O'Rourke (Irish: Ó Ruairc) is an Irish Gaelic clan based most prominently in what is today County Leitrim. The family were the historic rulers of Breifne and later West Breifne until the 17th century. Today they are spread out across the world and largely disconnected from the clan as a whole, and sometimes their own septs. However, efforts have been set into motion to reunite the clan as of January 2018. From the early 10th century C. E. to 1275, the O'Rourkes were Kings of Breifne, and Kings and Princes of West Breifne from 1275-1641 upon the death of Sir Brian Roe O'Rourke. Today, their Chieftain retains (with permission given in 1994) the title "Prince of Breifne." Of course, they still somewhat rival the O'Reilly Clan for this title, which continues a bitter and medieval rivalry that dates back to the separation of East and West Breifne.
|Parent house||Uí Briúin Bréifne|
|Founded||873 C. E.|
|Founder||Ruarc mac Tighearnán|
|Current head||Clayton Eugene O'Roak|
|Final ruler||Tadhg O'Rourke|
|Dissolution||1641 C. E.|
|Male||Daughter||Wife (Long)||Wife (Short)|
|Ó Ruairc||Ní Ruairc||Bean Uí Ruairc||Uí Ruairc|
O'Rourke was originally Ó Ruairc in Irish, named for their ancestor, King Ruarc mac Tighearnán. Ruarc was named for his maternal grandfather, a Norseman named Hrothekr (whence the name "Roderick" or "Rory"). In Irish, it means "famous king." The Ruarc from whom the name comes was a King of Breifne in the 800's C. E. The first to use his name as a last name was his grandson, King Seán Fearghal Ó Ruairc, King of Connacht and Breifne, died 964 C. E.  They claim descent from High King of Ireland Eochaid Mugmedon through his son Brión (whence the Uí Briúin), the half-brother of High King Niall of the Nine Hostages, the acclaimed ancestor of the Uí Néill.
Chiefs of the Name from 1500 C. E. to the Current
- King Eóghan Ó Ruairc of West Bréifne, Chief from 1500-1528.
- King Feidhlimidh Ó Ruairc II of West Bréifne, Chief from 1528-1536, Eóghan's 2nd cousin 2x removed.
- King Brian ballach mór Ó Ruairc of West Bréifne, Chief from 1536-1559, son of King Eóghan.
- King Tadhg Ó Ruairc of West Bréifne, Chief from 1559-1560, son of Brian ballach mór Ó Ruairc.
- King Aodh Gallda Ó Ruairc of West Bréifne, Chief from 1560-1564, son of Brian ballach mór Ó Ruairc.
- King Aedh Buidhe Ó Ruairc of West Bréifne, Chief from 1564-1566, son of Brian ballach mór Ó Ruairc.
- King Brian na Múrtha Ó Ruairc of West Bréifne, Chief from 1566-1591, son of Brian ballach mór Ó Ruairc, known to the English as Sir Brian O'Rourke.
- King Brian Óg na Samhthach Ó Ruairc of West Bréifne, Chief from 1591-1603, son of Brian na Múrtha Ó Ruairc, known to the English as Brian Oge O'Rourke.
- King Tadhg an Fhiona Ó Ruairc of West Bréifne, last King of West Bréifne, Chief from 1603-1605, son of Brian na Múrtha Ó Ruairc, half-brother of King Brian Óg na Samhthach Ó Ruairc, known to the English as Sir Teague O'Rourke or Sir Tadhg O'Rourke.
- Prince Brian Roe O'Rourke of Breifne, Chief from 1605 (aged 6) until his death in 1641. Son of King Tadhg an Fhiona Ó Ruairc, known to the English as Sir Brian Roe O'Rourke.
- Prince Aedh O'Rourke of Breifne, Chief from 1620-1625. Brother of Prince Brian Roe O'Rourke. He joined the Spanish Military in Flanders around 1625 after escaping British prison.
- Prince Brian O'Rourke of Breifne, Chief from 1641-1666. Son of Prince Brian Roe O'Rourke.
- Eóghan Óg Ó Ruairc, Chief from 1666 until his death. Great-grandson of Prince Eoghan, son of King Brian ballach mór Ó Ruairc.
- Viscount Owen O'Rourke, Chief until 1703 (even recognized by the Jacobites).
- Edmond Roche O'Rourke, Chief from 1777 until his death probably 20 years later. Resident in Nancy, France. Great-grandson of Prince Brian O'Rourke, son of Prince Brian Roe O'Rourke.
- Owen A. O'Rourke, Chief until 1825. Grandson or son of Chieftain Edmond Roche O'Rourke. Resident in Dromahair, Co. Leitrim
- William Rourk, Chief from 1825-1834, son of Chieftain Owen A. O'Rourke. Resident in Dingle, Co. Kerry.
- Count Joseph Cornelius O'Rourke, Chief from 1834-1849. Resident in Estonia and Russia. Eighth great-grandson of King Tadhg na gCaor Ó Ruairc of West Bréifne.
- Francis Joseph O'Rourke of Inismagrath, Chief from 1899 until 1921.
- Geoffrey Philip Columb O'Rorke (born 1943), Chief from 1994 until 2016, titled Prince of Breifne. Resident in England. Sixth great-grandson of Chieftain Eóghan Óg Ó Ruairc.
- Clayton Eugene O'Roak (born 1950), third great-grandson of Chieftain William Rourk, Chieftain O'Rourke (The O'Rourke) since 2016. Clayton has two sons, the eldest is Shawn Robert O'Roak and the youngest is Patrick William O'Roak.
O'Rourke may refer to several people:
- O'Rourke (baseball), baseball player
- Andrew O'Rourke, judge and politician from New York State
- Beto O'Rourke (born 1973), American entrepreneur and civic leader
- Brian O'Rourke (1540–1591), hereditary lord of West Breifne in Ireland
- Brian Oge O'Rourke (1568-1604), lord of West Breifne
- Colm O'Rourke (born 1957), Irish footballer
- Danny O'Rourke (born 1983), American soccer player
- Declan O'Rourke, Irish singer
- Denis O'Rourke (born 1946), New Zealand politician
- Dennis O'Rourke (born 1945), Australian documentary film director
- Derval O'Rourke (born 1981), Irish sprint hurdles athlete
- Edward O'Rourke (1876–1943), Polish Roman Catholic priest, bishop of Riga, first bishop of Danzig (Gdańsk)
- Frank O'Rourke (1916–1989), American writer
- Frank O'Rourke (baseball) (1894–1986), Canadian infielder in Major League Baseball
- Frank O'Rourke (Scottish footballer) (1878–1954), Scottish footballer for Airdrieonians
- Hayden Rorke actor
- Heather O'Rourke (1975–1988), American child actress
- Jet O'Rourke (born 1983), Australian Pop/ Rock singer songwriter
- Jim O'Rourke (baseball player) (1850–1919), American professional baseball player
- Jim O'Rourke (musician) (born 1969), American musician and producer
- John O'Rourke (footballer, born 1945) (born 1945), English footballer
- John O'Rourke (baseball) (1849 – 1911), American baseball player
- Joseph Cornelius O'Rourke born 1772, celebrated cavalry general in Russia.
- Joseph O'Rourke, a disambiguation page
- Kathy Kirby stage name of Kathleen O'Rourke, pop singer
- Kevin O'Rourke, Irish economist
- Mary O'Rourke (born 1937), Irish politician
- Mícéal O'Rourke, an Irish classical pianist
- Michael O'Rourke (gambler) (1862–1882 alias "Johnny-Behind-the-Deuce"), a professional gambler of the Old West
- Michael James O'Rourke (1878–1957), Canadian recipient of the Victoria Cross
- Mike O'Rourke (baseball) (1868-1934), Major League Baseball pitcher
- Mike O'Rourke (athlete) (born 1955), New Zealand javelin thrower
- P. J. O'Rourke (born 1947), American political satirist, journalist, and writer
- Patrick Henry O'Rourke (1837–1863), Irish-born Civil War colonel
- Peter O'Rourke (1874–1956), Scottish footballer and manager
- Ryan O'Rourke (born 1988), American baseball player
- Sean O'Rourke, Irish journalist and broadcaster
- Steve O'Rourke (1940–2003), manager of rock band Pink Floyd
- Tammy O'Rourke (born 1971), child dancer and actress
- Timothy O'Rourke, American college football head coach
- TS O'Rourke (born 1968), Irish author
- Ualgarg O'Rourke, (died 1346), king of West Breifne
- Daniel Kevin O’Rourke, MD (Born 1962) American Neurosurgeon
- Laing O'Rourke, a construction firm in the UK
- Walton and O'Rourke, a famous team of cabaret puppeteers
- Ó Ruairc, Tadhg "TheBrehon" Dómhnall. “O'Rourke Clan of Breifne.” O'Rourke Clan of Breifne, Wordpress.com, 26 Jan. 2018, 2:04 PM, orourkeroyalclan.wordpress.com/.
- O'Reilly, Joseph Martin. “Biography of Lord Martin O'Reilly – Prince of Breifne.” Royal Court of Breifne Site Wide Activity RSS, O'Reilly Clan, 2017, royalcourtofbreifne.com/prince/.
- “Jacobite Peerage.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 24 Dec. 2017, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacobite_Peerage#Viscounts.
- “Clans and Families of Ireland.” Ireland, by John Grenham, Salamander Books Ltd, 2001, p. 358.
- O'Rourke family pedigree at Library Ireland
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