Place of migration
Migrated to/Born in USA

Nicholas Burke was born in October 1837 at Drumgriffin in Annaghdown Parish, son of James Burke (c. 1789-1887), a carpenter, and Margaret Glynn (c. 1792-1844). An older brother, John, was born about 1833 and died in Drumgriffin on 8 March 1867. A sister, Mary, was born in 1835 and married Peter Forde of Tonamace, Annaghdown. A flagstone in Corrandulla Cemetery, erected by James Burke, records the death of Margaret on 1 January 1844 and John in 1867. He is remembered as a talented uilleann piper, and in particular for his knowledge and memory of Irish pipers of the nineteenth century.

He married Mary Forde of Tonamace, Annaghdown, in 1858, and they immigrated to Brooklyn, New York shortly after their marriage. There, he worked as a carpenter, eventually becoming a successful builder.

Francis O'Neill (1848-1946), Irish traditional music collector, credited most of his success in collecting to Nicholas Burke, writing in his book Irish Minstrels and Musicians that

... the gleanings were so disappointingly incomplete that this work may never have been undertaken but for the fortuitous discovery in Brooklyn, New York, of Mr. Nicholas Burke who knew and remembered the Irish pipers of his generation as well as Arthur O’Neill knew the harpers of his day.

... A glance at his picture will show that he had attained the patriarchal age, and being a music lover and musician, hospitable and helpful to those of similar tastes. Every piper and fiddler of prominence who crossed the Atlantic since the middle of the nineteenth century made his acquaintance.


Additional Information
Date of Birth 1st Oct 1837 VIEW SOURCE
Date of Death 1st Jun 1919 VIEW SOURCE
Father (First Name/s and Surname) James Burke VIEW SOURCE
Mother (First Name/s and Maiden) Margaret Glynn VIEW SOURCE
Spouse (First Name/s and Maiden/Surname) Mary Forde VIEW SOURCE
Place & Date of Marriage July 1858, Annaghdown parish VIEW SOURCE
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Extract - O'Neill's Irish Minstrels and Musicians Ireland VIEW SOURCE


  • I like the piper story!! and glad to have ther reference to O'Neill's Irish Minstrels and Musicians

    Mary Neff

    Friday 28th September 2018 10:14PM

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