Extent of the surnames, Burke or Bourke, in county Mayo

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Edward McLysaght (1887-1986), former Chief Herald and Genealogical Officer at the Irish Office of Arms, compiled a map of the historic clans of Mayo:—the Mayo County Library hosts this map online.1 When compared to a map which shows the place names of county Mayo.2 the Burke surname appears to have predominated in the area surrounding Castlebar, a town 26 km. northwest of Claremorris.

In 1856/57, Richard Griffith’s Ordnance Survey team enumerated 656 Burke and Bourke households in the county of Mayo. The map, below,3 illustrates the distribution of the Burke and Bourke surnames from Griffith’s survey. The highest numbers of landholders occurred in the parishes of Ballinrobe (48), Oughaval (38), and Kilcolman (Clanmorris) (30). Taking the Barony as a larger territorial measure, the highest numbers of landholders were found in the Baronies of Ballinrobe (132), Tirawley (129), Carra (119), and Clanmorris (81). The barony of Clanmorris contains the parish of Kilcolman, including the town of Claremorris, and parts of the parishes of Tagheen, Balla, Crossboyne, Mayo, Rattoo, and Kilvine.

Map of the distribution or extent of Burke or Bourke households in the county of Mayo in 1856–1857.
Lightest shades of grey indicate fewer Burke/Bourke households within a particular parish. Darker shades of grey indicate greater numbers. Medium and bright shades of green signify the highest frequencies of these surnames. Blue arrow points to the barony of Clanmorris, while the dot shows the location of the town of Claremorris (aka Clare). Image credit.

As a cautionary note, this map should be viewed with the understanding that, after 1800, the population shifted, as well as increased. For example, people began to emigrate in ever greater numbers. During the late 1840s, the Great Famine decimated much of the population of the county Mayo, including the parish of Kilcolman (Clanmorris). Many of those who remained in Ireland drifted away from rural holdings towards the towns and cities. For these reasons, this 1857 map cannot be said to represent the same distribution of the Burke and Bourke surnames across the county Mayo that existed at the turn of the nineteenth century. However, it does show that, by mid century, households under these surnames were more concentrated in the southern part of the county, near the border with the county Galway.

Source citation for this page: — Kilpatrick, Alison. “Extent of the surnames, Burke or Bourke, in county Mayo.” Chapter in the family history research completed for the Burke surname occurring in the parish of Kilcolman (Clanmorris), county Mayo. Online at Arborealis, arborealis.ca/family-history/irish/burke/extent-surname/, accessed [insert date of access].

Image credit: — Kilpatrick, Alison. County Mayo: Extent of the surnames, Burke or Bourke, in Griffith’s Valuation, 1856/57. Adapted from Richard Pettit’s map of county Mayo (accessed 2015-05-06).

See also:

  • “House of Burke,” online at Wikipedia
  • Outline of Burke households in the parish of Kilcoman, 1856/57 (pending)


  1. McLysaght, Edward. Irish Families: Their Names, Arms and Origins. Dublin: E. McLysaght, 1957. Cited by the Mayo County Library, online at Clans of Mayo (accessed 2015-05-06).
  2. Joyce, P.W., and A.M. Sullivan. Atlas and Cyclopedia of Ireland. New York: Murphy & McCarthy, 1900.
  3. Kilpatrick, Alison. County Mayo: Distribution of Burke and Bourke Surnames in Griffith’s Valuation, 1856/57. Adapted from Richard Pettit‘s map of county Mayo (accessed 2015-05-06).