Walsh Island (Irish: Inis na mBreatnach) is a small village in county Offaly, Ireland. It takes its name from the surrounding hinterland which is a fertile area of land on a hill (104m) located in a vast area of bogland known as the Bog of Allen, (hence, "island"). The village is one kilometre west of the R400 regional road which runs through the bog below. Walsh Island is 12 km from the nearest town, Portarlington.
Inis na mBreatnach
Entrance to Walsh Island
|Elevation||89 m (292 ft)|
|Time zone||UTC+0 (IST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-1 (IST (WEST))|
|Irish Grid Reference|
Sports and CultureEdit
Walsh Island is known throughout the country for its achievements in Gaelic Athletic Association. The small village has produced two All-Ireland winning football captains in Willie Bryan and Richie Connor. Walsh Island's Matt Connor was also selected in 1999 as a member of the GAA Millennium Football team. Matt was also the subject of a Laochra Gael television programme on TG4. The club's intermediate level team was also featured on the RTÉ programme ParkLive in 2006.
The local soccer team, the Walsh Island Shamrocks, has been very successful during its 20-year history. The team plays its home games at Carty Park. They play in the C.C.F.L League (for teams from Counties Offaly, Laois, Westmeath and Longford).
The village also has a small handball alley which was restored by Walsh Island development group and officially opened on August 1, 2015. Walsh Island is also known for having a well preserved blacksmith's forge in the village centre.
A threshing festival is held in Walsh Island each summer to celebrate the harvest season, called the Hopper's Harvest. It incorporates a vintage tractor run, traditional cooking, butter making, animal display and a dog show. The event is usually held in August.
Bogland plays a major role in the culture and economy of Walsh Island. Its "island" name is thought to refer to the fact that the village is surrounded by bogs - which may have flooded in centuries gone by, creating an "island".
The Mountlucas Wind Farm, just outside the village, is a popular walking route.
Walsh Island is known for thriving business especially in the past but still has many small businesses. It has had two shops: Kavanagh's Store which incorporates the local post office, owned by John and Breda Kavanagh, and the Island Shop (now stopped trading). The village has one pub called 'The Hoppers', featured recently on "Pub Spy" with a glowing report and 4 star pint. The Hoppers is run by Paul and Madeleine Flint.