the ownership of the Council. The remainder are in church ownership or are located on private land. Over half of the graveyards are on the Record of Monuments and Places (RMP) and are protected under the National Monuments Act 1930-2004. These graveyards contain structures and burials from the earliest phases of Christianity up to the present, and some have associated churches, mausoleums, vaults or other structures which are on the Record of Protected Structures (RPS). Some 40 graveyards are on the RPS and are protected under the Planning and Development Acts because of their architectural or other value (see Chapter 6 Heritage). All works on these graveyards must be carried out in accordance with National Conservation Guidelines and will require consultation with the Council and the correc t permissions before any works can be carried out.

Lands have been acquired at Athleague, Caldra and Kilronan for the development of graveyard extensions. The development of these locations will be carried out in the timeframe of this Plan. Further extens ions will be provided if necessary within the resources available.

Policies for Burial Grounds Policy 8.4 3 Provide, or facilitate the provision of, new burial grounds and extensions to existing burial grounds to meet the needs of the County through the zoning of suitably located lands for community facilities in Area Plans and Local Area Plans, and by allowing burial grounds on suitable sites in a range of zonings. Policy 8.4 4 Encourage the development of burial grounds to take account of cremation and ‘green lawn’ principles to promote more efficient use of land and to facilitate maintenance. Policy 8.4 5 Promote the establishing of burial ground committees and assist them in the appropriate maintenance and management of burial grounds. Policy 8.4 6 Pro tect the cultural and natural heritage of historical burial grounds within County Roscommon and ensure their management and maintenance is in accordance with the principles of best conservation practice. Policy 8.4 7 Notify the National Monuments Service, Department of the Arts, Heritage & Gaeltacht, as required under the National Monuments Acts. In addition, condition recipients of cemetery grant aid from Roscommon County Council to comply with statutory requirements relating to burial grounds. Policy 8.4 8 Ensure that appropriate archaeological assessment is carried out in relation to any works to burial grounds which are designated National Monuments, in accordance with the requirements of the National Monuments (Ame ndment) Act 2004.

14 The County Roscommon Graveyard Survey can be viewed on the Council website or in the County Library, Roscommon Town.

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014 –2020 Page 217 Chapter 8: Social, Community and Cultural Development


The protection of life, property and the environment by the efficient and effective prevention and control of fires and other emergencies are the main objectives of the Fire Service.

The primary legislation and statutory basis for the Fire Service is the Fire Services Act 1981. It directs both fire fighting and fire prevention and comes under the control of the Minister of the Envir onment, Community and Local Government.

Roscommon County Council maintains six brigades: Castlerea, Elphin, Roscommon, Boyle, Ballaghaderreen and Strokestown. In addition, Athlone Town Council provides this service, by Agreement, in the southern part of the County. The oldest Fire Station in the County is Elphin which was bui lt in 1980, and th e newest is at Circular Road in Roscommon Town which was completed in 2007.

Policy for the Fire Service Endeavour to continue to develop and improve the services provided on an ongoing basis Policy 8.49 through the provision of a high standard of fire services.


As well as being a centre for knowledge and learning and a resource for culture, tourism and the imagination, the public library is a vital community facility providing public space in the community and acting as a stepping stone for access and social inclusion .

Roscommon County Council’s Librar y Service is responsible for delivering an active public library service which provides for the cultural, education, recreation, information and learning needs of people of all ages throughout the County. The Library Service strives to provide and develop a comprehensive, quality , modern and accessible service through its six branches and its Mobile Library Service. The Library provides a wide range of services such reading and learning services, access to archives and local studies, internet access and children’s and schools library service and also participates in national and international events such as World Book Day, Heritage Week, Summer Activities Programme and Children’s Book Festival.

The continued development of library services in the County is set out in the Library Services Development Plan 2011-2014: The Next Chapter. This plan supports the economic, cultural and social development of County Roscommon through the integration of services at local level and aims to provide and develop a comprehensive, quality, modern and accessible library service for people of all ages in the County. The Plan sets out a number of objectives and actions under the following headings: • Infrastructure; • Management and Resources; • Access and Social Inclusion; • Marketing and Promotion; • Information Communication Technologies; • Reading and Learning; • Children’s and Young People; • Customer Care and Focus; • Archives and Local Studies; • Monitoring and Review

Policy for the Library Service Support, develop and improve library services in the County on an ongoing basis through the Policy 8.50 provision of a high standard of library services .

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014 –2020 Page 218 Chapter 8: Social, Community and Cultural Development


County Roscommon has a lot to offer in terms of arts and cultural facilities. There are three arts venues owned by the Council, which are either arts venues or have the arts as a core function; these are the Roscommon Arts Centre in Roscommon Town, King House in Boyle, and the Interpretive Centre in Portahard, Frenchpark. There are also a number of other non-arts buildings throughout the County that host arts events occasionally such as Strokestown Park House, Clonalis House and Castlecoote House and the Angling and Conference Visitor Centre in Athleague. In addition, each year many local communities organise events throughout County Roscommon as part of Heritage Week with the aim of building awareness of our built, natural and cultural heritage thereby encouraging its conservation and preservation as well as acting as a draw for tourists.

King House in Boyle, with its interpretive Galleries and Museum hosts a full programme of events during the season April-September. This includes visual art, music, children’s events, cinema, lectures and workshops. Boyle Arts Festival takes up residence in King House from late July with their visual art programme continuing throughout August. The house is also home to the Boyle Civic art Collection, widely considered as one of the finest collections of contemporary Irish paintings and sculptures. The Connaught Rangers Association aims to keep alive the memory of those soldiers of the regiment who fought in wars around the world with its museum, to honour this famous home of the Special Reserve Battalions of the Connaught Rangers.

Roscommon Arts Centre is a vibrant, purpose built arts space, which is committed to presenting a dynamic and ambitious multi-disciplinary programme of events that creates and develops audiences for the arts and contributes to local arts development in County Roscommon. It provides opportunities for the local community to actively engage with a range of artforms through participatory and performance-based activities. It presents work by professional and community based artists in theatre, dance, music, comedy and literature, along with a programme of Irish and world cinema in the auditorium space. Roscommon Arts Centre hosts the Roscommon Drama Festival, a nine day drama festival organised by the Roscommon Drama Festival Committee each March. Roscommon Arts Centre recognises and supports the artist’s role as being central to the artistic process and wish to develop our support to artists at all stages of their careers through increased opportunities at the centre.

The Council actively supports and promotes the development of a range of creative activities in the County by providing greater opportunities and access to arts events, workshops and information and expertise, as well as encouraging greater appreciation and participation in the arts for people of all ages and backgrounds. Our Arts Office provides information, advice and assistance to a wide range of people including artists, arts groups, arts festivals/event organisers, venues, amateur and community arts groups, schools and other local and national public bodies. The Arts Office runs a number of independent programmes as well as some in association with other partners, including art@work, Artists in Schools, Writer in Residence, Culture Night, Douglas Hyde Conference, Visual Arts Programme, Artists Workspace programme, the Percent for Art Programme, as well as the Roscommon County Youth Theatre and the Roscommon County Youth Orchestra. The Arts Office also provides a range of grants and bursaries including the Individual Artist Bursary and the Tyrone Guthrie Centre Residency Award. As well as developing programmes and providing funding, the Arts Office also develops policies in relation to the various aspects of the arts. The Roscommon County Arts Plan 2009-2012 sets out policies and objectives for the promotion of a wide variety of arts and participation in the arts and is supported by RCC.

A new arts plan is being developed in 2013, which will reflect Roscommon County Councils new approach to the arts. This model will integrate the arts programme with other local authority services that are closely linked to the arts. By collaborating internally and developing partnerships with other agencies, and integrating services there is undoubtedly a bigger impact for the arts sector and the wider community. The Council is enthusiastic about the development of the new arts plan for the county, introducing new programmes, continuing with existing success stories and evaluating on an ongoing basis the different initiatives. In keeping with national policy, there will be strong emphasis on the arts and education and programmes for engaging with schools will be developed.

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014–2020 Page 219 Chapter 8: Social, Community and Cultural Development

The Council considers that all areas as they develop should have an artistic element, be it through imaginative architecture, design of the public realm or through for example quality landscaped open spaces.

There is currently no interagency body, board or committee advising or managing the arts in County Roscommon. Roscommon County Council manages a proactive and vibrant arts programme; however, there are potential synergies to be achieved through establishing a multi-agency approach to the arts. The potential impact of the arts on areas such as mental health, social exclusion and rural enterprise could better be exploited through a multi-agency, partnership approach. The Council proposes exploring the establishment of an arts planning committee for the County, which would work through the proposed Social Economic Committees under the new structures being proposed under the Reform of Local Government. The Council permits the development of arts and cultural facilities on a range of zones in our Area Plans and Local Area Plans.

A new artists workspace is being developed in the grounds of King House, Boyle as part of the refurbishment and reprogramming in King House with the aim of providing the best possible environment for working visual artists and, where feasible, to enable a level of subsidy for resident visual artists. To the artists this will offer access to a workspace, a space to exhibit work and have the benefits of a workspace and gallery without year round management/overheads. It is hoped that over the coming years this workspace programme will include exhibitions, artists residencies, workshops, training, research, master classes, talks, symposia and additional projects that explore the local landscape and alternative and sustainable models of arts practice. It will support creativity, innovation and excellence in the productions, practices and display of contemporary visual arts. It will advance the skills and knowledge of traditional and contemporary art making. Public access, participation and engagement with the arts will be increased.

Policies for Arts and Cultural Facilities Policy 8.5 1 Support the implementation of objectives contained in the County Arts Plan. Policy 8.5 2 Continue to enhance the public domain and provide for artistic elements in towns and villages, in new and existing development by encouraging the use of the ‘Percent for Art Scheme’ and other initiatives. Policy 8.5 3 Support the development of artistic tourism throughout the County including the facilitation of new festivals and other events including ‘rainy day’ events for visitors such as exhibitions, musical entertainment and theatre.

Objective for Arts and Cultural Facilities Objective 8. 9 Work with Fáilte Ireland, the Arts Council and other relevant bodies to promote and develop the arts and tourism sectors in Roscommon.

Objective Develop accessible infrastructure to support the development of heritage, arts, sport and 8.1 0 tourism, where appropriate and as resources permit. Objective Develop a cultural plan for the County to include arts, sport, heritage, tourism and 8.11 language. Develop a plan to utilise artists, performers, sports personalities and friends of Roscommon to promote Roscommon at home and abroad. Objective Promote and develop the County Arts Centre; and explore the development of cultural 8.1 2 infrastructure (fixed and mobile) for the County. Objective Continue the integration of the arts, culture and heritage programmes in order to 8.1 3 promote synergies between these programmes to better benefit the County. Develop an inter-agency approach to arts planning by incorporating the arts, culture and heritage brief into the proposed Socio Economic Committee structure.

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014–2020 Page 220 Chapter 8: Social, Community and Cultural Development


Museums are not for profit institutions that collect, safeguard, hold in trust, research, develop and interpret a collection of original objects on loan for the public benefit. They function publicly as places where people learn from and find inspiration and enjoyment through the display and research of original objects.

There are many local museums and heritage centres around the County including the following: 1. The Derryglad Folk Museum in : An award-winning museum with over 2,000 items on display dealing with farm and folk life in Ireland. 2. Hell's Kitchen Museum & Bar in Castlerea: This is a Railway Museum which includes a collection of bells, lamps, shunting poles, signal equipment, staffs and station boards. It is a treasure-trove for enthusiasts and anyone interested in by-gone days (this museum is currently closed). 3. The Claypipe Visitors Centre: This museum is located in , the village famous for over 250 years for the production of the tobacco clay pipe, or duidin. 4. Roscommon County Museum: Roscommon County Museum is located in The Square, Roscommon Town in an attractive former Presbyterian church and its manse. It is offset by its lawn and unique “Star of David” window. The church, which was built in 1863 was renovated in 1991 and now displays items such as a ninth century inscribed slab from St. Coman’s foundation, Church Street, a replica of the which the inscription states was ‘made at Roscommon’; a superb example of a ‘Sheela-na-Gig figure. 5. Rathcroghan Visitor Centre (Cruachan Ai Heritage Centre): Cruachan Ai Heritage Centre, in Tulsk, Co. Roscommon brings to life the Rathcroghan complex – an area with over two hundred archaeological sites.

Policy for Museums Policy 8.54 Maintain and expand cultural activities and services throughout the County.

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014–2020 Page 221 Chapter 8: Social, Community and Cultural Development

Roscommon County Development Plan 2014–2020 Page 222