Speaker: Michael Nolan

Seán Aloyisious Bourke (1934–1982) was born in Limerick.

A petty criminal who became internationally famous when he sprung George Blake a fellow inmate from the Wormwood Scrubs prison in 1966. Blake was a notorious spy for the Soviet Union.

Our speaker Michael Nolan has an intriguing account to tell of Bourke’s life and times. Particularly the Kilkee aspect of the Seán Bourke story.

After escaping Wormwood Scrubs Bourke & Blake made their way to East Germany. Once in Soviet territory it was comparatively easy to get to Moscow, where both Bourke and Blake were treated Royally, given accommodation and a pension. However; Bourke did not like the Soviet Union with its bureaucratic institutions and society. So after a couple of years he returned to Ireland.

Once back in Ireland Seán Bourke faced an extradition charge from the United Kingdom authorities but the Irish Supreme Court rejected the application on the grounds that the Jailbreak was a Political Offence and therefore exempted under Extradition Law.

During this time, Bourke wrote an account of the Jailbreak  The Springing of George Blake which was a best seller. The proceeds from the book were soon spent as alcohol had taken over a lot of his life. He ended up penniless.

In 1981 – Seán Bourke moved to Kilkee and lived in a caravan in the Percy French Estate.

To discover all the intriguing parts of this Spy Story, you will have to attend Michael Nolan’s Talk!


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