Roscrea Heritage Centre – Roscrea Castle and Damer House Highlights (5)
The first thing you’ll see on entering the Damer House is the magnificent eighteenth-century staircase sweeping down into the hall. Just to the right of this fabulous edifice is our visitor centre. There you can enjoy visual presentations about ancient monasteries, Anglo-Norman castles and eighteenth-century townhouses. You can buy all sorts of medieval gifts and toys and get sorted with a ticket for the guided tour.
Your guide will tell you all about St Crónán, who built his monastery here in the seventh century, and accompany you across the courtyard to the fine twelfth-century Anglo-Norman castle. The castle has lots of memorable features, including the basement dungeon, the spiral staircase leading to the great hall with medieval fireplace and garderobe, and the drawbridge connecting the castle with the town. Some extraordinary medieval items are on display on the very top floor.
This pre-Palladian house has rooms furnished in eighteenth-century style with period furniture. You can experience what it was really like to live in a place like this 300 years ago. The structure of the house itself gives fascinating insights into the times. There was a separate staircase for servants, for example, and high windows in the kitchen to prevent them from seeing into the world outside. Many fine portraits, religious artworks and hunting scenes are displayed here also.
Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Kelly Collection, which consists of a host of personal items, letters, schoolbooks and farming artefacts belonging to the Kelly family, who lived in rural Ireland up until the early twentieth century.
There is a spectacular twelfth-century high cross in the Black Mills, just a short walk away from the castle. Find out how St Crónán set up a monastery here all those centuries ago. Other striking features of the site include the western gable of the twelfth-century gable and a ninth-century round tower. Your guide will accompany you to the upper floor of the tower so that you can savour the fantastic view of the monuments outside.