Castle Roche guide: History & visit info

Your handy guide to the vital information about Dundalk’s Castle Roche.

Castle Roche guide: History & visit info.

Just outside Dundalk, you’ll find the Anglo-Norman structure, Castle Roche. An important point in the divide between Ulster and the Pale, Castle Roche is steeped in both Irish and private history.

The castle was built back in 1236, and the ruins that stand today tower above nearby Dundalk from their hilltop.

We’ve compiled this handy guide on everything you need to know for visiting Castle Roche.

Ireland Before You Die’s top tips for visiting Castle Roche:

  • There is no path to the castle, and the ground may be uneven, so we recommend appropriate walking footwear.
  • It is a mere 15-minute drive from Dundalk. Be aware that there is no car park; should you choose to park your car on the road, you do so at your own risk. A taxi from Dundalk won’t cost much.
  • Bear in mind that this is private land. If you do decide to park your car, do not block any gates. Furthermore, close any gates you open behind you.
  • The ruins are outdoors, so come prepared for the very changeable Irish weather.
  • The ruins are close to Louth’s border with Armagh. Should you cross the border, you may need to consider currency. The Republic of Ireland uses the euro, while Northern Ireland uses the pound sterling.

Ireland Before You Die’s fun facts about Castle Roche:

  • Lady Rohesia de Verdun built the castle in 1236.
  • Legend had it de Verdun offered her hand in marriage to the builder. On their wedding night, she supposedly pushed her new husband to his death from a window in the castle to protect its secrets.
  • The window is now blocked up and is called the Murder Window.
  • De Verdun subsequently became a nun in Leicestershire. Her son Theobald took over Castle Roche and added to the structure that his mother had commissioned.
  • The structure controlled the passage between Gaelic Ulster and the Pale (an area including Dublin and Louth ruled by the Anglo-Normans).
  • The de Verdun family owned it for many years before it was ruined during Oliver Cromwell’s invasion of Ireland in 1641.

What’s nearby

Food: Callans Bar and Restaurant (pub grub), An Café Brew (café), Lennon’s (gastro pub), Europa Restaurant (fish and chips)

Drink: Castle Bar, Fitzpatrick’s, The Spotted Dog, Windsor

Hotels: Hotel Imperial (four-star), Ballymascanlon Hotel & Golf Resort (four-star),  Gleneven Guesthouse (three-star)

Other attractions: County Museum Dundalk, Proleek Dolmen, Stephenstown Pond

Your questions answered about Castle Roche

Who lived in Castle Roche?

Castle Roche was the seat of the de Verdun family.

What is the purpose of Castle Roche?

Castle Roche served as a strategic stronghold between the Gaelic province of Ulster and the Pale. It controlled the passage into what is now South Armagh.

Who built Roche Castle?

Roche Castle was built by Lady Rohesia de Verdun in 1236.

Contact and more info

Address: Roche, Co. Louth, Ireland

For enquiries, get in touch with the Dundalk tourist office:

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Address: Magnet Rd, Townparks, Dundalk, Co. Louth, Ireland

Phone: +353 42 9352111

Email: [email protected]

Website: https://dundalktown.ie/

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