Rev Burke’s last days

Emily’s Father, Rev. Burke did not officiate any cermony during his time in Ballinasloe, with the exception of a marriage in nearby Taughmaconnell. He was well over 70 at the time and not as active in the church as in his missionary days.

Rev. Burke who, was never far from controversy in his missionary days made the newspaper columns frequently, now he hardly appeared in them now at all.¬† Again with one exception of a court case form 1875, he was not reported on at all. The case concerning land involved the Rev, his brother Patrick and the local Rector, Rev J. Moran of Kilcolgan Co Galway. The case centered around land leased by his father in the 1830’s from the Rector of Kilcolgan, which had come up for review. The court ruled in favour of the lease being granted to his brother Patrick rather than Rev. Burke.

The Commissioners established the right of Patrick Burke, and held that the lease made to the Rev. Mr. Burke was invalid.

The only other references to Rev. Burke in his latter years were the issue of a dog license and a listing in the paper of an event that he and Mrs. Burke attended in Dublin, the year before he died.


Bible in Saint John the Evangelist Church of Ireland, Church Hill, Ballinasloe, County Galway

Rev Burke was now in his late seventies and after an eventful life it was a time of rest for him. But he may not have got the respite that someone of his age deserved, there was a huge upsurge of hatred¬† against coverts in the early 1880’s. It is hard to say if he suffered any further persecution as he did in the past.

The violent persecution of Connemara’s convert community between 1878 and 1884 was without precedent. Its direct result was the winding down of the Irish Church Mission’s activities in the west of Ireland. It is difficult to identify what sparked the particular aggression towards converts and and mission personnel that began in late 1878, although underlying causes are clearly evident.



lectern in St John the Evangelist Church, Ballinasloe

The Freeman’s Journal, Monday, January 11 1875.
Moffitt, Miriam. Soupers & Jumpers: The Protestant Missions in Connemara, 1848-1937. Dublin: Nonsuch, 2008. P 136
Thanks to Saint John the Evangelist Church of Ireland, Church Hill, Ballinasloe, County Galway for allowing me to photograph the church.