ROACH, or ROCHE, a parish, in the barony of UPPER-DUNDALK, county of LOUTH, and province of LEINSTER, 4 miles (W.) from Dundalk, near the road to Crossmaglen; containing 1426 inhabitants. Roche castle is supposed to have been originally erected in the reign of Hen. II. by the family of De Verdun, who were among the earliest of the English settlers in this part of Ireland. In the parliamentary war it was held for the king, but in 1649 it was taken and partly demolished by the forces of Cromwell. The castle is situated on a rock, to the shape of which the buildings were conformed so as to include its entire summit; the area enclosed by the ramparts is of an irregular semicircular form, and the front, which forms the chord of the segment, is 85 feet in length; at the opposite extremity are the ruins of a keep, with a sallyport and circular towers, apparently the oldest portion of the buildings.
An extensive view of the surrounding country is obtained from the castle, which in itself forms one of the most striking features in the neighbourhood. The parish comprises, according to the Ordnance survey, 3305¼ statute acres of tolerably good land, mostly in tillage; it is bounded on the south by the river Creggan, or Castletown, and contains Roach, the former residence of Mr. Reilly; and Shortstones, the neat residence of Robt. Bailie, Esq. It is a curacy, in the diocese of Armagh, forming part of the union of Baronstown: the rectory is impropriate in John Pratt, Esq., to whom the tithes, amounting to £248. 11. 10., are entirely payable.
In the R. C. divisions it forms part of the union or district of Dundalk.
from Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837.