Born in Wexford, Roche worked as an actor and a singer before turning to writing in the 1980s. His acclaimed Wexford trilogy comprising A Handful of Stars (1988), Poor Beast in the Rain (1989) and Belfry (1990) won him numerous awards in both Ireland and Britian. His prose works include the novel Tumbling Down (1986) and the short story collection Tales From Rainwater Pond (2006). He also writes screenplays. Roche was elected to Aosdána in 2007. He lives in Wexford.