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St. John’s Parish Heritage Group - Pride of Place 2012. St. John’s Parish Heritage Group is a voluntary, community based organization from Lecarrow in South Roscommon. Founded in July 2002 with the aim of promoting and developing local heritage in it’s widest sense, the Group celebrates it’s tenth anniversary in 2012. On 5th July the Group hosted the judges in Pride of Place 2012. Roscommon County Council entered Rindoon and The Warren Loop Walk in the Cultural Tourism category. The context of the work at Rindoon and it’s association with the Warren Loop walk was first explained to the judges in a thirty minute presentation in St. John’s Community Centre before the judges were brought on a guided tour of the site. Rindoon is situated on a peninsula on the western shore of Lough Ree about nine miles north of Athlone. The surviving remains constitute one of the most important complexes of Medieval monuments in Ireland. In 1227 Toirdelbach Ó Conor and Geoffrey Marisco erected a castle here on behalf of King Henry III of England. The town was also founded about this time. At its height, the population is estimated to have been about 1000 people, a considerable number, for the period. (The population of London at the time was approx 20,000. The equivalent today would make Rindoon the second largest city in Ireland). During 2007 and 2008 plans for conservation works at Rindoon were drawn up by St. John’s Parish Heritage Group and plans for a looped-walk were begun. Following preliminary discussions with Roscommon County Council work began on the looped-walk in 2009. A grant from Fáilte Ireland, along with local funding allowed a National Looped Walk (known as the Warren Loop Walk) to be installed around the shores of Rindoon. The walk was officially opened in April 2010 and has attracted significant visitors to South Roscommon. At the launch of The Rindoon Management & Conservation Plan in March a figure of 6,500 visitors during 2011 was mentioned. This would put Rindoon on a par with Boyle Abbey (6,800 visitors in 2011). Once described as “Camelot on the Shannon” – Rindoon was destroyed, ruined and forgotten in less than 150 years. Now one of the most important medieval town sites in Ireland has found a new lease of life. Six hundred and fifty years after it was destroyed and forgotten a looped walk has been constructed which has opened up this tranquil farmland peninsula to the interested visitor. From a few dozen academic visitors a year in 2007 to 6,500 visitors in the year 2011, Rindoon is a cultural tourism treasure, just waiting to be explored. St. John’s Parish Heritage Group are grateful for the opportunity to thank all those individuals, organizations and businesses that have helped us provide, maintain and promote this wonderful amenity. The Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs and Minister Jimmy Deenihan TD, The Department of the Environment, The Board and staff of The Heritage Council, The Irish Walled Towns Network and The National Parks and Wildlife Service. Roscommon County Council. David Sweetman, Ivor McElveen, Blackwood Associates, Rainey Conservation Ltd., Kilduff Construction Ltd. and P. Coffey & Sons, Lecarrow. Katriona Byrne, Ciaran Mullooly and Ronan Carley. Richard and Liz Collins of St. John’s Guesthouse. The officers and members of St. John’s Parish Heritage Group. The people of St. John’s and especially P.J. Grady, the landowner, without whose wholehearted co-operation the project would never have happened.

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