Ballinora Heritage Trail 4 – GAA HALL

4 – GAA HALL

The hall has long since been demolished, concrete posts surround today where once the GAA hall stood. Not long after Ballinora GAA club was founded in 1924, it was decided to build a hall to cater for all the needs of the parish. It was a community hall in many ways, catering for Irish dancing, GAA meetings, adult education provided by the Cork County VEC, dramatic productions etc. It cost about 115 euro by todays money, around 90 pounds in 1927 in old money. The Gaelic League took off and there were strong attempts to revive the language and Irish dancing. Old Time Waltzing was banned for years. From a GAA point of view the club was formed to promote our games and encourage more to become active members of the club, which it did. Momentum for the building of a hall gathered when Ballinora defeated the enemy back then, Ballincollig, in the junior hurling championship on the 30th of May 1926. Ballinora people believed they had proven a point against those who had objected to Ballinora ever having a club of their own. That was the day “playing second fiddle ended “was the proud saying at the time. The existence of the hall in 1928 got a further note of approval, in the way it was contributing to a strong and focused community, Ballinora hurlers for the first time won the Mid Cork Junior title. There was dancing in the new hall well into the dawn, while bonfires burned down the glen. Glory of the little parish. The hall got a further boost in 1932 when the hurlers won the County Intermediate title and the Mid Cork Senior title. For nights like that and for many more down the years the hall was the place to be in Ballinora. Many a heart was broken there and many a marriage made. Bicycles lined the ditches on both sides for hundreds of metres as locals played the banjo and accordion inside. From a safety point of view, by today’s standards it left a lot to be desired. It had a timber inside, tongue and groove, and a corrugated iron roof and side walls. It had one small door to go in and out, and to create slip and slide for a dance, paraffin oil and crystals were scattered across the timber floor, while young men smoked and laughed at the door. Praise the Lord, nobody was ever burned alive in it.