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Mayo - 2
Balla

Site/Artefact
Balla

Type
Round Tower

Site Number
SMR Mayo 090 02404

National Grid Reference
125490 East
284510 North

Map ( 1:50000)
Ordnance Survey Ireland, Discovery Series No 31

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Round Tower at Balla, Co Mayo (Photo: Christiaan Corlett)

Description
The round tower at Balla is one of five round towers in County Mayo, the others being at Aghagower, Killala, Meelick and Turlough. Today the tower stands at a height of 10m but originally would have reached a height of 30m. Built in sandstone the tower has two distinct sections of coursed masonry construction suggesting an early phase followed by a later one perhaps in the 12th century (Lalor, 1999). Evidence for the primary function of these towers is found in the Gaelic word cloicthech, meaning bell house (Edwards, 1996). They would have also been used as a safe location for the relics, books and other valuables. Given their height, they would have afforded an expansive view of the surrounding countryside. The dating of round towers is a controversial subject with suggested dates as early as the sixth or seventh century but the first mention of them in the annals is 950 when a tower in Meath was attacked and burnt by Vikings. Essentially Irish, the architectural influences reaching Ireland from the Carolingian Continent must have played their part. It has been suggested that detached campanili, like those in Ravenna, Northern Italy could have inspired the Irish builders (Harbison, 2000). The only other Irish influenced examples are found in Abernethy and Brechin in Scotland and Peel in the Isle of Man (Edwards, 1999).

Excavation Details
Not Available

Access/Ownership
Free access to site. No access to the tower

References

Check out the following sections of the website for related information:

Mayo Sites and Artefacts

1. Mayo Abbey
2. Balla
3. Ballintubber Abbey
4. Tóchar Phadraig
5. Aghagower
6. Lankhill
7. Boheh
8. Croagh Patrick Summit
9. Carrownalurgan
10. Ardoley
11. Kiladangan
12. Glaspatrick
13. Shrawee
14. Clare Island - Strake
15. Clare Island - Lecarrow
16. Caher Island
17. Durless

18. Carrowmore
19. Knappaghmanagh
20. Cushalogurt
21. Carrowkeel Ecclesiastical Remains
22. Thornhill
23. Carrowkeel Murrisk
24. Carrowkeel Cahernaran
25. Carrowmacloughlin Cairn-1
26. Carrowmacloughlin Cairn-2
27. Carrowmacloughlin Cairn-3
28. Carrowmacloughlin/ Glencally/ Teevenacroaghy
29. Carrowmacloughlin Sweathouses
30. Glaspatrick Holy Well

31. Glaspatrick Rath-1
32. Glaspatrick Early Ecclesiastical Remains
33. Glaspatrick Ringfort
34. Glaspatrick Rath-2
35. Glaspatrick Ecclesiatical Remains
36. Glaspatrick Altar
38. Glaspatrick Graveyard
39. Murrisk Demesne Standing Stone-1
40. Murrisk Demesne Standing Stone-2
41. Murrisk Demesne Standing Stone-3
42. Teevenacroaghy

 

Mayo - Vestvågøy - Mid-Argyll

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