Seaán mac Oliver Bourke

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Seaán mac Oliver Bourke (died 1580), 17th Lord of Mac William Íochtar.

Burke was the son of Oliver of Tirawley and a great-grandson of Ricard Ó Cuairsge Bourke. He developed his power base using gallowglass mercenaries, and by 1570 was regarded as the next Mac William Íochtar.

Despite the contemporaneous culture of those of his class, he had little love for war and seemed concerned for the well-being of his people. Upon being reproached by an old woman for burdening his people with the maintenance of his Scottish troops, he lamented that without them, they would be at the mercy of their enemies who would be just as burdensome.

Bourke is rightly famous as the patron of The Book of the Burkes. He spoke Irish and Latin, but not English.


  • The History of Mayo, Hubert T. Knox. 1908.
  • Lower Mac William and Viscounts of Mayo, 1332-1649, in A New History of Ireland IX, pp. 235–36, Oxford, 1984 (reprinted 2002).
  • Burke (de Burgh), John (Seaan, Shane Mac Oliverus, Terry Clavin, inn Dictionary of Irish Biography from the Earliest Times to the Year 2002, edited by James McGuire and James Quinn, pp. 38–39. Cambridge, 2010.
Preceded by
Ricard mac Seaán an Tearmainn Bourke
Mac William Iochtar
Succeeded by
Risdeárd an Iarainn Bourke