Roscommon Author Douglas Hyde

Roscommon Author Douglas Hyde

The library holds special collections of local interest

Douglas Hyde Collection
Douglas Hyde Interpretative Centre

Douglas Hyde was was born at Longford House, Castlerea, Co. Roscommon in 1860 and was one of the county's most accomplished writers.The Family lived in Frenchpark from 1867 and it was here that Hyde developed his interest in the Irish language He was conferred with a B.A. from Trinity College, Dublin in 1884 and was awarded the Gold Medal in Modern Literature. He received an L.L.B. in 1887 and an L.L.D. in 1888. He was co-founder of Conradh na Gaeilge, the Gaelic League, with Eoin MacNeill in 1893. The aim of the orgaisation was "to keep Irish the spoken language in Ireland" and there are now over 200 branches in Ireland, England, North America and Australia. He published many works in Irish and English under the pen name "An Craoibhin Aoibhinn". His works include the play Casadh an tSú gá in (The Twisting of the Rope) and Love Songs of Connacht. From 1909 until 1932 Hyde was Professor of Modern Irish in the National University of Irelandand was nominated to the Senate by É amon de Valera in 1937. In 1938 he became the first President of Ireland.

Roscommon County library holds a comprehensive collection of his works as well as photographs, letters and personal items. The Douglas Hyde Interpretative center, pictured above, is located in the church in Tibohine, Frenchpark, where his father, the Reverend Arthur Hyde, Jr., was rector (1867-1905). He died in 1949 at the age of 89.

Percy French Collection

Roscommon Author Percy French

Cover of the score of "The Mountains of Mourne" by Percy French

William Percy French was born on May 1st, 1854, the son of Christopher French and Susan Percy, in Cloonyquin, Co. Roscommon. He was educated at home by a tutor and later attended school in England. He entered Trinity College School of Engineering in 1872 and it was while at university that he began performing at private parties. He began writing songs, dramas and took up painting. After graduating he took up the post of Surveyor of Drains and Engineeer to the Board of Works in Cavan in 1881. During the following seven years, he wrote "Come Back Paddy Reilly", "Phil the Fluther's Ball" and "The Mountains of Mourne". In 1878, he moved to Dublin and became editor of "The Jarvey", a weekly comic paper. In 1891 he produced a successful musical comedy with Houston Collinsson.

He married Ettie Armitage Moore in 1890 but she died the following year. He married Helen Sheldon in 1894 and had three daughters, Ettie, Mollie and Joan. He performed songs, sketches and stories as part of his solo performance and painted landscapes. In 1910 he toured Canada, the USA and the West Indies with Houston Collinsson. He became ill and died in 1920 and is burried in St. Luke's Cemetry in Formby. A memorial to Percy French is located near his ancestral home at Cloonyquin, Elphin, Co. Roscommon.

In Glenveigh Castle, Co. Donegal, he signed the visitor's book as follows:

"Remember me is all I ask, and yet
If the remembrance be a task - forget!"

Crofton Family Papers

The Crofton Family were decended from John Crofton who was Queen Elizabeth’s Escheator General of Ireland from 1576-1597. He arrived in Ireland in 1565 with the Earl of Essex and acquired land in Roscommon, Leitrim and Sligo. The Croftons are decended from William Crofton of Lisdorne, Co. Roscommon, the great-grandson of John Crofton. Mote Park House, the home of the Crofton family in Roscommon, was built in the 1770s or 1780s by John Crofton (1740-1813). It was the built on the site of a castle built in 1627. The house was owned by Sir Edward Crofton, the nephew of John Crofton, (1778-1816) and the architect Richard Morrisson designed the extension for him which more than doubled its size adding six bays and an extra storey. Mote Park was destroyed by fire in May 1865 and was rebuit with several modifications. It was completely destroyed by the 1960s and only the ruins remain today. The library holds a colllection of materials relating to the Crofton Family in Roscommon.

Local History Files in Roscommon County Library

The library holds a collection of local history files covering different aspects of the history of county Roscommon
County Roscommon

County Roscommon