Boyle is a town of 2,600 people (2016) in County Roscommon. Boyle is located at the foot of the Curlew Mountains near Lough Key in the north of the county. Carrowkeel Megalithic Cemetery, the Drumanone Dolmen and the popular fishing lakes of Lough Arrow and Lough Gara are also close by.
In 1599, English and Irish forces fought the Battle of Curlew Pass in the Curlew mountains during the Nine Years' War. The English were ambushed and routed while marching through a pass in the Curlew Mountains, and the English forces suffered heavy casualties. The Queen's principal secretary rated this defeat (and the simultaneous defeat of Harrington in Wicklow) as the two heaviest blows suffered by the English in Ireland.
In 1917, the Irish nationalist Sinn Féin party won its first ever seat in parliament for the constituency of Roscommon North, centred on Boyle, with the election of George Noble Plunkett. Plunkett's son, Joseph Mary Plunkett, had been executed by the British in May 1916 for his association with the 1916 Rising. Michael Collins campaigned on the candidate's behalf, as did Michael O'Flanagan, who later became President of Sinn Féin. A plaque on the courthouse, on The Crescent in Boyle, commemorates this. This was the first by-election following the Easter Rising of 1916.
- N4 Dublin - Sligo Road.
- N61 Athlone - Roscommon - Boyle Road.
Boyle is on the Dublin Connolly - Sligo intercity line.
- The town is linked to the River Shannon navigation system via the Boyle canal, the River Boyle and Lough Key.
Car, walk or cycle.
- King House. Roscommon County Council, recognising the historical, architectural and cultural importance of King House, began the restoration project in 1989. Using skilled artisans and local craftsmen employing traditional techniques and materials, all three floors and the basement have been restored. Of particular note are the main entrance gallery with its tripate windows and original fireplace, the extensive vaulted ceilings on all floors and the main salon which is in use once again as a venue for recitals and banquets. Since 1788, when the King Family moved to Rockingham, the house has been used as a military barracks - recently by the Irish Army but originally by the Connaught Rangers who fought bravely and with honour until, while in India, they heard of the atrocities being committed back in Ireland by the 'Black and Tans' and mutinied. The other rooms in the house are used for temporary exhibitions and these are open to visitors, usually at no extra charge. In The Kings of Connaught exhibition visitors are led through a series of tableaux and encouraged, with interactive pieces, to experience life as it was in the house and in the locality. The displays, ranging all over the floors, cover four main themes: The Kingdom of Connaught (from the earliest recorded times showing the importance of the clans and their kings), the King Family (meet the families who lived in the house from Sir John King who came to Boyle in 1603 to the fascinating accounts of life, both for the family and the staff, at Rockingham Estate, now Lough Key Forest Park), the Restoration (a room has been left partially-restored so that visitors can see the fabric of the house and with the aid of photographs and models see the skill and craft employed in the building and restoration), and the Military Usage (from 1788 to recent times)
- Boyle Abbey. The Cistercian abbey was founded in the 12th century under the patronage of the local ruling family, the MacDermotts and is one of the best preserved in Ireland. It was colonised from Mellifont in 1161. The building of the chancel and the transepts with their side-chapels probably began shortly after this date, though the lancet windows in the east gable were inserted in the 13th century. There is a combination of rounded and pointed arches in the transepts and crossing. The existing large square tower formed part of the church from the beginning, though it was raised in height at a later stage. The five eastern arches of the nave and their supporting pillars were built at the end of the 12th century, and have well-preserved capitals typical of the period. Although built at the same time, the arches of the northern side of the nave are different in type, and have differently shaped columns and capitals. The three westernmost arches in the south arcade which have leafed and figured capitals, were built after 1205, as was the west wall, before the church was finally consecrated in 1218. Nothing remains of the cloister, but on the eastern side there are two doorways of c.1200, now blocked up. On the west side there is a two-storey gatehouse, which acts as an interpretative centre. The rest of the buildings surrounding the cloister are largely 16th or 17th century. The Abbey was one of the most important in Connacht, and was invaded by Richard de Burgo, Maurice Fitzgerald, and Justiciar, in 1235. In 1659, the Cromwellians occupied the monastery and did a great deal of destruction. Though mutilated during the 17th and 18th centuries when it was used to accommodate a military garrison, Boyle Abbey is one of the best preserved structures of its type, and attracts many thousands of visitors per year. A restored gatehouse 16th/17th century vintage houses an exhibition. The abbey is now a national monument in state care and admission is free while restoration work is being carried out. There is a Sile na Gig hidden above one of the central Romanesque arches in Boyle Abbey. It can be seen from ground level, just at the top of the column, where the arch begins.
- Lough Key Forest Park. Situated just off the N4 is Lough Key Forest Park, a parkland area that has been revitalised by an addition of a Visitor Center and Activity Facilities, including Boda Borg, a puzzle solving activity centre which is a Swedish concept originally unique to Ireland but now has locations in Sweden and plans to expand worldwide. The park covers 800 acres (3.2 km²), and used to be part of the Rockingham estate. This was the seat of the Stafford-King-Harman family who at the end of the nineteenth century "owned" over 30,000 acres (120 km²) in north County Roscommon and County Sligo. Rockingham House was designed by Nash in the early 1800s for the English landlord John King. It was remarkable due to its dome front and 365 windows. Rockingham House was suspiciously destroyed by fire in 1957, after which it was taken over by the Irish Land Commission. Declared as unsafe in 1970, it was demolished. You can still see the remnants of the house in the park to this day such as its two 'tunnels' (which allowed the staff to unload provisions from boats and bring them to the house unseen). These tunnels are still accessible to this day. The Moylurg Tower which will give you a spectacular view of the lake, was built on the original foundations of Rockingham House. In the town park, known locally as the Pleasure Grounds behind King House stood a statue of William of Orange, this was pulled down and destroyed by locals in 1945 with the base of the statue remaining there to this day, reflecting the turmoil of that era of Irish History. There are many interesting islands on Lough Key. Castle Island is a well-known visual icon of this area. Trinity Island contains the ruins of a chapel, linked to the Cistercian monastery in the town. There are two trees growing on the island with interlinked branches, said to mark the graves of Una Bhan Mac Diarmid and Tomás Láidir Mac Coisdealbhaigh, two ill-fated lovers, celebrated in the poem Una Bhan.
- Abbeytown Bridge. The 5-arch bridge across the Boyle river close to the Abbey, known as Abbeytown Bridge. Also built in the late 12th Century, it could well be the oldest surviving stone bridge in Ireland. It has been widened but still carries a 5-ton load.
- Drumanone Dolmen. The Drumanone Dolmen is just west of the town. It is a site of Irish and indeed European historic archaeological significance. Find it by taking the R294 for 5 km (3 miles) from Boyle. Continue under an overhead railway bridge and, on your right, there is a gate into a field. This field is privately owned and one should seek permission before entering. The dolmen should only be accessed with care via the gates at the railway crossing provided by Iarnrod Eireann.
- Boyle Arts Festival. This renowned festival is a highly regarded event, considered the best small-town arts festival in Ireland. The Summer event is now in its 21st year and has established an impressive reputation for excellence. The festival has been the winner of several national awards and welcomes new and innovative contributions. Events include a major art exhibition of works by contemporary Irish artists, classical and traditional music, poetry, drama, lectures and children's events.
- UFO Society. The UFO Society of Ireland was founded in Boyle by the late Betty Meyler. Considered a UFO hotspot, Boyle hosts annual events on the subject.