The Clan/Sept History
The O'Rourke line is descended from Briuin, a brother of Niall of the Nine Hostages, and a possible descendant of Conn of the Hundred Battles.
In the tenth and eleventh centuries, the kingship of Connacht was held by three members of the O Rourke family. Their name is said to come from the Norse, Hrothrekr, which was Gaelicized to Ruairc. Until the confiscations by Cromwell, their chieftains were Kings of Bréifne - at that time composed of the Irish counties Leitrim and Cavan. The Bréifne O Rourkes ruled from Kells in County Meath to the northern tip of County Sligo.
Noted for their hospitality, their stronghold was at Dromahair (the Ridge of the Two Air Demons) in County Leitrim. On the banks of the River Bonnet are the ruins of Bréifne Castle, another of the O Rourke Fortresses.
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