William John Burke was educated locally for his first years of schooling and may have attended a “Hedge” school, common at the time. When he was a bit older his father hired a private tutor probably to prepare him for his second level education.
At the time the best and maybe the only school in the West of Ireland that was focused on training young boys for the priesthood was newly founded St Jarlath’s of Tuam. The school opened in 1800 provided a good basis for young boys who would later enter the seminary. William John Burke was accepted to study there where he remained until he entered St. Patrick’s of Maynooth in 1825.