St Mochua, Balla in Co. Mayo

St Mochua (or Cronan) of Balla was a native of Ulster. He studied at Bangor, County Down under St Comgal at the end of the 6th Century. After leaving Bangor he went to Fore, then Hy-Many in the country of Connaught and finally settled in Balla.

A broken Round tower and a medieval altar mark the site of a monastery which he founded in the 7th Century and which became one of the most important monasteries in Connaught.

He was a holy man who performed many miracles and was widely venerated by the people in the locality. He built a church and surrounded the church and well with a wall (from which the name Balla is supposed to be derived).

His successor acquired considerable possession of lands and the Termon lands of Balla were nearly equal to the present parish of Balla. According to The Annals of The Four Masters Mochua died around 637AD.

By Brian Hoban