Ballon Busines and Training Services

/Ballon Busines and Training Services
Ballon Busines and Training Services 2018-04-11T09:23:51+00:00

Contact: Helen Wheeler

Manager Ballon Business and Training Services

Telephone: 059 9159447

Fax: 059 9159377



Current Courses


8/12/14 – Ballon Christmas Food and Craft Fair 2014

Our Christmas Fair took place in Ballon Community Centre on Sunday 7th December 2014. This year we had over 50 stands offering a wide variety of artisan foods and handmade crafts, as well as great gift ideas for friends and family. Stands were booked well in advance by local producers as well as craftspeople from all over County Carlow and from Wexford, Wicklow, Kilkenny and Kildare.

The event was well attended by families from throughout the county and further afield. Highlights of the day included a Fashion Show courtesy of Siopa Glas; the arrival of Santa Claus accompanied by members of the KHA choir and two local musicians; and a “Sing a Song for Santa” talent show. Tickets for the Christmas Raffle sold well during the afternoon. Prize-winners were as follows:

•    1st Hamper                    John Malone, Kilbride;
•    2nd Hamper                    Jo Kennedy, Cappagh;
•    3rd Hamper                    Elizabeth Lawlor, Myshall;
•    4th Hamper                    Daisy Kehoe;
•    5th Hot Irishman Founder’s Reserve        Emily Corrigan, Lisgarvan;
•    6th The Forge Christmas Cake/Pudding    Mary Byrne, Connaberry;
•    7th Landscape Oil Painting            Karen Clarke, Forge Meadow;
•    8th Power’s Whiskey                Michelle Cummins, Closh;
•    9th Tea Cosy                    Noel Amond.

The Christmas Fair marked the start of the festive season around the parish of Ballon and Rathoe. The atmosphere was jovial and upbeat. There was lots of singing and dancing. Teas were served with a variety of delicious treats; the facilities available in our beautiful new Community Centre were put to full use and an enjoyable day was had by all. We hope to have many more such occasions in the years to come.

Special thanks to all who worked tirelessly to make the 2014 Ballon Christmas Fair a success: to all who donated raffle prizes; to the hall caretakers and local volunteers, who helped with both setting up and tidying; to the bakers who donated delicious cakes and treats for the teas; to the stand-holders who worked so hard to build up a stock of crafts and edible treats; and to Santa, who took time out of his busy schedule to visit Ballon.

FETAC Certificates Presentation


Pictured are some of the student who received their FETAC Certificates ………


……and with tutor Mary Daly, Chairman – Eddie Kearney, Manager – Eileen Murphy

FETAC Certificates are presented to students of Ballon Community Services.
Over 60 students from various parts of Carlow, Wexford, Laois & Kildare were presented with their FETAC certificates in Ballon Community Services by the Chairman of the Board Mr. Eddie Kearney on Wednesday 7th December 2011. FETAC Certificates which are nationally recognised certificates were presented to students who successfully completed FETAC level 3 Computer Literacy, Level 4 Computer Application, Level 5 Manual & Computerised Payroll and Level 5 Health & Safety. Eileen Murphy, Manager of the centre welcomed everyone and congratulated all the students on their achievement she encouraged them to continue with their studies. Eileen also thanked the tutors Mary Daly and Michael Ryan for their dedication and commitment to the students and also he fellow worker Seamus Dowling as well as the various organisations who funded some of the students on their various courses; Fás, Skillsnet, SIPTU, Congress, and the Community Employment Schemes, VEC & BTEI.
Chairman Eddie Kearney congratulated all the successful students and thanked the staff and tutors for their dedication and hard work. After the presentation light refreshments were enjoyed by all. . The centre offers FETAC courses from Level 1-6 and also various soft skills courses Sewing, Interior Design, Cooking, Patchwork, Art, and many more a full list is available from the centre.

Contact: 9159447 or email:

Official Opening

by Eileen Murphy

The newly refurbished Ballon Community Services Ltd. was officially opened by Phil Hogan, Minister for Environment, Community & Local Government on Monday 27th June 2011 with the official blessing by Monsignor B. Byrne, Fr. B. Howard. P.P., Fr. E. Whelan & Rev Lester Scott.

Master of ceremonies was Matt English-Hayden who welcomed everyone to the centre; he said that this was all made possible by a generous grant of €107,000 from Carlow County Development Partnership Ltd., and by the Parish of Ballon & Rathoe and the Kildare & Leighlin Diocesan Trust giving us permission to do the refurbishment. He said we now have a centre that we can all be proud of and that is there for the use of all the people.

Mary Jordan, Secretary of Ballon Community Services outlined for all present how we came to this day and thanked all the people who helped along the way to make this day possible.

Minister Hogan said “The current refurbishment builds on the already established function of the centre and increases the training needs of the people of Ballon and the surrounding areas. I believe it is critical for Ireland’s future that we continue to harness the kind of community spirit that ensures that projects like this are undertaken and completed. It is difficult to deny the uncertainty of the situation that Ireland currently finds itself in and that the Government are acutely aware of the impact the current economic crisis is having on everyone including those in rural areas such as Ballon. However we must take heart from initiatives such as this one today which is an exceptional example of a community imitative addressing an identified need. Such initiatives provide invaluable support to rural communities in these difficult times and continue to ensure the future of rural communities”. He went on to say that he believes that providing supporting for initiatives such as this here today is an important part of Ireland’s recovery process. He congratulated Ballon Community Services Ltd not just for their input into this project but for their general contribution to the community of Ballon as a whole.

Eileen Murphy, Manager of Ballon Community Services outlined the services available in the centre and said that the refurbishment enables them to provide a wide variety of training courses. All these are on the web site and details can also be obtained by contacting Eileen or Seamus Dowling.

Pictures with thanks to Eileen Murphy, Marie George, Michael Dawson and Linda Carroll-Finn.

History by Michael Dawson

The old school has been transformed into a state of the art training centre while its beautiful exterior stone work has been retained. The work was carried out with the help of a grant of €107,000 from Carlow Development Partnership.
The Centre runs a wide range of courses from computes to cooking, art to sewing,
first aid to patchwork and much, much more as well as providing a secretarial service. Full details can be obtained by phoning Eileen Murphy on 059-9159447 or the web site

It is, of course, fitting that the building should continue as a centre of education having been the focal point of education in the village since it was built in 1891. That was the’ male end’ of the building and it was extended in 1896 for the females. The dates over the doors are confusing as the boys and girls swapped buildings later to accommodate the difference in the number of pupils. This can be verified by the fact that the names ‘MALE’ and ‘FEMALE’ are off centre as the letters ‘FE’ was put in front of the word ‘MALE’ on what was the boys school and cemented over in what was the girls school.
The name BALLON was covered with cement during World War II when all road signs were removed so that any possible invading Germany would not know where they were. The word BALLON was restored only this year.
The school closed in 1969 and since then the building has had various uses. For several years the ‘girls side’ was the location of McGonnell Brothers Clothing Factory who in the beginning made uniforms for the defence forces but later moved into manufacturing for chain stores. It also housed Margaret Buggy’s Curtain Centre and a Play school for a time. It later became a Computer Training Centre under the umbrella of BRDA. There was a Jam and Preserves manufacturing unit in the ‘boy’s side’ for a few years and prior to that it was used as meeting rooms.

Amongst the notable teachers in this school were Stephen Hutton (1888-1928), Mrs Catherine Boylan (1899 – 1938), Patrick Mulvihill (1928-1951), Mary Ann Mulvihill
(retired1950) Jim Morris (1951-1982), Mrs Margaret Donohoe (1921-1955), Mrs Patricia McArdle (1945-1978), Mrs Eileen Kelly (1959-1982) and Ms Teresa Nolan (1951-1972).
All these dedicated teachers would, no doubt, be pleased that the fine old building continues as a centre of education.