Boyle Historic Town Walk
King House Boyle Roscommon Republic of Ireland
About this listing
Boyle’s heritage could fill a book. This Roscommon town is home to a 12th Century abbey, the King family’s magnificently restored Georgian town house and one of the oldest stone bridges in Ireland. It even has a sprinkle of stardust, Hollywood actress Maureen O’Sullivan was born here in 1911.
Standing at the foot of the Curlew Pass, Boyle grew up in its current form around the stately Georgian mansion, King House. Its origins go back much further however. Boyle was considered the road centre of the ancient kingdom of Moylurg. The town cradles the ruins of a 12th century Cistercian monastery and legend even suggests St. Patrick fell into the river nearby!
Today’s heritage trail begins at the 18th Century King House, built for the wealthy landowner Sir Henry King and later used as a military barracks by the Connaught Rangers. Recently restored, King House is today home to a brilliant series of interactive history displays, giving visitors the chance to bang drums, write with quills and even try on an old chieftain’s cloak.
Boyle Abbey was the first successful foundation of the Cistercian order in Connaught and boasts an interesting mix of Gothic and Romanesque features. After the dissolution of the monasteries, it served as a fort and came to be known for a time as Boyle Castle.
Other stops on the trail include Frybrook House, dating from 1750 and the Shambles, an old market yard with a triple arched entrance gate. Boyle’s 12th Century bridge is one of the oldest of its kind in Ireland and its 19th Century railway station evokes the golden era of railway travel.
Boyle has a sprinkle of stardust too. Maureen O’Sullivan (the Hollywood actress who played Jane to Johnny Wiesmuller’s Tarzan) was born in a house on Main Street in 1911. She returned for a visit in 1988 to unveil a plaque at her birthplace.
Boyle has a super reputation as a trout and course fishing centre and visitors may also enjoy a stop off at the nearby Lough Key Forest Park. The grounds of the old Rockingham estate are home to a tree canopy, spooky old servants tunnels and an adventure play kingdom.