’Reflections' The Islandeady and Glenisland Millennium Magazine
Tradition says that St. Patrick, on his way to Croagh Patrick, visited Raheens. Also it is noted that Islandeady would have belonged to the 'Patrician lands of Connaught'.
The date given by historians to St. Patrick's missionary work in Islandeady is 440 A.D, where he preached on the shores of a lake in the peaceful little parish.
Before the land acts were passed at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th Centuries, most of Islandeady parish was the property of three landlords, Browne, Palmer and Kilmaine.
Browne had no tenants but worked his huge demesne, which extended from Raheens along the shores of Castlebar and Islandeady Lakes, and was bounded on the northern side by the Newport road. Sir Walter Palmer owned the lands in Glenisland region and, unlike Browne he did have tenants.
The part of the parish between Palmer and Browne's estates belonged to Kilmaine. It was also tenanted. The parish was certainly in the hands of those tyrants when the Act of Union was passed in 1801, and possibly long before that. Tradition maintains that the Browne estate began with the Cromwellian plantation…..
If you are looking for good grammar you will not find it in this book. I am attempting to pass on a little information on the 1930s and 40s.
I am an old age pensioner now and will get the same pay no matter what time I get up. I worked at all kinds of jobs and did practically everything a man shouldn't do - bar kill a man - and believe me I was often on the verge of doing so.
I dealt with a lot of people, most of them crooks and a few of them saints. Last week they buried the sole survivor of a village that once had a hundred people. Soon under EEC there will be similar happenings.
"As the years before we were born Shall the years be when we are no more? And the years of a man are as waves That the wind drives to the shore" Derrycourane in the 1930s had the following householders…..
”Thomas O'Malley, I.R.A, Died 6th May 1921, Aged 20 Years R.I.P”
”Thomas Lally, I.R.A, Died 6th May 1921, Aged 19 Years, R.I.P”
Thus read the two sad gravestones in Islandeady Cemetery. Two young men who died before their time. They died at the hands of the infamous 'Black and Tans' in Cloonkeen, Islandeady.
In this modern era, when we think nothing of travelling long distances and are virtually immune to violence and destruction, we find it difficult to visualise a simpler time where the clock was a less obvious master and when people's dependence on nature and on the community as a whole was so much greater.
In an Ireland where young people largely did what their elders and especially the Church dictated, only extreme circumstances would lead young men to take up arms……
Glenisland, like other places throughout the country has progressed into the new Millennium. Whilst the younger people have only experienced one way of living and are mostly unaware of the past, I have had the good fortune to have experienced both ways of life amongst my good neighbours and friends in Sean Báile, Tom & Ita Reilly, John & Mary Sammon, and Maria & Joe Corcoran R.I.P.
Tom Reilly, one of the finest men one could ever wish to meet, has toiled on his land all his life, reaping and sowing with the help of his wife Ita. He and his horse Sam (and plough) worked from early till late, as did his neighbours the Sammons.
He cut turf with a slane and drew it home many miles in a horse and cart. At 86 years of age he still cuts his meadow behind the house with a scythe. Tom taught me to use a scythe. Some people are amused to hear that I still use it, but it is simply because I had a great teacher in Tom……
By Bernard Ludden as told to Noreen Sadler
Saturday's New Moon
Twice a year the new moon appears on a Saturday. Farmers in particular, dreaded its approach, as it seemed to bring the worst of weather - storm, rain or snow in winter and bad weather at other times of the year. This year's (2000) new moons fell on January 6th - 7th and on the 1st Saturday of July.
In summer people tried to ensure they wouldn't have hay lying on the ground that weekend. They preferred to wait until a week later, until the first quarter was over before cutting the hay.
If you had a cow due for calving you could judge for yourself from the phases of the moon whether she would calf or not. If she was due coming up to a new moon she would probably not calf until the next phase was over…
Serving Mass in Islandeady was my first experience of being in an all male club. Apologies girls, but in those non-PC days we were known as "altar boys", and like all "men only" clubs it gave you access to things you wouldn't otherwise have had.
Not that we ever thought to abuse our privilege in any way, shape or form. Getting off school to serve Mass in Canon Blowick's house, we recognised instinctively, as one of the many necessary sacrifices that went with our particular calling.
And, if there was any form of dalliance on sun soaked mornings down the Islandeady road it was only that we might be better prepared for our imminent servitude.
The old Canon with his august title, proceeding, one by one, to fold back the giant window shutters, flooding the darkened front room with sunlight. The centrepiece of the room, a huge heavy table made of highly polished wood surrounded by a stately series of high-backed, carved chairs only served to imbue us with further humility…
From the lake in Islandeady there's a view of seven hills Near the ancient Churchyard ruin wherein the Maker tills Birds sing sweetly in the trees - waves wash on the shore And lap about the anchored boats as fish leap by the score.
To view the woods of Raheens near the town of Castlebar And the lovely Isle of Bilberry like patchwork from afar Proud Nephin Mór is peeping from behind Glenisland peaks A pathway on this heather hill a happy wanderer seeks.
The Reek is standing sentinel o'er Sheeaune to the west The pilgrim path winds clearly to this lofty peak so blest The rolling Drumneen drumlins like Leitir and Fairhill From the high Kilfea to Greenhills you forget the world is ill…
The earliest memories are of inter-parish football where numbers of men gathered and played across parish boundaries near Ballinamorrogue in Jack McDonald's land between 1890 and 1900.
The parishes of Islandeady, Aughagower and Killawalla, and a half parish of Ballintubber, meet there.
The first known team was established in 1919 in the general increase of fervor in things Gaelic.
On this team were the following, with the villages, where known, in brackets: Tom Durkan, Tom and Pat Muldoon, Mike McHale (Drumneen), Tony Gibbons, Pat Murray (Cogaula), Tony, John and Mike Conaboy (Cashel), Tom O'Malley and John "Boatie" O'Malley (Rinaseer), Martin Dolan (Hollyhill), Paddy Walsh (Bunramhar), Sonny Cannon (Cornagushlaun), Michael and Paddy Cannon (Ballyheane), John Doyle (Knockbrack), Jimin Moylette and James Walsh (Kilfea), Ned Moylette (Derrycourane), J. Malone (Killawalla).
The main organizers of the team were Michael Staunton the local blacksmith and Sonny Cannon, both of whom were involved in the War of Independence…
Where to read more…
These are extracts of only a few of the many interesting and informative articles that appear in the Parish Millennium book 'Reflections'. It can be bought now at local Bookshops for only 13 Euro.
Alternatively, contact Caroline Price at Drumneen, Islandeady, Mayo, Ireland for your copy; the price will vary for postage and packing depending on where the order is from. It is 30 US Dollars to send to the USA by airmail. Surface mail is cheaper but can take up to 12 weeks to arrive.
We hope you enjoy the book!