Located along the N5 road, midway between the towns of Castlebar and Westport, the rural village of Islandeady (Irish: Oileán Éadaígh) nestles in the shadow of Ireland's holy mountain, Croagh Patrick.
Two stories prevail as to how Islandeady got its name. One is that when the first people arrived in the area they lived on the island (where the graveyard is now situated) and washed their clothes in the water surrounding it – hence 'Oileán Éadaígh'. The second and more popular story is that the name Islandeady or 'Oileán Éadaígh' evolved from the 13th Century Saint Eiden/Aidan who lived in the small peninsula surrounded by Bilberry Lake and who founded a church there.
Islandeady born Enda Kenny was elected Taoiseach on March 9, 2011 and under his leadership Fine Gael has become the largest political organisation in the State. Born on April 24th 1951, Enda was educated locally at St Patrick's National School in Cornanool and St Gerald's College in Castlebar. He became a primary school teacher and taught locally in Islandeady in his early career.
His father, Henry Kenny, was a Fine Gael TD since 1954 and Enda became involved in politics when he started helping his father with constituency clinics in the early 1970s. Enda was first elected to the Dáil in a by-election in the Mayo constituency in 1975, following the untimely death of his father. Enda was elected on the first count with 52% of the vote, and at 24 he was the youngest member of the 20th Dáil. He served as Minister for Tourism and Trade from 1994 to 1997. He has led Fine Gael since 2002.
A keen sports enthusiast, Enda likes to hillwalk, cycle and play golf. He has played for, coached and managed the local Islandeady gaelic football team in his time with them.
Irish amateur boxer Ray Moylette, from Derrycooraune, Islandeady, has brought honour to his locality with a number of coveted boxing titles to his name. Moylette won a gold medal in the lightweight (60 kg) division, 2008 World Youth Amateur Boxing Championships in Guadalajara, Mexico. In 2011 he won a gold medal in the Light Welterweight division, European Amateur Boxing Championships in Ankara. Moylette represents St Anne's Boxing Club in Westport, with whom he has been boxing since the age of six.
The townlands of Islandeady have mixed agricultural lands including fertile green fields, moor land, bogs, marshy areas, mountain rock and stony soil. There is an abundance of rivers and lakes in the area and many contain protected species of wild life. The main lakes are Bilberry Lake and Lough Lannagh, but there are several lesser known ones too. Many other sites of remarkable natural beauty abound and there is a 500 year old oak wood - Cornagashlaun Oak Wood.
The parish of Islandeady extends from Ayle near Aughagower on the south to the Crumpaun river near Glenhest on the north. It borders six other parishes in the Diocese of Tuam - Kilmeena, Westport, Aughagower, Carnacon, Castlebar and Newport. Islandeady also borders Lahardane parish (Addergoole) in the Diocese of Killala.
Nestled as it is in the shadow of Croagh Patrick, the Roman Catholic church in Islandeady is dedicated to St Patrick. Legend has it that St Patrick, on his way to the holy mountain in 440 AD, visited Raheens in Islandeady, where he preached on the shores of a lake in the peaceful little parish. St Patrick's Church was originally thatched, but in 1849 the then parish priest, Rev John Fitzgerald, had the building slated and the centre aisle was also added. Further refurbishments have been undertaken over the years, with the most recent being a new extension - kitchenette, store room, toilets & Prayer garden - at the rear of the Church, completed in 2009. This extension was named St Aidans room, called after the old church ruin of St Aidan in Islandeady Cemetery.
Aolain was a hermit saint who lived in Islandeady, and from whom the other half of the parish, Glenisland ('Gleann Aolain') gets its name. In nearby Pollanass, there is a double-cupped stone reputed to show the marks of the hermit’s knees. The Church of the Holy Rosary in Glenisland was built in 1820 for 150 pounds.
Islandeady is rich in historical and archaeological landmarks and sites, some of which date from the Bronze Age.
The parish of Islandeady has four national schools - at Cloggernagh, Leitir, Cougala and Cornanool - and a private secondary school - St Patrick's Academy, Islandeady.