Bourke (Burke), Miles (Meiler) (c.1585–1649), 2nd Viscount Bourke of Mayo , nobleman, was the eldest son, of the four sons and three daughters, of Theobald, 1st Viscount Bourke of Mayo (qv), and his wife, Maud or Maeve, daughter of Charles O'Connor Sligo. He was held as a surety to the state for his father's behaviour in 1592–1601 and 1608–10. In 1620 he was suspected of involvement in a murder perpetrated by some of his kinsmen and was imprisoned for over a year. After his release, in 1622, he parted from his wife Honora, daughter of Sir John Burke of Derrymaclaghtry, Co. Galway, and his wife Margaret, alleging misconduct during his imprisonment; they had three sons and one daughter. Like his father, he was accused of association with Spanish-sponsored conspiracies in the 1620s, though Lord Deputy Falkland (qv) suspected the claims were malicious. Perhaps created a baronet at the time of his father's award of a viscountcy in 1627, he joined his father in acting as a commissioner for Co. Mayo for the collection of funds to support the army. He succeeded as 2nd Viscount Bourke of Mayo on 18 June 1629. He owned extensive properties in Co. Mayo, especially in the baronies of Burrishoole and Carra, and resided chiefly at Belcarra, Co. Mayo. After his second marriage, to Elizabeth (whose name is also given as Ellis or Isabella), widow of John Benboe and daughter of William and Mary Hodges of Ilchester, he conformed to protestantism. He was one of the peers who petitioned the Dublin authorities in 1630 concerning the failure to assemble a parliament and the non-implementation of some of the Graces. A privy councillor by 1640, he was active in the parliament of 1640–41 and acted alongside James Butler (qv), earl of Ormond, in defence of Thomas Wentworth's (qv) associates, facing impeachment.
With the outbreak of the 1641 rising, Mayo was appointed joint governor of Co. Mayo. He raised troops locally but seems to have hoped to stifle the rising through a policy of divide and rule. Distressed by the massacre at Shrule, in February 1642, of a convoy of protestants whose security he had guaranteed, and apparently despairing of government support, he re-embraced catholicism and joined the rising soon afterwards, doubtless encouraged by overtures from insurgents in the Pale. In August 1642 he joined the confederate provincial council for Connacht, which named him its governor of Co. Mayo, and he served on the supreme council from 11 November 1642 to May 1643. Already by early 1643, however, it was reported that he had grown resentful of the intrusion into his power base, by the supreme council, of a commander-in-chief for Connacht, John Burke (qv). By early 1644 he had broken with the latter body and seems to have attempted to secure local control of Co. Mayo, by then wracked by considerable disorder. Reduced militarily by the earl of Castlehaven (qv) in April 1644, he was arrested by the supreme council and detained in Kilkenny, but escaped back to Mayo in January 1645. Observers were uncertain whether he would align himself with dissident forces in north Connacht, or even with supporters of the English parliament. His February demands, sent to the confederate supreme council, included a guarantee of oblivion for past actions and re-appointment to the governorship of the county, with forces attached. By March 1645 he had submitted to the confederates’ provincial council (apparently on unfavourable terms) and was again acting as one of its members by 1647. He was named as a supernumerary member of the supreme council elected in December 1647. He held command of a Connacht-based regiment in January 1649, but died later that year.
He was posthumously condemned in the 1652 Act for the Settling of Ireland, and his heir Theobald (qv), the 3rd viscount, was executed for supposed complicity in the Shrule massacre. Miles Bourke has been characterised as possessing ‘a maverick streak’ (Duignan, 126) and it has been suggested that his difficulties with the confederate authorities are indicative of ‘a lack of sensitivity to his social status and family background’ and to the strength of local loyalties (O'Dowd, 129).