Islandeady Community Council, Rinnaseer, Islandeady, Co. Mayo   |   email: islandeadyadm@gmail.com  liamkeaveney84@gmail.com facebook twitter

St Patrick's Church, Islandeady & Holy Rosary Church,

Glenisland

The Roman Catholic Churches of St. Patrick's Church Islandeady and Holy Rosary Church Glenisland are unique and peaceful places of worship. The parish seeks to make known the Good News of Christ more fully, through worship, service and witness. Our parish cherishes all people equally, in keeping with the three Gospel Principles of Truth, Justice and Love.

Following this introduction you are encouraged to read the proud history of our parish. Our two churches are thriving and are well attended by the vast majority of faithful parishioners since the time of the famine. Our places of worship are a unifying force and a central meeting place for centuries.

The parish is privileged to have in place a well motivated and caring Pastoral Council and approximately 200 other dedicated, committed people involved in different aspects of Church Life and Church Ministries - such as Ministers of the Word, Ministers of the Eucharist, Choir, Servers, Church Stewards, Caretakers, Offertory Collectors, Finance Committee, Church Cleaners, Altar Society etc

The Primary role of the Islandeady-Glenisland Pastoral Council is to help with the running of major events in the church in consultation with the Priest. The Pastoral Council ensures that the important Church events and activities continue to take place in the event of the Priest not being available. The Pastoral Council meets about every two months depending on the needs of the parish. If an urgent issue arises the group meet more frequently.

Current Goals and Achievements of the Pastoral Council are: Improved Parking at Churches; Organised events for helpers in church; Help with major events like communions, confirmations and funerals; Organise a vigil to Knock every October; Improve the liturgy at Mass; Encourage and support priest and parishioners . and much more .

In recent years, because of the very understandable interest in family roots, a wonderful 'Family History Centre' has been established in Ballinrobe and they are most helpful. Web site: mayo.irish-roots.net e-mail: soumayo@iol.ie phone: +353-94-9541214. They have computerised all church and civil records for this purpose. Within a short ten miles radius of this parish of Islandeady there are another ten churches - all with individual church records. The advantage of having all these records and the records of hundreds of other churches in one place is obvious. Some people also find it helpful to check the 1911 Census at: www.census.nationalarchives.ie/search

Records of people buried in Islandeady and Glenisland Cemeteries are with Mayo County Council who own the Cemeteries. You can also view these graves on: www.irishgraveyards.ie

For more community and church information you might like to check the Islandeady-Glenisland Parish Newsletter each week on this website and also at: www.mayo.ie

Islandeady-Glenisland Pastoral Council Contacts:

Chairperson: Bernie Joyce. Phone 086-8705451.
Secretary: Teresa Walsh. Phone 087-6166618.
Vice Chairperson: Mary Staunton. Phone 087-9151261.
Assistant Secretary: Mary Corcoran. Phone 087-6166938.

Two representatives on Westport Deanery Pastoral Council:
Noreen Sadler: Phone 087-2982694.
Breege Carney: Phone 087-6707924.

Weekend Mass times in Islandeady-Glenisland Parish:

Saturday Evening: Glenisland Church: 7 pm
Sunday Morning: Islandeady Church: 11 am

Holyday Masses: Same as Weekend Masses.

Adoration of The Eucharist in Glenisland Church on MON/WED 7 to 8 pm and Adoration in Islandeady Church SUN/MON/TUES 7 to 8 pm and THUR 8 to 9 pm.

Weddings, Baptisms, Funerals etc by arrangement with the priest.

Contact: Fr Chris Brennan SMA, Adm. Phone: 094-9024125 Mob: 087-1962674
Email: brennan2islands@gmail.com or islandeadyadm@gmail.com

Islandeady-Glenisland Parish Newsletter,
You can view the latest newsletter here.

Islandeady Parish - A Short History by Seán Rice.

According to local historian Paddy Browne (and recorded by Lewis in 1837) Islandeady and Glenisland Churches were built in 1820. Glenisland church was built in 1820 at a cost of £150 and Islandeady church was built in 1820 at a cost of £300. The population of Islandeady parish at that time was 8,564.

The name Islandeady or Oileán Éadaigh is derived from 13th century St Aidan who founded a church in the hillside cemetery. A church site at Annagh dates from Patrician times. Ancient churches were at Rahins, which Patrick also visited, Drimneen, Kilbree and Knockbawn in Glenisland.

Aolain, who gives his name to Glenisland 'Gleann Aolain', was a saint who lived here. Nearby, in Pollanass, is a double-cupped stone reputed to show the marks of the hermit's knees.

Islandeady parish stretches from Crumpaun river near Glenhest on the north, to Ayle near Aughagower on the south. It borders six more parishes in Tuam Diocese - Kilmeena, Westport, Aughagower, Carnacon, Castlebar, and Newport (on a spot on Beltra lake). Islandeady also borders Lahardane parish (Addergoole) in the Diocese of Killala.

Islandeady-Glenisland parish stretches 20 km ie almost 15 miles from one end of the parish to the other - from the end of Beltra lake to the top of Sheeaune hill. There are five national schools in the parish - Glenisland, Cornanool, Leitir, Cloggernagh, Coguala.

Traces of Mass paths in many villages leading to the Church are proof of the devotion of the people to the Mass. In 1574 Islandeady was a curacy only. In 1591, however, Rev. Hubert Og Burke was parish priest and Rev John Hubain curate.

The present church of Islandeady, dedicated to St Patrick, was originally thatched. On his appointment as parish priest in 1849 Rev John Fitzgerald had the building slated and the centre aisle, or 'long house', was added.

The Church of the Holy Rosary in Glenisland was built in 1820 for 150 pounds.

Islandeady was decimated by the Famine. In 1834 the Catholic population was 9,164. Two decades later, the number had dwindled by half. In 1844 there were 370 baptisms. Nine years later only one hundred babies were baptised. The population of the parish in 2013 stood at 1580.

The earliest recorded baptisms and marriages come from Rev Richard Henry, appointed parish priest in 1839. Celebrations marking 150 years of those records were held in 1989.

Evictions were commonplace when Rev Thomas O'Malley, a Jesuit, was appointed parish priest in 1872. Fr. O'Malley, a native of the parish, was highly influential and his intervention saved many tenants from eviction by the agents of landlords to whom he did not endear himself.

A former curate, Rev Francis J. McCormack, (1862-1867), was appointed Bishop of Achonry and, from 1887 until his death in 1909, was Bishop of Galway.

Further refurbishment of St Patrick's Church was undertaken by Rev Stephen Blowick - brother of Fr. John, cofounder of the Society of St Columban - following his appointment as parish priest in 1951. Rev Anthony O'Toole had the main aisle Porch added in 1988.

In more recent times Rev Pat Donnellan built a new extension at the rear of the Church - St Aidans room, kitchenette, store room, toilets & Prayer garden. This was completed in May 2009.

St Patrick's Church Islandeady - in the shadow of Croagh Patrick - is named after our Patron Saint Patrick. The recent extension is called St Aidan's room - called after the old Church Ruin of St Aidan in Islandeady Cemetery which gives our Parish its name (Oileán Éadaigh i.e. the Island of Aidan).

The name of Glenisland church reflects devotion to Our Lady of the Rosary and is called Holy Rosary Church Glenisland. In April 2013 the parish was reduced from two priests to one priest.

Seán Rice.

'They lived among Us' - 1704 to 2013 - by Fr. Pat Donnellan, PP.

Below you can read the names of Priests who have served in the parish of Islandeady-Glenisland for the past three hundred years. We ourselves could name many more priests - native sons, family connections, priests from other parishes - who remain in the memory.

There is a lovely image in the book of Exodus where the outstretched arms of Moses began to grow weary. Just as he was about to let his arms drop his friends rushed to support him and then his outstretched arms remained firm. The priests you have known would find their arms growing very heavy if you weren't there to support them and encourage them and work along with them. Anything that raises the heart, lifts the spirit, and builds community is essentially religious and so we are all religious almost unknown to ourselves.

We may be too excited on the wedding day, too sad on the funeral day, but down through the ages we claim the ordinary weekend Mass as our very own. And often it's very ordinary indeed. I'm sure you sometimes look up at the altar and say 'Is that fella, dead or alive'? What you may not realise is that the priest may be asking the same question about you. But 'dead or alive', the tired priest and the bent backs of the people are saying something very important. The priest as he goes about his sacred business and the people as they nod in their seats are acknowledging a presence greater than themselves. I know that generations of people - sometimes tired, bothered and worried - have sagged in the church seats in Islandeady and Glenisland and many more churches, trying to keep their thoughts from straying, and I know with equal certainty that future generations will take their place.

That is what counts. The faith of the people. This is what will last. Priests will come and priests will go but this goes on. Ordinary people of Islandeady gathering, sitting, standing, kneeling together to hear the good word of hope and encouragement, and breaking the bread of companionship and friendship. This is what endures. This finally is what sustains the priest and keeps him going - keeps his heart up as well as his arms.

As we read the names and reflect on the priests who lived among us let us remember the words of Karl Rahner:

"The Priest is not an angel sent from Heaven. He is a man chosen from among men, a member of your church, a Christian. Remaining man and Christian he begins to speak to you the word of God. This word is not his own. Perhaps he has not entirely understood it himself. So, my dear friends, pray for him, carry him so that he can sustain others - by bringing to them the mystery of God's love."

Past Parish Priests and Curates of Islandeady

1704 -
Rev. Aneas McDonnell

1808-1817
Rev. Thomas Kean.

1817-1839
Rev. Matthias McMahon. (Note: These names are not on the records).

1839-1848
Rev. Richard Henry, P.P. He was the first to record parish records of Baptisms and Marriages. He died in 1848, aged 48 and is buried in the old cemetery.

1839-1847
Curates: Rev. W. Whelan, Rev. Michael Gallagher, Rev. M. Gill, Rev. W. Cunningham, Rev. P. O'Malley.

1849-1872
Rev. John Fitzgerald P.P. He was a native of Cong. He lived in Dooleague. The Church at the time was a thatched building. He remodelled it and added the new or "long house" as it is called, and a plaque on the surrounding churchyard commemorates the fact that he had the Church slated in 1856. He died 6th January 1872 and is buried in the old cemetery.

1860 -1862
Rev. Patrick Fitzgerald. C.C.

1862-1867
Rev. Francis J. McCormack C.C. He lived with his sister Mrs Ellen Hynes in Dooleague. A native of Ballintubber, he was appointed Bishop of Achonry in 1872 and Bishop of Galway 1887. He died in 1909.

1867-1872
Fr. Thomas O'Malley C.C. appointed P.P. in 1872.

1872-1897
Rev. Thomas O'Malley, P.P. a native of the parish, claiming descent from the de Burgos and O'Malley clan. His Family had a small estate at Cloonan near the Church. The remains of their residence are still there. He lived in 'Cloonan House'. He was a Jesuit but by special permission, after the death of his father was allowed on the Diocesan Mission. He was very influential and in the days of the landlords saved many tenants from the evicting agent of landlord, Sir Robert Palmer - "Black" Francis O'Donnell. He died on 22nd May 1897 and is buried in the Church under a plaque erected to his memory.

1883-87
Rev. Patrick Corcoran C.C.

1887-89
Rev. Michael Murphy C.C.

1889-95
Rev. Mathias Lavelle C.C.

1895-1897
Rev. James Heaney C.C.

1897-1898
Rev. James Godfrey C.C.

1898-1900
Rev. Michael Hughes C.C. A note in the Marriage Register states (quote) "October 1898 Rev. Michael Hughes appointed as a half curate of united parishes of Kilmeena and Islandeady."

1897-1918
Rev. William Coen P.P.

1900-
Rev. Michael Hannan C.C.

1900-1902
Rev. Martin Colleran C.C. He later went to Killala.

1902-1905
Rev. William Faulkner C.C.

1905-1907
Rev. Thomas Heaney C.C.

1907-1911
Rev. John O'Dea C.C.

1911-1914
Rev. Michael Hughes was appointed Administrator of the Parish.

1911-1914
Rev. James P. Prendergast C.C.

1912-1914
Rev. J.J. Cafferky C.C.

1915-16
Rev. William Lavelle C.C. He died from pneumonia on 11th December 1916 Aged 35 years and is buried in the Church grounds.

1917-21
Rev. Edward Whelan C.C.

1919
Rev. John J. Tuffy C.C.

1919-1950
Rev. Paul McLoughlin P.P. A native of Letterfrack. He was a great character, sharp and witty of tongue, but kind and charitable. He died on 30th July 1950 and is buried in the Church grounds.

1921
Rev. John Hyland C.C.

1925-1931
Rev. Michael Morris C.C.

1931-38
Rev. Martin Lee C.C. Later P.P. Keelogues.

1938-1942
Rev. Matthew Loftus C.C. Later P.P. Menlough.

1942-1952
Rev. James P. Prendergast C.C. Later P.P. Aughagower

1950-1951
Rev. Seamus Downey C.C. Temporary as parish was vacant. Died C.C. in Roundfort 1979.

1950-1973
Rev. Stephen Blowick, P.P. Later appointed Canon. He extensively renovated the parish Church. Brother of Fr. John Blowick, co-founder of the Society of St. Columban. He died on 7th November 1976 is buried in the Church grounds.

1953-1957
Rev. Thomas Quinn C.C. He extensively renovated Glenisland Church. Retired as P.P. Williamstown.

1957-1964
Rev. Thomas Martin C.C. Later P.P. Corandulla, Co. Galway.

1964-1971
Rev. Malachy King C.C. Retired as P.P. Caherlistrane, Tuam.

1971-1979
Rev. Patrick Greally C.C. He built a new presbytery in Glenisland.

1973-1975
Rev. Thomas Dooley P.P. He lived in a house in Sheeaune. He died on 16th December 1975 and is buried in the church grounds.

1975-1980
Rev. John McHugh P.P. He died on 7th May 1980 and is buried in Church grounds. He built a new presbytery close to the Church.

1979-1980
Rev. Richard Horan C.C. Retired as P.P. Moore, Ballinasloe.

1980-1988
Rev. Seamus Carter C.C. Retired as P.P. Kilmaine

1989 - Jan to May
Rev. Gerard Burns, C.C. Glenisland. Temporary.

1989 - 1992
Rev. Jackie Conroy. C.C. Glenisland.

1980 -1990
Rev. Anthony O'Toole P.P. He had a new back Porch added to the Church in 1988. He died tragically on 3rd August 1990 and is buried in the Church grounds.

1990 - 2001
Rev. Colm Burke, P.P. He moved to Barnacarroll in July 2001.

1992 - 2000
Rev. Redmond Lyons, C.C. Glenisland.

2000 - 2003
Rev. Arthur Devine, CC. Glenisland.

2001 -
Rev. Pat Donnellan, appointed P.P. Islandeady in July 2001.

2003 - 2005
Rev. Thomas Gallagher, C.C. Glenisland.

2006 until 31st March 2013
Rev. Martin O'Keefe, CC. Glenisland.

In April 2013 Islandeady-Glenisland parish was reduced from two priests to one priest.

In July 2017 Rev. Pat Donnellan, P.P. retired due to ill health.

2017 - Rev. Chris Brennan, SMA, appointed Administrator Islandeady-Glenisland in July 2017.

In April 2013 Islandeady-Glenisland parish was reduced from two priests to one priest.
Three priests from Islandeady parish were ordained for Tuam Diocese:
• Rev. Martin Jennings, P.P. Parke, now deceased R.I.P.
• Cannon John Sweeney, P.P. Claremorris, now deceased R.I.P.
• Rev. Denis Carney, at present P.P. Balla-Belcarra.

Serving on the missions:
• Rev. Michael Brady, S.M.A. is serving as a Priest in Africa for over 40 years.
• Rev. James Sweeney R.I.P. died on the 2nd October 1999 and is buried in the grounds of St Patricks Church, Islandeady.

All through the years also there have been many Sisters in religion, both at home and abroad and some religious Brothers. Addendum. The Village of Carnacle, was formerly in Islandeady. It appears too that in earlier days there were two curates in the parish. Later at times there was none for some years. The curate in this century lived at Cornanool. The house there was sold in 1947 and a residence bought in Glenisland near the church. There is a new presbytery there now.

A Room of Dreams - by Seán Rice

In St Patrick's Church in Islandeady Fr Pat Donnellan has built the room of his dreams. Since it opened, the extension has become the centre of significant social activity . . . and a monument to the vision of the parish priest.

Overflowing congregations at church ceremonies enjoy the comforts St Aidan's Room has to offer. It is also used as a mortuary chapel of repose, for the celebrations of anniversaries and birthdays, a meeting place for people after weekend Mass . . . an indispensable feature of parish activity.

And it is intrinsically linked to the venerable old building as if it were part of the original plan.

'I have a dream,' Fr Pat told parishioners back in 2008, 'a dream for Islandeady Church! I dream that one day we will have a fine New Room at the back of the church, connected out from the main porch'.

He listed seven reasons why the room was needed, paramount among them the urgency to cater for the overflow of congregations on Confirmation Days, First Communion, funerals and other occasions. The room he dreamed of would have a large TV screen, relaying Mass from the main altar.

On too many occasions, he said, he had distributed communion to so many people standing out in the freezing cold on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. The new room would obviate such hardship.

Nobody protested and the resourceful parish priest wasted no time in setting about realising his dream. A building committee was formed consisting of Seán Sweeney and Seán O'Boyle, of the Pastoral Council; John McCormack and Joe Moylette of the church finance committee, architect Kieran O'Connell and Fr Pat himself.

Visits to other churches were undertaken, plans drawn up and costed, and planning permission sought for the new extension. Work on the building commenced in January 2009. By May it was completed and paid for, and used for First Communion and Confirmation that same month.

'Our main Church, St Patrick's Church Islandeady - in the shadow of Croagh Patrick - is named after our Patron Saint. Our new extension is called St Aidan's room - after the old Church Ruin of St Aidan in Islandeady Cemetery which gives our Parish its name (Oileán Éadaigh i.e. the Island of Aidan)' said Fr Pat.

St Aidan's room, he said, was a very happy addition to the church in Islandeady. To date it had been used to cater for larger numbers on the occasion of funerals, weddings, Confirmation and First Communion ceremonies. 'It has also been invaluable for large crowds at Christmas & Easter. And it serves as a mortuary chapel of repose on the occasion of funerals.'

Because the new structure is not visible from the outside the integrity of the old architecture has not been compromised. Feel free to look around, he urged, and if the weather is fine sit a while in the garden area outside at the water fountain 'a nice peaceful place to relax, unwind and perhaps pray.'

He extends a special welcome to parents of young children and invites them to use St Aidan's to participate in the Mass as if they were in the main part of the church. 'Encourage the children,' he said 'to sit and watch the screen as Mass is relayed, and not to run around, shout or talk during the ceremonies.'

All who visit the church for any occasion are free to use the kitchen facilities to make tea and prepare refreshments. 'If you are having an anniversary Mass, wedding, baptism or whatever, you are most welcome to use the kitchen to prepare food and make tea,' said Fr Pat. 'All we ask is that you leave the kitchen area and the room clean and tidy afterwards.'

Fr Pat emphasised that there was no charge for use of St Aidan's for funerals or for any other parish or family occasion. Generous neighbours do the catering for funerals and the parish covers the costs. If neighbours are not available, Islandeady Caring Services kindly help out. People also are free to make their own arrangements for any occasion.

Birthday parties are encouraged. There, just over two years ago, Fr Pat marked his own 60th birthday to which the whole parish was invited, the celebrations lasting well into the early hours of the morning . . . in the room of his dreams.

(Seán Rice)

Islandeady Parish - Memories of local historian Paddy Browne, Derrycooraune.

ISLANDEADY PARISH CHURCH

In the olden days you entered the Longhouse or sometimes called the New House, through the porch which is now the Confessional. The women sat on the left facing the Altar and the men sat on the right side. There were two galleries. The one on the east side of the Altar was known as the Gentlemen's Gallery while the one on the west side was the Poormen's Gallery. Some of the people who used the gentlemen's gallery were Matthew Fahey (he owned a big farm some of which was later acquired by the land commission), Joe Bradley, Station Master, Pat Hughes NT, Dr. Murphy, Mary McCormack and others whose names I have forgotten. Before my time R.I.C. from the local barracks used the Gentlemen's Gallery.

As a boy I was one night at a Mission - in the 1930s - and the lighting was by little wall lamps. I think the Missioners were Cross and Passion. In the 1950s I heard the Redemptorists preaching fire and brimstone and women crying. Tilley and Aladdin lamps were used in the 50s.

In the early 1950s Fr. Stephen Blowick, P.P. had the Church renovated. The Architects were Kelly & Jones and the contractor was Tom McHugh. The Galleries were taken away, new windows were put in and new seats were put in the east and west side of the Altar.

From 1704 until the 1780s priests were in great danger with a bounty on a priest's head. During the 1780s the law was relaxed. Sean na Sagairt killed several priests in the Lough Carra area before he met his death at the hands of a farmer named McCann. He was killed near Partry Barracks. The Red Coats were there but no one was brought to trial for his death. He was buried in Ballintubber Abbey Cemetery.

ISLANDEADY PARISH 1914

Fr. Coen replaced by Fr. Hughes, Adm.

There was talk of conscription and many young men joined the Volunteers. There were men being trained to the use of firearms. Some men joined the British Army. Other men picketed the recruiting offices. There was a split in the Volunteers - some followed Redmond while others decided to do their fighting at home. The Easter Rising in Dublin was crushed and the leaders executed. Some Co Councils condemned the rising but there were others who saw the dead leaders as martyrs and towards 1918 the R.I.C. were withdrawn from barracks in the country. The Big Snow came in 1917 and a man named Ryce from Driminaha died and gangs of men from various villages worked for days clearing the snowdrifts from his house to Islandeady Cemetery.

The Great Flu came in 1919 and there were many funerals. Dr. Moran from Westport was the Dispensary doctor. There were no drugs in these days to combat the flu and Dr. Moran was on the road night and day. Whiskey was the only remedy. It was noted that there were less deaths in villages where Poitín was plentiful. Poitín and warm milk was used.

The local R.I.C. Barracks was burned on Easter Saturday 1920 as well as hundreds of other barracks throughout the country. The last sergeant in the Islandeady Barracks was Sergeant Kearns and I talked to an ex R.I.C. man named Carty who had been stationed in Islandeady. He told me he was often on guard duty at Rahins House which was owned by the Browns who were Protestants. Fr. Paul was a frequent visitor to Rahins House. Two of the Browns were famous doctors and one was in the Rotunda until the 1950s.

Many R.I.C. men resigned and were replaced by the Black & Tans who raided houses and tortured innocent people. A Black & Tan was killed at Driminaha when one of his grenades exploded. The I.R.A. formed Flying Columns and shortly after an ambush at Carrowkennedy, where a number of Tans were killed, a Treaty was arranged. The British withdrew from the 26 counties. Then came the split which led to the Civil War which caused a lot of destruction. The Post Office in Islandeady which was owned by the Tuohy Family was robbed. The Civil War ended in 1923. There had been internment and executions which left a lot of bitterness. Many of the men who fought the Tans went to the United States of America. The Free State government had no money. Bridges had been blown-up and cost money to repair. At one Budget a shilling was taken off the Old Age Pensions and wages were reduced. In the 1930s Dev got into power and trouble with England over Land Annuities. There followed the Economic War. The English put a tariff on Irish cattle. Dev responded by encouraging people to boycott English imports. Slogans were painted on walls outside public houses, "Boycot Bass", "Burn everything English". Then the Blue Shirts appeared led by General O'Duffy. With a lot of help from the old I.R.A. Dev got the better of the Blue Shirts and O'Duffy went to Spain to help Franco in the Spanish Civil War. Dev gave the Free Beef to the poor. Big bullocks were sold for £3. There was very little money in Fr. Paul's Parish but he helped people who were in need. On a wet morning he would delay the Mass for a few minutes because he knew that many people had to walk miles across fields to attend Mass. (They (wouldn't do it now!).

1704 -1808

Fr. Aneas Mc Donnel would have gone into hiding to escape capture. Priests and teachers were hunted down like wolves until the late 1780s. Sean na Sagairt was operating in the Lough Cara area and met his death close to Partry Barracks. A number of people who were at Mass in a two story building close to Castlebar panicked and several were crushed. Some houses had underground rooms where priests could hide. Priests travelled disguised as labourers or journey-men but they couldn't carry any sacred objects. The latter were hidden close to a Mass Rock. There is the legend of a priest being captured and a girl disguised as a ballad singer going to the place where he was held and she kept singing "an raibh tu ag an gCarraig" until the priest answered in Irish and told her where she would find the Sacred objects.

The hedge schoolmaster picked out suitable students and they were brought to Spain or France where they could study for the priesthood. Students who were not suitable made their way home and were known as the Poor Scholars.

Fr. Michael Hughes

When Fr. Michael Hughes became Administrator of Islandeady Parish he found the parish divided - one was pro-English and the other was Sinn Fein. Fr. Hughes was pro-English. He was a hard worker and a great organizer. He had influence with the Congested District Board. Later he helped in bringing the Bacon Factory to Castlebar. He was involved in the setting up of a Co-Op and had a small mill where the farmers could have the corn ground. He was often invited to other parishes to help form Co-Ops. Sin Fein got a great majority in the 1918 elections and set up Dail Eireann which was immediately suppress by England and had to hold their meetings secretly. The R.I.C. and the English Courts were boycotted and the republican Police and courts were active.

Fr. William Coen 1897 -1918

There were no seats in the Parish Church when Fr. Coen was appointed P.P. and the floor was limestone gravel. Fr. Coen got the seats and they are still in the part of the Church which was known as the Long House. Each house paid 5 shillings. The seats to the left and right of the Altar were put there in the 1950s. My Mother said Fr. Coen was a great priest for the first few years. He was a Land League supporter and was known in many parishes even as far as Keenagh which is the Crosomolina Parish and the Diocese of Killala. It seems he served as a curate in Newport also. He came to the attention of the Archbishop and trouble followed.

Fr. Paul McLoughlinn 1919-1950

When Fr Paul McLoughlin arrived in Islandeady he found that there was a lot of work that had to be done. He furnished the house and planted a garden. He planted fruit trees and bought cattle. He had around six acres of land and usually kept three shorthorn cows and a few dry stock. He employed a boy and a girl as a housekeeper. The boy looked after the cows and sometimes served Mass.

Fr. Paul had no interest in politics. When a British officer abused him when he was reading the Burial Service for the two Volunteers killed at Clonkeen, he showed no fear and told the officer he would do his duty as a priest with or without the officers permission. The Black and Tans searched for the flags that had draped the coffins but two women had concealed the flags in their clothes.

Fr. Paul was attending a Wind-up Station in Kilmeena on the day of the Kilmeena ambush. He probably attended the dying Volunteers along with Fr Killeen of Newport. Paddy Jordan was an I.R.A. officer and a native of Islandeady. He died in a Dublin hospital from wounds sustained in the Kilmeena ambush. In Dublin, when his coffin was being put on the train, Michael Collins make a brief appearance at the station (Collins had £10,000 on his head). Fr. Paul read the Mass in Black for Paddy Jordan in Islandeady Parish Church and would have read the burial prayers at the graveside in the Old Cemetery in Kilmeena. He would have been the only Parish Priest of Islandeady who did his duty as a priest surrounded by Black & Tans.

In the 1920s there was very little money in the parish and the Parish Church had to be re-roofed in 1928. John McGowan who come from Glenisland was the contractor and the work continued until 1932. Money was owed to the contractor and in about 1936 there was a small amount still due and Fr. Paul asked the people to make up something around £100 and he would pay the remainder out of his own pocket, and in this way the Church was free of debt.

He put up a hayshed, grew oats and potatoes and often had potatoes left over which he gave to anyone in need.

I was there the day they laid him to rest in the Church grounds. There were priests from many parishes. I remember seeing Fr. Angelus, the Guardian of the Reek. He was a Capuchin priest and years later he died in the Presbytery in Westport.

Short note on three more Priests

Fr. Blowick was a good priest. His brother Fr. Peter read a very slow Mass one Sunday - he was staggering on the Altar and died a few hours later.

Fr. Dooley was a friendly priest. He lived at Sheeaune, was popular and died there. He had an ailment.

Fr McHugh was good worker. He was always working at his new house. While reading Mass he fell and fractured his skull. He died in Castlebar Hospital.

Prayer before Mass

We offer the Mass in grateful remembrance of all He has done and suffered for the love of us. Making special commemoration of His bitter Passion and Death and of His glorious Resurrection and Ascension into Heaven. For our rulers and all who are in high places; that they may lead quiet and holy lives; for peace and good-will among all states and peoples; for the necessities of mankind and particularly for the congregation here present; to obtain all the graces we stand in need of in this life; everlasting happiness in the next and eternal rest for the faithful departed.

Vouchsafe O Almighty and Eternal God, for to Thee alone the homage of Sacrifice is due - graciously to accept it for these and all other purposes agreeable to Thou Holy Will and to render it the more pleasing, we offer it to Thee, to the same Jesus Christ your Divine Son our High Priest and Victim to Whom be Honour, Praise and Glory for ever and ever. Amen

Paddy Browne, Derrycooraune (local historian)

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