Balally Area

Details of the earlier ecclesiastical history of Balally are meagre and hard to come by. It appears that there were at least two churches at different periods. There was a church on the lands of Balally, “Ballywroolef”, mentioned in 1179 during the term of Archbishop Laurence O’Toole. Ruins of a church, marked on the Ordnance Survey as Moreen Cross, can just be traced in the grounds of the Central Bank.

It is documented that King Henry VIII presented the lands of Balally to the Corporation of Dublin in 1539. In 1577 the Corporation leased these lands to Jacques Winfield, Master of the King’s Ordnance on condition that he built a castle on the site. The castle was never completed because of the hostile incursions of the Wicklow clans. Its outline could be traced within living memory at the rear of Balally Terrace.

In 1604 Balally is mentioned with an alias, “Balofryn” (Mass Place?). Later, in 1630, a priest named Fr. Cahill was saying Mass each Sunday in Balally. He was succeeded by Fr. Patrick Gilmore who received his ordination from St. Oliver Plunkett in the countryside near Dundalk.