THE death took place this Tuesday May 27 of Mr Gerard Bourke (92), late of Thornfields in Ahane, near Lisnagry.
Thornfield House is the family’s ancestral home: Mr Bourke is descended by direct line from General Sir Richard Bourke, a former Governor General of British Colonies in Australia.
Mr Gerard Bourke was immensely proud of his family’s achievement and was a well versed historian himself.
Sir Richard was born in Dublin in the late 1800s to parents of Cappamore origin, John and Anne Bourke of the townland Drodorsally.
By 1831, he made Governor of New South Wales and was a pioneering reformer of deportees’ and convicts’ life in Australia expanding from military into civilian and indeed, civil life.
Richard Bourke also approved of a new settlement that he called Melbourne.
On retirement, the good General returned to Ireland and indeed, east Limerick to take up residence at Thornfield House; he owned 948 acres in Limerick and more than 400 in County Tipp.
He went on to build a local school and was important enough to merit state protection from the Fenians.
For decades, the elegant, rambling property has been home to the Haselbeck Flynn family with whom Gerard co-existed harmoniously, at his independent apartment.
He was honoured to receive then Australian ambassador Bruce Davis at Ahane 18 months ago.