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Roslea

 

Roslea is a small town in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.  Just across the border from Southern Ireland's Monaghan and Clones (home to the one time lightweight world Boxing Champion, Barry McGuigan), "The Clones Cyclone").  It's now spelled Rosslea but I prefer the traditional local spelling.  I have seen Roslea spelled in various ways in records and documents, such as Roslaith, Rosleigh. Roslaith was the Gaelic form whereas Rosleigh is probably phonetic. It's a good idea to bear this in mind for other placenames during research. Other surrounding towns are Smithborough (also known, to the locals, as Smithboro), Scotstown and Fivemiletown.

       I live in London, England but have been visiting Roslea since I was a very small child and have always regarded it as my second home. The hospitality of the people there is amazing, not only from my family there but from everyone I have come into contact with. When you live in London it can be quite unexpected the sense of community and time people have for each other. Quite refreshing I can tell you. I would recommend anyone who is visiting nearby to stop off there and see for themselves.

       If you're travelling from Monaghan, on the Monaghan Road, into Roslea, you'll come across Annashanco (once my grannie and father's home), on the hill (right hand side of the road). Keep going to the bottom of the hill on the other side and you have Springrove Lane on the left, just before the forest (also on the left). Keep going and you'll soon see The Roslea Heritage Centre on your right, just next to St. Tierney's Chapel. If my memory is correct, there's a school on the left just before or after the small petrol station/shop. 

            Most of my research in Ireland is in Roslea and the neighbouring townlands in Monaghan. At a later stage, I will start to tackle my ancestors on my mother's side. For a detailed townland map of Clones Parish and surrounding Parishes, click here

Here are some old postcard photos, and photos of Roslea, most of which were sent to me recently by Monica, who is researching her McCabe and Connolly ancestors in Roslea and Scotstown areas. She has kindly allowed me to put them on my site... Thank you so much for these Monica! I'm sure many will appreciate looking at Roslea the way it used to be. If you have any old or new photos of Roslea and would like me to put them up, please feel free to send them to me along with any details you have.

 
 
Roslea
A great picture postcard looking in on Roslea. If you hover over the image I have added an up-to-date version taken from google maps street view to show what it looks like now. I have looked around and the google image is the only one I can come up with that looks anything like the old image. If you think this is wrong and can identify a more probably place, please let me know.
 
Picture Postcard of Main Street, Roslea. If you hover over the image I have added an up-to-date version taken from google maps street view to show what it looks like now.
Roslea
 
Roslea
Picture Postcard of St. Tierney's Church, Roslea.
 
This photo was taken of a house on the outskirts of Roslea. The man standing in the photo is John Shields. If you recognise the house or the name, I'd be glad to hear from you.
Roslea
 
Roslea
This photo was taken in 1976 of Cannon McGlone's Stables.
 
This is a photo of Joseph McCabe standing at the front of Cannon McGlone's stables in 1976. It so happens that the stables are on the same site as the Chapel School. If you look below you will see how the school looked back in about the 1940s.
Roslea
 
This is a photo of the lake at Cannon McGlone's home in 1976.
 
The Chapel School in Roslea
Roslea  
This is a photo taken some time around the 1950s or 60s in Main Street, Roslea.   This photo was donated by Monica McCabe. It was taken in 1997 by her brother on a visit to Ireland and it has Canon McGlones Stables written on the back. If anyone recognises this place it would be great if you could tell us exactly where this place is situated.

For some Aerial photos of Roslea, taken by Gordon Dunn in 2007 go here


 

***NEW....Roslea Church Records ....NEW***

Another Roslea researcher, Owen Clerkin, whose ancestors come from Crockada and Derryneese, has written a great poem called "The Leaving of Roslea" It's an ode to all those who left Roslea for U.S. shores. It's my pleasure to have it on my website.

The same Owen has also written a song called "Townlands of Roslea" (to the tune of the famous Johnny Cash hit, "Forty Shades of Green"), in which he pays a lovely tribute to his ancestral names and townlands. Very talented is our Owen!!


Some Roslea History

At some stage I will attempt to give a little of the history of Roslea, using and quoting various sources. For now, anyone with connections to members of the B Specials (a spin-off of the R.U.C.) may want to see this photo of the Roslea Platoon taken in 1926 and the list of names of the people in the photo. These photos were very kindly donated by another Roslea ancestry researcher, George Lunt.

From The Fermanagh Story - "ROSLEA (Ros Liath): The grey wood. Roslea's population in 1841 was 414, in 1961 it was 203. This little village has made the headlines in the Fermanagh Story on many occasions during the last 200 years/ It was one of the first strongholds of Orangeism in the county and at the same time one of the first centres of the United Irishmen. Its peace was often disturbed in succeeding years by faction fights and parades. It took a leading role in the fight for Catholic Emancipation and Repeal. It housed famous meetings during the land war in 1883. It contributed more than its fair share to the war of independence. In recent years terrorists have attacked Roslea R.U.C. station on several occasions.


Lewis (2nd edition, 1847) described Roslea as follows:

‘The place is romantically situated near the celebrated mountain of Carnmore, in a fine meadow district, several townlands of which are rich pasture land, especially those of Lisnabrick and Salloo, where vast numbers of oxen are annually fed for the English market. The village consists of one irregularly built street, containing 79 houses, and is connected with a new line of road on the mountain from Enniskillen to Belfast, by a bridge over the river Finn. Carnmore mountain is a lofty elevation, rising 1034 feet above the sea, and abounds with wild and romantic scenery: from its summit there are seen 32 lakes, including Lough Erne; and its deep glens are inhabited by a numerous class of peasantry, of singular habits, and great originality of character.’”

 


 

I am in the process of putting together a short story of a Roslea man Michael Joseph McCabe who was born in Derrylea in the Monaghan portion of Clones Parish. He was born in 1892 in the area of Scotstown and in the early 1900s began working for Canon McGlone, who was the Parish Priest for St. Tierney's Church in Roslea. Michael's Grand-daughter has kindly donated a lovely photo of him taken around the time he would have worked for Canon McGlone, and also some tape recordings he made later on in life where he tells of his leaving Ireland for Canada in 1913.