A Kiwi in search of her Irish, English & Scottish tribes

O’Rourke Family tomb, Dysert Burial Ground, Co Kerry ~ Tombstone Tuesday

A few kilometres down the road from Castleisland, on the way to Killarney, is Dysert Burial Ground. It is here where my great great great grandfather Michael O’Rourke, father of Bartholomew O’Rourke, is buried, along with other members of the O’Rourke family. An O’Rourke cousin in Australia told me about it, and how to find it, so last May I went off in search of it.

Dysert Burial Ground, near Castleisland, Co Kerry

Dysert Burial Ground, near Castleisland, Co Kerry

The family tomb is located just inside the gate, to the right.

Gate to Dysert Burial Ground, near Castleisland, Co Kerry

Gate to Dysert Burial Ground, near Castleisland, Co Kerry

O'Rourke family tomb, Dysert Burial Ground

O’Rourke family tomb, Dysert Burial Ground

The inscriptions are almost illegible. Thankfully, another cousin had visited the site in the early 1990s and deciphered the main one as:

Michael Rourke
This tomb was erected by the above.

This appears to be Michael with his two brothers John and Jeremiah (Darby is a common nickname), and their father Michael.

An earlier transcription, from Albert Casey1:

Daniel Rourke, sons John and Darby and Ml. This tomb was erected by the above.

Michael and Daniel would look very similar on a weathered tombstone. Daniel is not a name that has been handed down in the family, so I’m tending to side against Casey on this one (for now!).

O'Rourke family grave, Dysert Burial Ground

Inscription, O’Rourke family grave, Dysert Burial Ground

An inscription on the headstone reads:


O'Rourke family grave, Dysert Burial Ground

Inscription, O’Rourke family grave, Dysert Burial Ground

The last person to be buried in the tomb was Jeremiah O’Rourke (1916-1976), my second cousin twice removed.


Tombstone Tuesday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

  1. Albert E. Casey, “Dysert Cemetery, Castleisland parish, MIs”, O’Kief, Cosh Mang, Slieve Lougher and Upper Blackwater in Ireland, Birmingham, Alabama, 16 volumes, 1952-1971, vol 6 pp.1927-28.


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Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh!


  1. Barrie Dennehy

    I am the oldest great grandson of Hanora Dennehy nee ORourke daughter of Michael ORourke and Catherine nee (Callaghan) County Kerry. Hanora and her brother John arrived in Canterbury New Zealand in 1875 where she later married(1878) Batholomew Dennehy also from Kerry (Castel Island) in Napier Hawkes Bay.

  2. Maggie O'Rourke

    My great, great grandparents are buried in Dysert Burial Ground, his name was Denis O’Rourke, he was born in coolnacalee, (coolnacalliagh), Co.Kerry, Ireland, where the family farm still is. his wife was eleanor (ellen) nee cronin, was baptised 31 july, 1823 at currow parish, her parents maurice cronin an mary griffin from glounbawn

    denis parents were batt – battholomew mother mary mccarthy
    denis rourke marriaged eleanor 8 feb 1848 at currow parish
    two days later Batt was baptised on the 10 feb 1848

    catherine is my great grandmother though we knew her as bridget was born 5/11/1864 i have her birth certificate died 1939 in nz, born coolnacalee, currans, co.kerry, ireland.

    Denis Rourke had 4 sons John, Bartholomew (1848), Denis (1858), James (1860), daughters Mary (1851), Hanora (1854 – 1928), Ellen (1855) and Catherine Bridget my great grandmother (1864).

    ames 6 march 1860 christening
    denis 22 may 1858 christening
    mary 20 march 1851 christening
    batt 10 feb 1848 christening
    all christenings held at the roman catholic church currow kerry

    denis had brother called jeremiah bap 10 may 1809 same place currow
    eleanor was meant to have died at Catherines birth, there was talk that my great grandmother was a twin, this was not shown on Catherienes birth certificate.
    denis Rourke died 25/11/1903 at coolnacillegh, 90 years, cause senille decay 6 months before, his son denis was at his death.
    he re-married on the 10 july 1886 to joanna leahy,

    their daughter Bridget immigrated to NZ

    • Kieran Walsh

      Nice site,I also visited the graveyard with our relations (Cliffords) when I was living in Ireland .

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