Local historians on St. Coman and that troublesome sign…

Two well-known local historians are in agreement that a sign, which incorrectly associates the Dominican Abbey in Roscommon Town with St. Coman, needs to be replaced once and for all ­­– for the benefit of locals and tourists alike.

  As reported in last week’s Roscommon People, historian Noel Hoare, who this week publishes a major book on St. Coman, says local students have, for many years, grown up thinking that there is a link between St. Coman and the Dominican Abbey.

  He says a sign, located near to Abbey Boys National School, has led to understandable confusion over the years.

  Mr. Hoare says he expects the sign in question to be replaced soon.

  Now, a fellow historian and friend, John Kerrigan, has moved to address any confusion there may be about his teaching over the years.

  Mr. Kerrigan says he wishes to clarify that in the countless talks and tours he has given over the years, he has always made it clear that there is not an association between Coman and the Dominican Abbey site.

  He makes the point that, as far back as 1998, in a booklet entitled ‘The history of St. Coman’s Church’, he made it clear that St. Coman’s Abbey can be confused with the Dominican Abbey (see relevant extract alongside).

  Anxious to avoid any inference that he, in his work as a historian, may have misled students, Mr. Kerrigan offers the passage from the 1998 publication as evidence of his long-standing consistent position on the issue. 

  We hasten to add that Mr. Hoare did not directly implicate Mr. Kerrigan or any other individual when seeking to address this ‘historical’ misunderstanding in respect of Coman and the Dominican Abbey.

  Mr. Kerrigan says that he too wants to see the misleading sign replaced.

  Mr. Hoare, meanwhile, says that in his book on St. Coman – published this week – he has acknowledged that Mr. Kerrigan believes the present site of St. Coman’s Church is where Coman established his church, and not the Dominican Abbey.

  Mr. Hoare has also confirmed that he expects Roscommon Town Team to be successful in having the ‘misleading sign’ replaced and that, when this happens, John Kerrigan is to be acknowledged as the person who spearheaded the campaign to have a new sign erected.

  • ‘Remembering St. Comán – Patron Saint of Ros Comáin’ was launched in Gleeson’s Townhouse, Roscommon last night (Wednesday) and is now on sale (price €20). Proceeds are going to Rural Men’s Groups in County Roscommon and to Join Our Boys.

What John Kerrigan wrote…18 years ago

In 1998, historian John Kerrigan wrote: “St. Coman’s Abbey was founded on the Rule of St. Augustine, hence the monks attached to the Abbey of Roscommon were known as Canons Regulars of the Order of the St. Augustine. St. Coman’s Abbey can be confused with the Dominican Abbey, still standing a few hundred yards away, to the south, at the bottom of Henry Street. This Abbey was founded in the year 1253 by Phelim O’Connor, King of Connaught.”