St. Ceannach was a very early Christian missionary who worked in what is now called Connemara in the late 5th/early 6th centuries.
Folklore in the parish of Ballinakill states that Ceannach’s mission was the first in this part of Ireland, which was still pagan at the time. It is believed that his missionary work infuriated a local king, who seized him and had him beheaded close to the eastern extremity of Cleggan.
Stories further stated that Ceannach then suddenly picked up his head and took it to the Holy Well in Clooncree where he washed it before lying down to die. A heap of stones close to the well pointed out the site of his death.
From this incident the village is supposed to derive its name, although An Cloigeann (meaning head or skull), apparently refers to a coastal headland.