Leitrim GAA would like to be associated with messages of sympathy, following the passing of the late Michael O Rourke, Riverdale, New York and formerly of Carrigallen, County Leitrim.
Michael Ó Rourke loved the hills of Druminchin, the fields, the whins, the buchalláns and the neighbours that his nephew Séamus wrote about so emotionally in his STANDING in GAPS memoir.
Michael walked every inch of these fields before emigrating to the United States, but in reality, he never left home. Like so many other Irish in New York he became immersed in his new surroundings and a committed member of his community, while at the same time keeping up to date with events back in Drumshangore, Drumeela, Carrigallen and Leitrim. After emigrating in 1958 the news came to the Big Apple through family letters and the weekly Leitrim Observer, but Michael in recent years became a whiz kid on mobiles, WhatsApp and various social media sites that others his age did simply not explore, but he wanted to be the first with the news from Leitrim.
The GAA was always part of Michael’s life, from his playing days with Drumeela Harps, Drumreilly, Carrigallen and Aughawillan, as a Leitrim referee to lining out in Gaelic Park or being a regular along the sideline every Sunday with his life long friends Mike Dillon and Larry Dolan.
His generous heart saw him financially support the Leitrim Club in New York, but also the Leitrim County Board and Leitrim teams back home. as well as Carrigallen GAA and its club grounds and also the Carrigallen/Aughavas St Joseph’s Ladies teams. As well as being a fan of football and hurling Michael had a special interest in Athletics and Cycling and enjoyed both well into his later years. He also had a keen interest in amateur Drama, nurtured through being on stage with people like Mickey O’Brien and Con Reilly in the Drumeela Drama Troupe in venues like Fargie’s Shed or in Doogra Hall. He would have found his years in the Fordham Dramatic Club a bit more up-market.
Michael served in various official positions with the Leitrim Society New York, including President and was always at the forefront of promoting Leitrim and its people. He was honoured on various occasions for his contribution to Irish culture, but the greatest satisfaction he got was from simply doing his bit to help others.
Now his passing will evoke many memories of a great New York and a great Leitrim man. Sincere sympathy to his family and to all the O’Rourke family in Drumshangore and in Manorhamilton.
Solas na b-Flaitheas dá anam uasal dílis.
Courtesy of Tommy Moran
Funeral details are located here