Burke, Ulick Ralph (1845–95), lawyer and Hispanicist, was born in Dublin on 21 October 1845, the elder son of Charles Granby Burke (1814–98) of Milltown, Co. Dublin, master of the court of common pleas, and his wife, Emma Jane, daughter of Ralph Creyke of Marton, Yorkshire. His paternal grandfather was a baronet, Sir John Burke (d. 1847), of Marble Hill, Co. Galway. After studies at St Columba's College, Rathfarnham, and TCD, he graduated BA in 1867 and was called to the English bar on 10 June 1870. He practised in the high court of the North-Western Provinces of India (1873–8), during which time he contributed three articles on India to the Dublin University Magazine (1877–8).
On returning to Europe, Burke published two novels, Beating the air (3 vols, 1879) and Loyal and lawless (3 vols, 1880), ‘in which he evinced a measured but critical interest in Anglo-Indian and Anglo-Irish social attitudes and political relations’ (ODNB). He stood for parliament, unsuccessfully, as a conservative at Calne, Wiltshire (1880). A visit to Brazil in 1882 resulted in a book written jointly with Robert Staples, Business and pleasure in Brazil (1884). He practised at the bar in Cyprus from 1885 to 1889, then returned to Ireland for employment as clerk of the peace in Co. Dublin and registrar of quarter sessions, until 1895.
Burke's eminence derived from his interest in the language, literature and history of Spain, the result of a tour of that country made before he went to India. He wrote several books of Spanish interest, beginning with Sancho Panza's proverbs and others which occur in Don Quixote with a literal English translation, notes and introduction (1872; new eds, 1877 and 1892). There followed a short biography of Gonzalo Fernández de Córdova, The great captain (1877), Life of Benito Juárez, constitutional president of Mexico (1894), and A history of Spain from the earliest times to the death of Ferdinand the Catholic (2 vols, 1895; 2nd ed., 1900). He wrote notes and a glossary, completed after his death by Herbert W. Greene, for a new edition of George Borrow's The Bible in Spain (1896). He died of dysentery 1 June 1895, either at sea or at Salaverry, Peru, on his way to take up the post of agent general to the Peruvian Corporation at Lima. Ulick Ralph Burke married on 9 July 1868 Katharine (d. 1933), daughter of a civil engineer, James Bateman (1810–89); they had one son and three daughters.