Monument to Ricard O’Sullivan Burke at Kinneigh

CAHCS Heritage Week Event 2009

On Sunday evening 30th August 2009 at 6:30pm a monument was unveiled at Kinneigh by Brian Crowley M.E.P. to commemorate the extraordinary life of Ricard O’Sullivan Burke. Despite the inclement weather conditions a sizable crowd attended. CAHCS chairman Colum Cronin welcomed everybody & introduced the special guests.

Seamus O’Donoghue spoke in fascinating detail on the life of Ricard who was born in 1838, just a short distance from Kinneigh. (Seamus & Mary Lynch co-wrote a book entitled “O’Sullivan Burke, Fenian”) Mary Lynch explained her reasons for erecting this monument in memory of her great grand-uncles Ricard (& Morgan) O’Sullivan Burke. Brian Crowley M.E.P. spoke words of praise for Mary & Seamus for their literary achievements & in particular for Mary’s efforts which culminated in the erection of this monument. As Brian performed the unveiling he said; “May all who pass here be inspired by the history, and may all who stand here recognise the greatness that’s before us” A piper played a lament, followed later by the National Anthem, while the tricolour fluttered in the rainy breeze beside a green harp Fenian Flag.

Everybody was invited to An Caipín for refreshments where, amid welcome cups of tea & coffee, tales of old & new were exchanged in jovial banter.

Brian Crowley unveils Ricard O'Sullivan Burke memorial watched by (left) Colum Cronin (right) Mary Lynch: Photo: Stephanie Larkin

Brian Crowley unveils Ricard O'Sullivan Burke memorial watched by (left) Colum Cronin (right) Mary Lynch: Photo: Stephanie Larkin

Brian Crowley with Berni Whyte of Ballineen Enniskeane Heritage Group.  Photo: Colum Cronin
CAHCS ladies with Brian Crowley  Photo: Colum Cronin
CAHCS ladies with Brian Crowley      Photo: Colum Cronin
THE MONUMENT  Photo: Colum Cronin

THE MONUMENT Photo: Colum Cronin

Podcasts/Audio Recordings

Brian Crowley’s speech:

Seamus O’Donovan’s and Mary Lynch’s speeches:


11 Responses to Monument to Ricard O’Sullivan Burke at Kinneigh

  1. Colin Cooper October 8, 2009 at 8:33 pm #

    Hi Colum,

    I don’t know if it’s just me, but the spellings drive me nuts. According to, the spellings of the townland and parish are “Cloonareague” and “Kinneigh”.

    Do you know what the significance is of placing the memorial outside a Church of Ireland church?


    • columcronin October 9, 2009 at 12:17 am #

      Hi Colin,

      I believe the mis-spelling of Kinneigh on the memorial was an error on the part of the sculptor. (The wording, spelling, location etc was decided by the family of O’S. B.) Cloonareague is also the correct spelling in my books but? The spellings issue is an ongoing one – it also buggs me at times. My own townland appears in many different forms; Munigave, Munigaff, Moneygaff, Moneygoff, and several others besides. But who has the definitive version? I choose ‘Munigave’ – derived from the Irish spelling according to the local historian Jeremiah O’Mahony, who I believe, should know. But that is my own personal version. If my neighbour decides to use another spelling, then that is his / her porogative? The anglicisation of our Irish placenames has added much confusion to this issue. What do you use as a reference, how do you know what is correct or incorrect? The administrator of the website has to use his / her descretion on deciding what is right / wrong, but who has the final word?

      Your second point relates to the locating of the memorial outside a Church of Ireland Church. The location of this monument was decided by the family of O’Sullivan Burke. None of us locally had any input or say in the matter. You state that it is ‘outside a Church of Ireland church’. I’m not sure what your point is, but if you know the geography of the area you will be aware that in actual fact, is it located outside a catholic cemetery. There are approx 1400 graves, maybe 5,000 bodies between the monument and the nearest church of I. at the far side of the cemetery The site of the original monastery cathedral also lies in between. As I understand it, St Bartholomew’s Church of Ireland was not at all associated with, or a factor considered when deciding the location of the monument.


      • Colin Cooper October 9, 2009 at 10:46 pm #

        Thanks Colum,

        On – it is the website of the Placenames Commission, set up by the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht affairs. They have done a huge amount of research into the townand and parish names, tracking the evolution of placenames and standardising them. They are open to submissions from the public, and I have been in contact with them regarding one of the Irish placenames that I think they are slightly inaccurate on, and they seem to take feedback well.

        On the second point, as a relative newcomer to the area, I’m not familiar with the details of the geography you mention. I’m familiar with the tower and church – they’re pretty special. I had assumed the graveyard was part of the church, and was wondering what his connection was with it, thinking he might have a closer association with the church in Castletown which I understand was there before he was born. Thanks for the explanation.


        • columcronin October 10, 2009 at 12:46 am #

          Hi Colin,

          Thanks for the information on indeed a useful resource. As you remarked, it appears to invite participation from the public to ‘fine tune’ their database, and one which I dare say depends on this input to further their efforts. I would consider us very fortunate in this part of the country to have the publications of Jeremiah O’Mahony and Bruno O’Donoghue to set us clear on such issues. No doubt have made full use of these over time. I am placing the website within our website links list, and wish to thank you for bringing it to our attention.

          Regarding Ricard O’Sullivan Burke, one has to remember that he lived a mere few hundred yards from the church and graveyard. The hill immediately to the south is still known as ‘Burke’s Hill’ Importantly, Ricard’s family grave is inside the wall not far from the monument. His parents are buried here. Only recently I discovered that a line of several graves extending to one side of the family plot are likely to be relations as well. The family plot was recently renovated, with a small plaque added to mention Denis and Margaret Burke (parents) and their son Daniel. Research through Ricard’s writings done while in jail in England has led to information relating to these burials. This grave is easily identifiable by its high black railings, with three gravestones within. It is located approx. mid-way, a little to the south. If you, or anybody else is interested in any aspect of Kinneigh graveyard, we (CAHCS) are in the process of documenting all gravestones information. We have digitally mapped the whole area, giving each item a reference number. Much work still remains to be done, however, we are willing to assist anybody who is searching for information of any sort, and we invite those who have information to share it with us for the common good. Colin, have a wander through the old graveyard sometime, I’m sure you will find it interesting. I’d be delighted to point out some points of interest there sometime if you’re interested. Míle buicas.

          Slán go foill,

          • Colin Cooper October 10, 2009 at 10:40 am #

            Thanks Colum. If you need a hand some weekend, give me a shout. I think you have my email.


            • columcronin October 11, 2009 at 8:33 pm #

              Thanks Colin, I appreciate the offer.


  2. Sean O'Donabhain September 2, 2009 at 10:57 pm #

    I just happened to visit the gravesite of O’Sullivan Burke in Mount Greenwood, Chicago, Illinois. I was surprised that such a celebrated Patriot in the USA and Ireland has a very plain gravesite, with a standing monument with only the name Burke showing. His headstone is curved and sunken into the ground, partially covered in dirt, just south of the AOH Memorial. His son also has a headstone just to the south.

    Has there been any thought to adding an inscription to his headstone?


    • columcronin September 3, 2009 at 12:54 am #

      Sean, perhaps this Patriot is being forgotten out there, as was the case here in Ireland – until now. “The monument in Kinneigh will serve to keep his memory alive”- a quotation from Seamus O’Donoghue at the unveiling. The family are doing their bit here in Ireland, perhaps somebody might like to follow suit in Chicago?


    • Chris and Mary Fogarty May 14, 2011 at 12:56 am #

      Upon reading the foregoing by Sean O’Donabhain this morning (May 13, 2011) about Ricard O’Sullivan Burke’s monument with “curved headstone and sunken into the ground, partly covered in dirt…” we drove out to the grave. We were familiar with it, having first taken the National Graves Association’s Eva O Cathaoir to see and photograph it about 15 years ago. The day we visited it the ground was covered by about 2 feet of snow, but O’Donabhain’s comment seemed dubious, as all of Mt. Olivet cemetery is beautifully maintained.

      So today we inspected the monument. It is in pristine condition, its curvature is part
      of a Louis Sullivan-type of ornamentation that includes delicately carved interlacery, no dirt or debris of any kind was in evidence and the adjacent sod is sound and evidently permanent.

      We took photos of it. Its appearance is nothing like O’Donabhain’s description. It is an impressive, dignified marker of Ricard Burke’s final resting place. However, it seems to us that it ought to include a mention of his heroic efforts for Ireland’s freedom. .

      • columcronin May 14, 2011 at 12:49 pm #

        Chris an Mary, thank you for that good news, glad to know that the monument in Mt Olivet cemetery is well maintained, which is only right and proper. Both his family grave and the monument to Ricard at Kinneigh near his place of birth, are looking very well at present.


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