Mary Burke

Mary Burke

Board Member


Why Did You Get Involved in the MIHC?

Mary Burke moved to Portland in 2018 but her Maine roots go much deeper than that. Mary is the daughter of Mary McDonough Young who was born in Portland and lived on Brackett Street. Since moving to Portland Mary has enjoyed volunteering at The Maine Irish Heritage Center. Her initiation by fire was serving up Guinness stew and shepherd’s pie to the overflow crowd of nearly six hundred people at the 2018 St. Patrick’s Day Celebration! Since then Mary has supported the annual Claddagh Awards Dinner in 2019 and The Best of All Things Irish Event in 2020. Mary has also contributed to the development of the Tea and Tour project. For Mary spending time at the MIHC is like visiting family.


Mary graduated from Newton North High School and holds a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature and Secondary Education from Boston College. She had a successful career with The Bank of New York Mellon in Boston. Mary’s experience includes trust administration, hedge fund, and proprietary fund launches, and many other aspects of domestic and international securities processing operations. Mary’s greatest satisfaction was in hiring new staff, training them, and launching them onto their own careers.

Irish Roots

Mary’s grandfather, James McDonough was born in the small village of Boliska and her grandmother, Nora Lee was born in Spiddal, both in Galway. Although they grew up a few miles from each other in Ireland, they met on the Eastern Promenade in Portland after emigrating to the United States in the early 1900s. They were married at St. Dominic’s Church in 1922. Irish culture had a major influence on the family and Mary’s childhood trips to Portland included Sunday Mass, weddings, and funerals at “St. Doms”. Eventually, Nora and James had 31 grandchildren all of whom honor Irish culture and traditions in their lives.

Interests & Hobbies

Mary lives in Portland on the Eastern Promenade. She moved there from Melrose Ma where she raised her two children, John Patrick, a Flight Dynamics Engineer with NASA in Maryland, and Rebecca Joy, a Special Education Teacher in Revere, Massachusetts. As one of eight children, family is the center of Mary’s life. She is an avid sports fan and spends time on crochet, sewing, reading, and music. She has enjoyed travel to Ireland and The Netherlands as well as visits to family in Florida.