Castleroche, Louth, Ireland

Castleroche commands an amazing view from its rocky outcrop of surrounding Armagh and Louth being as it is almost situated on the border. The ruins of this 13th century castle are striking in appearance and unusual in that its almost triangular in shape, built I imagine to make best use of the vantage point over the surrounding countryside. The castle was originally built to protect the Anglo-Norman colony in Louth from the Irish in South Ulster. The castle was originally built by Rohesia De Verdun in 1236 however most of the fortified remains today were built by her son John.

An interesting story surrounds the building of the house. After the death of her first husband Rohesia de Verdun returned to Ireland and set about fortifying the castle. She was known for being very quick tempered and all local architects were deterred from working with her based on these rumours. She offered her hand in marriage as a means of getting the castle built and one local man took her up on the offer. When the architect came to claim Rohesia’s hand in marriage, she pushed him out of a window where he fell to his death in the moat below.. The window was known from that day on as ‘the murder window’ and was bricked up from the inside. In later life Rohesia became a nun and went to live in Grace dieu Priory in Leictestershire.

The castle stayed in the de Verdon family for many years, and a hosting of all English forces in Ireland took place here in 1561. The castle was finally laid to ruin in 1641 during Cromwell’s Irish conquest.

GPS: 54.04653, -6.48862

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