School: Ball Áluinn (Balla) (roll number 1146)

Balla, Co. Mayo
P. Ó Maolanaigh

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The Local Saint

Archival Reference

The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0095, Page 186

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The saint connected with this parish was St. Cronan. Some say he was the same as Saint Mochu of Clondalkin. He came to Balla about 527 A.D. The remains of St Cronan's church can still be seen near the graveyard and Round Tower. Before Saint Cronan's time Balla was known as Ros Dairbhtha. He said it was to have its name changed to Ball Áluinn or the beautiful spot. Others say the name Balla came from the word Balla a wall.

There was a monastery under St Cronan in Balla. The remains of all except the church, the well and the Round Tower are now gone. Even the tower is not now as high as it had been a hundred years ago. When a bell was got for the old church (not Cronan's, but a later one) the tower was used to house it. It was considered too high and Canon Gibbons (deceased) got the tower lowered by twenty to thirty feet. The stones were used in the wall of the surrounding graveyard. There was not even a protest against the sacrilege at the time. The well is still an object of veneration.
There are people called Cronan in this district. The parish priest's house and the new school are named after St. Cronan. There is no particular pattern day or saints day observed for Saint Cronan but there are pilgrimages to the well of St. Cronan every 15th of August. St Cronan's well is supposed to cure sore eyes. I have heard it said that Saint Cronan

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P. Ó Maolanaigh