Canon Ulick Burke (1829-1887), Gaelic scholar

Canon Ulick Bourke, the famed Gaelic scholar was born in Linenhall Street, Castlebar on 29th.December 1829. He was educated at The Franciscan School in Errew, St. Jarlath's College, Tuam and Maynooth College. As a student he wrote "The College Irish Grammar".

He was ordained by his cousin Archbishop John Mc Hale of Tuam in 1858 and that same year was appointed to the staff of St. Jarlath's College, becoming its President in 1865. In 1878 he was appointed Parish Priest of Kilcolman Parish (Claremorris) where he was later to become Canon.

He worked unceasingly for the revival of the Irish language and was one of the founders of the Society for the Preservation of the Irish Language (1876), The Gaelic Union (1870) and Irisleabhair na Gaeilge(1882). He wrote a series of articles for The Nation on "Easy Lessons on Self- Instruction in Irish” and published "The Argon Origin of the Gaelic Race and Language" in 1875 and "Pre-Christian Ireland” in 1887. He died in Claremorris on 22nd, November 1887 and was buried in Barnacarrol Church grounds.

There is a plaque at his birthplace bearing the inscription "Sa teach seo do rugadh an t-Athair Uilleog de Burca, Scriobhnoir agus scolaire Gaeilge 1829-1887” Conradh na Gaeilge 1987.

Article by Brian Hoban

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