Islandeady Community Council, Rinnaseer, Islandeady, Co. Mayo   |   email:  Fr. Chris Brennan: facebook

Islandeady Environment & Heritage Group

This group has an interest in preserving the heritage of Islandeady and its environment.

The organising committee is Pauline Rice, Marian Irwin, John Moylette Joe Moylette and Noreen Sadler.


Actress Julie Walters & her proud Islandeady Heritage

A visit to Islandeady Graveyard encourages us to pray for the many people
who have sadly passed away. Many are long forgotten, and some are buried in
unmarked graves. They came from the hills and hollows of the parish; they
walked the high roads and the low roads of Islandeady. All were part and
parcel of the local scene.

Talented award winning actress, Julie Walters, has not forgotten her
Islandeady ancestors. Her interest and pride in her family genealogy was
portrayed in a recent B.B.C. T.V. Documentary “Who do you think you are?”
which was shown on B.B.C. One on August 14th.

The compelling Documentary captured the journey of the actress from her home
in England to Islandeady to trace her lineage. Research revealed that the
mother of the actress was Mary O'Brien from Carrowbeg. Mary's grandfather,
Anthony Clarke, lived in Ballinamorrogue and was among the first to join the
Mayo Land League in 1879.

Julie Walters interviewed local people on the T.V. Documentary. Owen
O'Malley, Ballinamorrogue, owns the Clarke farm and outbuildings nowadays
and he showed her the ruin of the old house. His ancestors were close
neighbours of Anthony Clarke and his family.

Julie was helped by several researchers in tracing the history of the Land
League. She discovered that her great-grandmother, Maria Clarke, took part
in the Ladies Branch of the Islandeady Land League which was organised by
Leader Michael Davitt, Straide. His family suffered an eviction from their
home in his young days.

The actress, who starred in such films as 'Educating Rita', 'Billy Elliot'
and 'Harry Potter' visited a Heritage Famine Cottage where an eviction took
place long ago and saw a 'Battering Ram' located outside the door... She was
shown several illustrations depicting the suffering and hardship which poor
families endured when rack-rents could not be paid.

In contrast the very large Mansion in Dublin which belonged to Landlord Sir
Roger Palmer, who owned 80,000 acres of Mayo land, was depicted in another

Julie Walters also visited Westport House where she heard her Bucannon
great-great grandfather held opposing views to his own relations.

At the end of the Documentary the film actress met Joe Moylette in
Islandeady Graveyard. As arranged Joe presented her with a tribute to
Anthony Clarke which was reported in the Connaught Telegraph relating to his
death in 1918. She was saddened by the fact that he died before being
allowed to own his land.

The name, Anthony Clarke, appears in an article 'Great Meeting in
Castlebar'. The event took place in 1898 to mark 100 years following the
famous Races of Castlebar led by General Humbert. . The story can be found
in the historic Islandeady/Glenisland book 'Through the Eye of the Bridge'
which was produced by Islandeady Heritage Action Group. Copies are still
available at €10.

By: Pauline Rice (Heritage Secretary) ________________________________________________________________________________________________

Islandeady Environment & Heritage Group - AIMS:

  • To foster an interest in and record for posterity the history of our people, their stories, customs and the events that shaped their lives.

  • Topinpoint the places of local historic, archaeological or ecological interest and to generate interest in preserving these.

  • To explore walkways round the parish so that we may showcase our unspoiled scenic views and places of interest.

  • As an addition to those aims the group has fostered an interest in local arts and crafts.

The Islandeady Heritage and the Environment Group has participated in the following projects in recent years:

  1. EXHIBITION Held two exhibitions in the Community Centre highlighting local photographs and heritage material along with local artwork and crafts.

  2. FILMING Participated with the Islandeady No Name Club, the Carers Action Group and a Galway film company in the production of a short film where our youth tried their hand at completing some tasks of a bye-gone era under the watchful eyes of our senior citizens, e.g. mowing with a scythe, cutting turf, going to the well for water, ironing clothes with an iron heated in the open fire etc.

  3. M.S.U.STUDENTS Met with and facilitated students from Michigan State University Margery Goodrich, Michelle Rosen, Kirsten Frieberger and Maddie Brady in their work of catalogueing the historic, archaeologic and ecological importance of Islandeady with a view to promoting walks around the parish.

  4. COURSE Attended a winter course in the G.M.I.T. on Heritage and the Local Landscape, going on field trips to see the work being undertaken in other parts of county Mayo.

  5. PROJECT Following from the course, completed a project “The Cut Stone Bridges of Islandeady”, (some 30 or so still remain)and were awarded joint first in a competition sponsored by Mayo County Council.

  6. TOUR Accompanied Mayo Co. Council officials on tour of our parish.

  7. ECOLOGY Accompanied ecologist Janet Fuller on a tour of 5 chosen bridges from the Bridge Walk to obtain a detailed description of the flora and fauna around each bridge.

  8. TOCHAR VALLEY Participated in the joint venture which includes Islandeady as an area in the Tochar Valley Network. This included trips to Balla, Aughagower and Murrisk.

  9. THREE NEW ROAD WALKS TESTED (a) Derrycoorane, (b) Knockaneadan and (c) Derradda-Cogaula

  10. WILD FLOWER BED Participated in having a wild-flower bed sown on a grassy slope near the church.

  11. RESTORATION Visited, helped and encouraged local historian, Paddy Browne to preserve his collection of manuscripts and encouraged and advised Joe Moylette and family in the restoration of Jack's Old Cottage in Derrycooraune.

  12. PRIDE OF PLACE Participated in the nation-wide Pride of Place initiative, which won an award for our parish for Social Cohesion after the judges toured the parish and saw many initiatives, e.g. fishing on the lake, football coaching etc, etc

  13. RESOURCE FOR OUR PRIMARY SCHOOLS Accompanied primary schoolchildren of the parish on the “Pride of Place” tour of the historic and archaeological highlights of Islandeady.

  14. INTERVIEWING Interviewed a cross section of parishioners, especially our senior citizens on their life stories.

  15. PUBLISHING Produced a full colour 170 page magazine, “Through the Eye of the Bridge”. This complements the previous magazine “Reflections”

  16. PROVIDED TOUR GUIDES Facilitated and guided groups doing the Bridge Loop Walk from the church car park, Rinaseer, Lykeen, Derrycourane, Driminahaha via Jack's Old Cottage and a welcome cuppa!

  17. BROCHURE Funded a full-colour brochure on Jacks Old Cottage to be distributed to tourist offices and accommodation centres around the county

  18. PRESERVATION Investigated the need to protect places which may fall into total ruin through neglect e.g. Annagh Church, Kilbree Church and the cillíní (children's burial graves) in Drimneen., the R.I.C. barracks etc

  19. PARISH RECORDS Following the great interest shown in our heritage records during the 2013 Gathering, visiting the five parish schools to encourage the preservation of the old school registers.

    ......................and the work goes on........................

© Copyright 2013 Islandeady Community Council, Community Centre, Rinnaseer, Islandeady, Co. Mayo   |   email:   |