A Brief History...
Burke’s Bar & Restaurant, Clonbur as we know it today, is a lot different to what it was in the early to mid-1800’s.
Mount Gable Hotel, as it was then known, was originally built by John A. Joyce, a grand-uncle of Charlotte Burke, nee Joyce, mother of the current owner; Tomás Burke. John A. traded until 1902 when he sold the premises to a Mr Allen who in turn sold it in 1910 to a Mr Walter McNally from Westport.
John J. Burke also known as J.J., originally from Kylecrue in Co. Tipperary lived in Chicago for some time where he owned and leased saloons in the Cottage Grove area of the south side of the city. While home on holiday and visiting his sister, Katie Diamond who was married in Renvyle, he saw the advertisement in the Connacht Tribune that Mount Gable Hotel was for sale. He purchased it in February 1922 and opened for business on Friday, March 17th 1922. He met his future wife Annie Moane, originally from Westport, and who had been employed by Mr McNally. They married the following year and had six children; Jackie, Paddy, Mary, Ignatius, Ciarán and Colm.
Mount Gable closed as a hotel after World War II due to a world recession.
Down through the years, the business, like many in rural Ireland, changed and evolved. In bygone days, it comprised of a bar in the back, a snug where ladies might enjoy a glass of stout or sherry, a grocery shop, drapery, light hardware, furniture, fuel and a travelling shop.
J.J. was an avid sportsman and great believer in community development and these traits have been passed on with the fourth generation of the Burke Family involved in the business and the community life of Clonbur to this day.
J.J.’s son Ciarán took over at the helm after serving his apprenticeship in O’Malley’s of Tuam from 1951 to 1953. Ciarán married Charlotte Joyce, originally from Leenane, in 1962 and they continued and expanded the business for the next 50 plus years. They extended the bar in 1979 on the grounds of the old hotel. The bar was known far and wide as the place to be for music and dancing! The grocery shop, which was located where the ‘snug’ is today, closed in 1986.
In 1993 they, along with their sons; Eoin and Tomás started doing breakfasts for truckers and the restaurant soon followed. In 1996 there was a further expansion of the bar/restaurant with our traditional music sessions proving very popular with locals and visitors alike.
In 1998, we won the Black and White Bar/Restaurant of the year for Connaught.
Both Ciarán and Charlotte were very involved in all aspects of the business until Ciarán passed away at the age of 86 in August 2019, having been predeceased by two of his sons; Eoin in November 2017 and Colm in December 2018, may they all rest in peace.
Today, Burkes (or Tí Bhúrca in Irish) is in the hands of Ciarán and Charlotte’s son, Tomás with the help of the next generation of Burkes as well as our wonderful, long serving staff.
If you are a visitor to the Clonbur area, we do hope you enjoy your stay. There is lots to do; climb Mount Gable, numerous walks and cycling trails in Clonbur Woods, Spraoi sa Choill playground, fishing and swimming. Clonbur is an ideal base for touring Connemara, the Aran Islands, Galway and Mayo.
Tá súil againn go mbainfidh sibh taitneamh as an mbia, an deoch, an ceol agus an cómhrá atá ar fáil í dTí Bhúrca, An Fhairche, Ceantar Dhúiche Sheoigheach.
We hope you will enjoy the food, drink, music and conversation that is to be had in Burke’s, Clonbur, Joyce Country.
We thank you for your custom and as Ciarán always said; ‘Come in please, go out pleased’!
The Burke Family & Staff