My trip to Crockshee (also known as Knockshee)

Me and Kieran.
Me and Kieran.

This trip is costing me a lot of money, but I don’t regret it for one minute. It is worth every penny. I had a fabulous day yesterday when I met an Irish cousin (third cousin) and set foot on the actual property where my great-grandfather John O’Rourke was born. The property is situated up a small road about two or so kilometers east of Rostrevor. It is at the side of a small mountain known as Knockshee (Fairy Hill).

The property has a great view of Carlingford Lough, a bay sits on the border of Northern Ireland and Ireland. Kieran Waters, a descendant of Francis O’Rourke, John’s brother, was kind enough to take me there. It was exciting to finally meet him as we have been corresponding through Facebook for at least a year. Not only did Kieran take me there, he also brought me photos, a family tree and a copy of our second great-grandfather’s (James O’Rourke) will written in 1903.

The O'Rourke house. I don't know when this photo was taken, but a long time ago.
The O’Rourke house. I don’t know when this photo was taken, but a long time ago.

In addition, he brought me a phone number of local historian of sorts – Mark Brennan. I am invited to Mark and his wife’s home for tea Saturday evening at half-six (6:30 in Irish). I am really looking forward to it. This is exactly what I wanted to do – meet the actual people of Ireland and Northern Ireland and learn about what life was and is like for them. When I left Ireland after my vacation two years ago, I knew I had to come back. My trip to County Down then had been mostly a failure. I failed to locate my great grandfather’s baptismal certificate and I was unsure if I found my ancestor’s grave in the local cemetery. I had gone to the cemetery my last night in Rostrevor at the urging of

The O'Rourke house after it had fallen into disrepair.
The O’Rourke house after it had fallen into disrepair.

my partner Toni who said I would regret it if I didn’t. It was not until I arrived home that I realized I had located my ancestor’s gravesite and I owe it all to ancestry.com and Lisa Cutshaw, a third cousin who resides in Monterey, Calif. For those who don’t know about ancestry.com, if an ancestor in your family tree matches another person’s tree, it notifies you. I was notified that my great grand uncle Francis O’Rourke matched Francis in Lisa’s tree. To make a long story short, I contacted her and she confirmed the gravesite I had found was my ancestors’.  She also told me where they had lived — a place known as Crockshee or Knockshee. I also had help from Deirdre McEvoy, an

Me in front of the house -- now rebuilt.
Me in front of the house — now rebuilt.

amateur genealogist from the Rostrevor/Killowen area. I made plans last September to revisit County Down. And yesterday I realized my dream – to meet an O’Rourke cousin and see where my family is from. Enjoy the photos.

The O'Rourke boys. Kieran thinks the man in the middle is my great grandfather, John.
The O’Rourke boys. Kieran thinks the man in the middle is my great grandfather, John.
The view from the house. -- Carlingford Lough.
The view from the house. — Carlingford Lough.
Behind the house, looking at Knockshee.
Behind the house, looking at Knockshee.
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2 thoughts on “My trip to Crockshee (also known as Knockshee)

  1. SO very glad your dream has been fulfilled, dear Lois!

    Looking forward to learning more of our O’Rourke family history in County Down.

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