Thomas Burns (Tommy)
Dublin circa 1930
This page is about James Alphonsus Thomas Burns and he was
born in 1890 ("Tommy Burns"), a successful
businessman and fight promoter in Dublin Ireland. My great Uncle Tommy was a
fight promoter, engaging the top boxers of the day (Wild
Bert Kenny vs. Llewelyn (Llew) Williams,
Brannigan) in the Antient Concert Rooms in Dublin.
Tommy Burns was married to
Polly Burns (Polly Fairclough) - World champion
lady boxer. He may have lived on
Merrion Strand Road, Dublin.
Antient Concert Rooms, Dublin
sister Geraldine from your Big Brother Tommy”
Tommy Burns photo attached to a 1923 calendar
The son of Dr.
John. A. Burns,,
Tommy Burns died as a result of a heart attack during a prostate operation in
Patrick Joseph Dillon (grandson of
Tommy Burns) :
I should explain that I do not believe I am a blood relation of Tommy but am the
son of Polly's youngest daughter Mary (May). I have Tommy's death certificate
and it does not look as though he was murdered as cause of death was the result
of a prostrate operation and had a heart attack on the table. He was aged 56
and died on 31st July 1946 - I was 7 at the time and remember it well.
Tommy's real name was James Alphonsus Thomas Burns and he was born in 1890. His
father's name was John and a brother was also John, both dentists. My wife and
I went to Dublin two years ago to undertake research into the family and went to
Dun Laoghaire to see the Burns family home. It is still a dentist surgery and
some locals remembered the Burns family. It was 99 Upper Georges Street.
I understand that Virginia and Geraldine went to Albuquerque, Mexico in 1944/5.
One of my sisters is named Virginia Geraldine after her aunts. Although Tommy
trained to become a dentist before meeting Polly he changed tack to become a
commission agent, otherwise known as a track bookmaker. When he lived at
Sandymount he had a pony and trap and used to take us children into Dublin. He
was well known around Dublin and always wore a western style hat.
He drove an American car, I believe it was a Studebaker. The back wheels were
half covered by the mudguard. I can still remember the smell of the leather.
He paid for my oldest brother Tommy, my sister Pauline and myself to have
private education until he died but after that times were hard and Polly
eventually died in poverty in Dublin in 1958.
Tommy is buried in Glasnevin Cemetery just outside Dublin and Polly is buried
with him. We did take our children to Ireland when young and took a photo of
the grave, but we did not have time to go back to see it this time.
It is rumoured that Polly met Tommy in 1913 when she boxed at the National
Sporting Club in London, the only woman to have done so - we are still
investigating this point but not getting anywhere at the moment. My mother was
born in 1913 and always went under the name of Burns, even on her marriage to my
father Christopher Dillon it was stated that her name was Burns and her father
was Thomas Burns.
My uncle Brendan Dillon was an actor who appeared in many films. He and his
brother Dermot and sisters Moira and Patricia all went to America to Santa