Rocketts Castle Ruins, Portlaw, Co. Waterford
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Description

The castle situated on the banks of the River Suir was probably erected before 1212, as the tower is of Norman construction and consists of five floors with a 3.5m wall surrounding a large area, including various servant quarters and stables. Various records bear out some proof that the remains of the castle was the site originally referred to in a grant dated September 12, 1199 by King John to Sir Elias Fitz Norman. It was built in 1212 by a family named Rockett. The original house was destroyed in the 17th and 18th century.

Pirate Rockett

Rocketts Castle was taken over by Earl of Ormond in the first half of the 17th century, his actions under King Charles I, destroyed and took possession of property of Catholics who did not submit to the King. Pirate Rockett crossed with this faction and warred the best he could against such treatment and later began to pirate English ships and distributed the booty among the suppressed people to keep poor families alive. Based on part records and part legend, "Rockett the Pirate" captured an English ship and used her to prey on English ships only. The booty was divided among the town folks, thus the title "a noted pirate with virtue." This motly crew became such a thorn in the King's side, a bounty was placed on their heads and finally all were captured and first drawn and quartered. History tells us that he was hanged and beheaded on the West Yellow Road, Waterford later called Rocketts Tree. His head was placed on a spike and taken to the city gate of Waterford with a placard reading "Beware, do not offend your King."

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