Roche Castle is located in Ireland, northwest of Dundalk. It was built by the Verdun family in 1236 as part of the Norman conquest of Ireland that began in 1169.
Bertrum de Verdun arrived in Ireland for the first time with Prince John, son of Henry II, before he became king. John had been declared Lord of Ireland by his father in 1177, though he didn’t arrive in Waterford until 1185, at which point Verdun was granted lands and built his first castle. John’s visit did not go well, mostly because John managed to offend all the native Irish leaders by laughing at their looks and promising his Norman barons their land. In addition, he developed an antagonism for Hugh de Lacy, who held the Lordship of Meath and was the most powerful Norman in Ireland. The Verduns managed to navigate these allegiances successfully for centuries, in part perhaps because their castle was positioned strategically on the frontier overlooking a pass into South Armagh, between territory controlled by the native Irish and the Pale, the area of eastern Ireland the Normans had conquered.
The castle was ruined by Cromwell, but the gatehouse, outer bailey, and inner curtain wall remain. Castle Roche means ‘castle of the rock’, and it is still situated in a somewhat remote location with spectacular views of the surrounding landscape.
Robbie Bruce and James Stewart visit Castle Roche in Outpost in Time.