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ROARK Family History

This distinguished surname belonged to one of Ireland's great princely families who held territory in Breffny (now Cavan and West Leitrim). The prefix 'O' means grandson or male descendant. Rourke is an Anglicization of the Gaelic personal name Ruairc. The clan was noted for its military leaders, several of whom left Ireland to serve abroad, including Prince Joseph O'Rourke who became General-in-Chief of the Russian Empire in 1700 and Count Owen O'Rourke who served Maria Teresa of Austria (1750-1780). Of those who went to France the most noteworthy were Col. Count John O'Rourke (1705-1786) and Father Manus O'Rourke (1660-1741) who during a lifetime as an exile wrote voluminously in the Irish language...

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