Heathfield House

Ballycastle, County Mayo, Ireland
Mary Robinson (nee Bourke), Ireland's first female President (1990-1997), is descended from the "Heathfield Bourkes" whose ancestral home is located in Gortatoor townland, Lackan, about two miles east of Ballycastle, Co. Mayo. 

The original gate house for the estate is still maintained and occupied and many of the originally planted trees on the estate still survive.  However, Heathfield House itself has stood vacant for decades.

In 1876 the Heathfield estate comprised 1663 acres and, according to the Landed Estates database, Rev. William Bourke was leasing Heathfield from the Palmer estate at the time of Griffith's Valuation when it was valued at 16.  Slater's Directory of Ireland notes Heathfield House as the seat of Major W.H. Bourke in 1894, and in 1837 Samuel Lewis' Topological Dictionary of Ireland records it as the seat of O. Bourke, Esq. (Oliver Bourke).  Prior to that, Walter Bourke 1753-1819, whose grave can be found in Kilcummin graveyard, was also a resident of Heathfield.

The stone to build the house was quarried from the hillside opposite in Aghaleague
(bottom left photo, left of the fir trees).

In 1927 the Bourkes moved to county Meath and the house was sold to the Bryces.  A descendant of the purchaser currently owns the estate and uses it for farming.

Thank you to Michael and Mary Bryce for kindly showing us Heathfield House and for relating some of the background stories.

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