Saturday, August 21, 2021

On the trail of Roesia de Verdun: Ireland’s only female castle builder

From the Irish Examiner:
It feels like glorious serendipity that a project aimed at revealing more about the only woman known to have built a castle in Ireland is taking place during National Heritage Week.

I’m a huge fan of castles and, in particular, of castlebuilder Roesia de Verdun, or Rose of the Rock as she is known locally. The 13th-century noblewoman built an impressive fortress on a rocky outcrop in Castleroche, Co Louth, and then supposedly pushed the master mason out of the window so that he wouldn’t replicate the building’s design.

To this day, one of the castle’s windows is known as the “murder hole”.

Once ensconced in palatial splendour, the formidable Roesia went about her business as a no-nonsense ch√Ętelaine, managing her estate and riding out on horseback, in full armour, to keep her Gaelic enemies at bay. Or so the local legend tells us.


As female villains go, here is one unscrupulous and brave enough to head up an entire TV series.

But perhaps it’s time to commission a different kind of series; one that charts the progress of ‘Revealing Roesia’ (pronounced Ro-he-sha), the archaeological survey that is taking place in the castle’s grounds this week.


read more here from Clodagh Finn @ the Irish Examiner
read more on Roesia @ Women's Museum of Ireland