Roche Castle

Updated: Jul 23



Castle Roche is a picturesque ruin of a Norman castle located in the town-land of Castleroche, Louth.


It was the seat of the De Verdum Family, who arrived to the area in the 1100s. The castle originally called "Castellum de Rupe" (meaning Castle on the rock) is believed to have been constructed in 1236.   




It was strategically built on top of this rocky hill for its panoramic views of the surrounding lands and close proximity to the border between Gaelic Ulster and the Anglo-Norman region the "Pale"






The castle itself was three stories tall and enclosed in a triangular walled ford with a twin-towered gatehouse. It was two-thirds protected by a steep cliff-like edge while the rest had a rock-cut ditch and drawbridge.




The story begins with Rohesia da Verdun, granddaughter of Bertram de Verdum (the first of the de Verdum's to arrive in Ireland.) On the death of her husband in France she moved to Ireland and on arrival decided to fortify her land with a castle. However her contrary and irritable personality left many builders deterred from designing her castle. She subsequently made an offer where; he who could build a castle to her satisfaction would have her hand in marriage.


Of course, one such architect braced for the challenge, was successful and the couple were married. However on their wedding night, in an attempt to protect her newly built castle's secrets (but more likely to protect her wealth and property) she invited her newlywed husband to the castles master bedroom where she stood by the large window. On approach, he turned to kiss her, where she pushed him through it, to his death. It is said that his ghost still haunts the ruins to this day. That same window is now known as the murder window.


Not long after, Rohesia is believed to have become a nun and died in a local priory in 1247. Her son Theobald is said to have completed much of the alterations to the castle which we can see remanences of today.


The second most interesting period of this castle was a little over 300 years later where a gathering took place of all English forces in 1561. 86 years later and the castle was finally flattened during the conquest of Cromwell.


© 2020 by Lance Kerrigan.