Walter Bourke: A County Mayo Landlord in the 19th Century

Walter Bourke was one of the primary landlords in the Civil Parishes of Addergoole (Tirawley Barony) and Kilvine (Clanmorris Barony) when the Griffith's Valuation was conducted. The Addergoole Griffith's Valuation was conducted in 1857. At that time, Walter Bourke was the primary landlord in the following Townlands: Ballyduffy, Balymoyock, Carrowkeel, Carrowskeheen, Cartron, Doonbredia, Doonbredia Mountain, Islandmore (Island in Beltra Lough) and Lecarrow. The Kilvine Griffith's Valuation was conducted around 1856. Walter Bourke was the primary landlord in the Townlands of Ballinvilla, Doonamacreena and Knockadoon and held several parcels in Creevard. Kilvine Civil Parish was home to another Bourke Landlord (Thomas) as well. Walter Bourke was the primary landlord in three Townlands in Crossmolina Civil Parish (Tirawley Barony): Mungaun, Rathmacostello and Richmond. (Griffith, 1847-1864; 2003, Addergoole, Kilvine and Crossmolina).

Samuel Lewis acknowledged Carrowkeel to be the seat of W. Bourke Esq. in Addergoole Civil Parish in his "A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland." (Lewis, 1837; 1984, p. 10).

Three different Walter Bourkes were identified as Subscribers for County mayo: Walter Bourke Junior, Dunmacreena for Claremorris, Walter J Bourke for Killala and Walter Bourke, Carrakeel for Crossmolina (the subject of this page). (Quinn, 1996, Vol 1, Ch 2, p. 12,13).

There is quite a bit written in old newspapers and Parliamentary Debates about Walter Mathew Bourke (son of Isidore, Walter's brother) who held property near Claremorris in County Mayo and Rahasane Park in County Galway. He was murdered in 1882 in the process of evicting tenants at his Curraleagh, Claremorris estate.

In J. F. Quinn's "History of Mayo", (one of my favorite resources), he described a Walter Bourke QC, Carrowkeel, Lahardane who acted on behalf of the tenants of Harriet Gardiner in the Ballina Quarter Sessions and also stood up for the defendent in the Westport Quarter Sessions in a case involving the Earl of Lucan's attempted eviction from the meat shambles in Castlebar. (Quinn, 1996, Vol 4, Ch 1, p 203, 316-317). It appears that our Walter Bourke was right in the thick of the landlord/tenant land issues of the day.

I believe that this Walter Bourke is the son of Joseph Bourke of Carrowkeel, County Mayo (who was a Captain in the Mayo Militia) and Anne Blake (daughter of Isidore Blake, Tower Hill). His brother was Isidore Bourke of Curraghleagh, County Mayo. Walter Bourke married Mary Blake and they had one daughter to inherit his estate. He died in 1871. (Sir Bernard Burke, 1899, Section 1, p. 41-42).

Cecelia Gertrude Bourke, the only child and heir of Walter Bourke and Mary Blake married Francis Comyn of Woodstock, County Galway and Kilcorney County Clare on September 4, 1865. (Sir Bernard Burke, 1899, Section 1, p. 79). The Francis Comyn became the heir to Walter Bourke's Carrowkeel Estate in County Mayo upon his death in 1871. Francis L. Comyn is documented as residing in Woodstock, County Galway and holding 3,653 acres of land in 1876. (Local Govt Board, 1876; 1988, p. 308).

At this point I have yet to find details on the disposition of sale of the Carrowkeel Estate that was inherited by Cecelia (Bourke) and Francis Comyns.