Balla, set among parklands, hills and lakes offers you an opportunity to share in the living tradition of rural Ireland, combining the leisurely life of olden days with the comfort and amenities of modern times.
Balla (pronounced Bal) (Irish: Balla, meaning “wall”), is a small town in County Mayo, Ireland on the N60 National secondary road, the main road between Castlebar and Claremorris. The economy of the village survives mainly on passing trade, from the busy N60 which carries over 7,000 vehicles through the village every day. The village is to be bypassed when the new Castlebar-Claremorris road is constructed. Balla has only one street. It is notable for its round tower. It formerly was a significant shop and market centre. In recent decades it fell into decline and lost its railway station, but has enjoyed something of a revival as a residential area for people working in Castlebar.
In early times the village was known as ‘Ros Dairbhreach’, meaning ‘The Height of the Oak Wood’. The continuing importance of the oak to the local community is reflected in the appropriately named “Dawn Oak 2000” project. At the beginning of the 21st century, 2000 oak trees were planted, creating a new wood in Balla’s town park.
The founder of the local monastery appears to have been Mo Chua. Tradition has it that Saint Patrick himself had rested in Balla.
Pat Nally (1857 – 1891), an athlete and member of the Supreme Council of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, was born in Rockstown House near Balla. The P.W. Nally monument, a Celtic Cross, was erected in Balla with the aid of a public subscription, and was unveiled in 1900 by Dr. Mark Ryan. (Taken from Wikipedia)
Belcarra (Gaelic Baile na Cora) is a small tranquil, pretty village in central Mayo nestled at the foot of a wooden drumlin (a remnant of the last ice age), ideally suited for touring Mayo and its neighbouring counties. It has an approximate population of 222 people (2011 census figures) and an approximate area population of some 1,174 (an increase on 2006 census figure).
Belcarra is within easy reach of the nearby towns of Balla (7km), Castlebar (10km) and Westport (25km) giving this quiet rural village a character all of its own.
Belcarra (“the village of the weir” or river-crossing) is referred to in some old maps as Ballycarra but the name was changed by deed poll in 1970 to Belcarra.
The local Heritage Centre is a beautifully restored cottage, known as ‘The Eviction Cottage’, scene of the last (19th century) eviction in Belcarra by landlord’s agents, the infamous Gardiner and Pringle.
Attractively signposted throughout, Belcarra has been a regular winner of the Tidy Towns competition, making it a very desirable destination for the visitor to Mayo.
(taken from www.belcarra.ie)