School: Sean Bhaile Árd (roll number 14663)

Shanballard, Co. Galway
Tomás Ó Murchadha

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Archival Reference

The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0083, Page 323

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There once lived in the parish of Gurteen a saint known as Saint Kerrill. He is the patron saint of the parish and is still venerated by the parishioners. He lived with a community of monks in a monastery situated in the village of Cloonkeen-Kerril which takes its name from the saint. He lived sometime between the sixth and ninth centuries and the ruins of the monastery are still to be seen in Cloonkeen-Kerril. The present ruins are not the original ruins as they are of stone therefore the monastery must have been rebuilt when the art of stone building became known. It was first built of clay and wattles but this structure was soon destroyed and a more solid one erected. Situated about two miles from the ruins is the base of a cross which at one time marked the entrance to the monastery lands or grounds.

Tradition relates that the saint performed a miracle in Gurteen during his lifetime. It is said that at one time a monster lived in a well in the western side of the parish. This monster destroyed, stock, crops, and people until at last the people appealed to saint Kerrill to banish it and he came and prayed at the well. The monster was destroyed at the prayer of the saint and his ravages were no longer felt by the people.
There is also another tradition concerning the saint. It is said that a contemporary of saint Kerrill's named Conall was building a monastery in Killconnell at the same time

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