The earliest references made to the Franciscan order in the town dates to 1470, but there are differences of opinion regarding who founded the Friary, and when exactly it happened.
The most probable founder was Maolruany na Feasóige, who died in 1443. Another theory, however, attributes its foundation to Maolruany O’Carroll, whose tomb, dated 1523, alludes to his involvement in the establishment of the Friary, or at least part of it. Records dealing with the Franciscans in Roscrea are unfortunately scant. Following the dissolution of the monasteries in the 1540s the Friary was granted to Thomas, 10th Earl of Ormond. The friars continued to live in the monastery, but they were finally driven out in 1579. It then fell into ruin.