It became apparent that William Burke Jr. was a talented child. He played the violin, was a talented cricket player, he also excelled academically. It was clear from the start that he would have a glittering career whatever he took up, and as predicted he did.
After the tragic loss of his mother, when he was a young boy his father Rev. Burke left the West of Ireland, where he took a position in the church at St. Audoens Church near Christchurch. Rev. Burke lived at Harrington Street near the city centre, William Jr. was sent to school at Hollyville Park in Monkstown. The original school is no longer in existence although St. Patrick’s Boy’s Primary School stands on the site or nearby. It is a place of the past in building and in documentation. Apart from old newspaper articles and a few references in cricket records it has all but disappeared from history.
In its’ time Hollyville Park School was a school was for high achievers, like William Burke Jr.
Hollyville park school, MONKSTOWN, CO. DUBLIN. FRENCH and GERMAN, under Foreigner, are taught free of extra charge ; and, while the usual branches of a first class Education receive their due amount of care, the SACRED SCRIPTURES, ENGLISH, and COMPOSITION…(02 March 1863 – Dublin Daily Express – Dublin, Dublin, Republic of Ireland)
Hollyville park school, MONKSTOWN, CO. DUBLIN. 1. The Prospectus and Half-yearly Report, which contain account of the System of the School,and the success former Pupils, the Masters, Ac., will forwarded on application to the Principal or Vice-Principal…(09 July 1862 – Dublin Daily Express – Dublin, Dublin, Republic of Ireland)
The school offered many subjects that prepared it’s young pupils for a career in the army, church or in medicine. Perhaps it was the school’s education towards joining the church that persuaded Rev. Burke to sending his son there but in the end it was a medical career that William Jr. was attracted to.
His second love was also indulged at Hollyville Park, cricket. If he was not a doctor perhaps if it were possible at the time he may have been a professional cricket player. He was listed as a player on the Monk Bretton cricket team in 1880 and beyond.
Hollyville was in close proximity to the Monkstown Cricket Grounds and had it’s own cricket club attached. In his 1865 book, John Lawrences’s Handbook of Cricket in Ireland. The author observed:
“Hollyville Park School Close to Monkstown Church ‘where every boys seems a matured gentlemen’”
The statement was very true of the young William Henry Emeris Burke.
Sheffield Independent 09 June 1880