The Baronry of Rossmore was created in 1769 and Robert Cunningham, an MP for Monaghan Barough from 1769-1796 became the first Baron. Following his death, his wife’s nephew, Warner Westenra, succeeded the title. It was he who commenced the building of Rossmore Castle and his son, Henry Robert, completed it. Only the buttresses to the castle walls and the entrance stairway now remain providing a viewing point to the surrounding countryside. Examples of a wedge tomb and a court tomb dating back to about 3000 – 1800 BC exist within the park. A gold ‘lunula’ or collar, dating from 1800 BC was discovered in the park around 1930 and is on display in the National Museum, Dublin. A walled garden was developed as a ‘formal garden’. Its main attraction is the yew hedges and arched walkways of trained shrubs.
Look out for
A special feature of the park is the rhododendron and azalea display, which is at its colourful best in early summer. Rhododendron was introduced into Europe from Asia Minor in 1763 for its attractive flowering display and for the shelter it offered to game birds.
Many of the original estate trees still remain, notably Scots pine, cedars and a monkey puzzle. The main avenue to the car park displays several large Sierra or giant redwoods while an avenue of yew trees runs a full 460 metres from the walled garden to the mausoleum in the graveyard.
Mammals in the park include otters, badger, fox, hedgehog and pigmy shrew. Five of Ireland’s seven species of bat are to be found in the locality. There is a large residential population of birds and migrants such as wildfowl increase this collection in winter, and warblers, swallows, cuckoo and flycatchers in summer. The park also displays interesting communities of plants and the lake and rivers encourage a great variety of insect life.
Forest and lakeside walks; nature trails; viewing points; picnic areas and a car park.
Rossmore Forest Park is located 3.5km south west of Monaghan Town on the R189 to Newbliss.
From 8am (Daylight hours).
Rossmore Golf Club, Monaghan Valley Pitch & Putt Club, County Museum, St Louis Heritage Centre.