The Maple Hall in Balla

‘The Maple Hall,’ in Balla, was once one of the most prominent dance halls in the west of Ireland, throughout the 20th Century (Michigan State University, 2009)

The site of ‘The Maple Hall’ was originally the site of a Catholic Church which was built in 1806 by Father Nolan (Michigan State University, 2009) on a site consisting of an area of ground donated by Lynch-Blosse. The Catholic church was de-consecrated in 1918 upon the completion of the new (present) Catholic church in Balla (Hoban, 2024).

‘The Maple Hall’ “had electricity supplied by a generator owned by the McEllin family” (Hoban, 2024). The graveyard associated with the old church still remains today, along with the remains of a round tower (Michigan State University, 2009).

But why was the dance hall named ‘The Maple Hall’? It was so named because of the maple flooring that two local tradesmen installed in 1926. These men were Willie Murphy and Jimmy Roughneen. During the early years of the dance hall, it was a venue for grand ‘Hunt Balls,’ which drew people from as far away as Dublin. It is said that these balls were elite affairs. The first ball had a cover charge of one guinea, which was quite a considerable amount of money at that time. After some time, these balls were discontinued, however, the hall went on to be used for concerts, dramas, ceilis, and card games etc. In fact, the play ‘An Cailin Ban’ was staged there in 1936 (Michigan State University, 2009).

In the 1940’s, a parish committee upgraded the hall. Quite a few radio personalities performed at the hall—such as Paddy Crosbie, and Din Joe et. al. And during the 1960’s and 70’s many well-known dance hall bands drew large crowds to the hall. Drama has always been a big part of ‘The Maple Hall,’ especially during the 1950’s and 60’s. During Lent, the local drama group would host a drama festival in ‘The Maple Hall’ and for many years the national school in Balla put on many pantomimes and concerts. (Michigan State University, 2009).

In 1991, the decision was made to build a community centre which would take the place of ‘The Maple Hall’. The final dance in ‘The Maple Hall’ was held on Friday, April 26th, 1996. “The Brose Walshe Band provided the entertainment for a packed audience” (Hoban, 2024). And the final play performed at ‘The Maple Hall’ by the Balla Drama Group was “The Country Boy” written by Tom Murphy. The Maple Hall was eventually demolished in November, 1997 to make way for the Balla Community Resource Centre, which is still in existence today (Michigan State University, 2009).


  1. Hoban, B. (2024) The Maple Hall, Balla in Co. Mayo. Available at: (Accessed 20th June 2024).

  2. Michigan State University, Study Abroad Programme. (2009). The Maple Hall. Internal Report: Folder 1, Croagh Patrick Heritage Trail—Clogher Environmental Group Ltd. Unpublished.