Castle Roche and The View Beyond the Pale
There are a lot of ruins like this in Ireland. Every county here has them, heck a lot of villages have them. But actually getting to them is not always easy. This was one of those 'go-two-kilometers-take-a-right-watch-for-a-bridge-and-a-big-rock-and-turn-there', kind of goose chases, but boy was it worth the trip. We were seriously on the right road about a half a kilometer from it and still thought we were lost. Then we parked in a wide spot on a narrow road and climbed a fence to get to it. (Later we discovered an easier way to get out but the fence climbing added to the adventure)
Castle Roche was built on a rock outcropping that is triangular so the castle is triangular as well. Built by the normans in the 13th century it is located on the current border of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. As we were looking for it we snaked across the border and back a number of times...my friend Jan noting every time, that we are in the north, because of the union jacks, or that the mailboxes showed we were in the republic. Very exciting indeed!
But check out the story behind this castle. After the death of her husband, Rohesia de Verdum moved to her family's Irish lands and began to fortify them by building a castle. This castle. But she didn't trust anyone. And her abrupt manner and reputation scared off most potential architects. Finding an agreeable one, she offered him her hand in marriage. He built the castle to her specifications and you'd think that would be a happy ending. Right? But according to legend, after the wedding feast, she invited her new husband to the bridal suite, asked him to take in the view from the large window there and pushed him to his death, so that he could never share the secrets of the castle. Now that is harsh. She then became a nun.
Irish stories so often have grizzly endings don't they? And this castle overlooks The Pale, the area roughly from Dundalk on the border, to Dublin. It was where the disenfranchised Irish lived ruled by the English.
It's believed that Rohesia de Verdum's son added on to the original castle she built. And from what has survived since the 13th century, it was no doubt a spectacular place with unbelievable views, not just of the immediate territories, but beyond The Pale as well.