THE bells of St Mary’s Cathedral rang in the New Year in Limerick, despite fears earlier in the year that a shortage of volunteers might end the fine tradition.
Some months back the bell ringers of Limerick city’s churches appealed for more people to come forward to help them sound the chimes. And thankfully their appeal was answered.
And any fears that the tradition of people gathering around St Mary’s Cathedral on New Years Eve to listen to the bells ring in the New Year were answered when new volunteers came forward to learn the art of bell ringing.
A team of 20 volunteers have been either in training or passing on their expertise each Monday night to a new generation of bell ringers.
Every Sunday morning, the bell ringers climb the bell towers at St Mary’s Church of Ireland Cathedral and Mount St Alphonsus Redemptorist Church in the city.
The bells at St Mary’s ring out across the city from 10.45 to 11.15 before mass. The assembled volunteers then quickly make their way across the city to the Redemptorist Church for the ringing from 11.30 to noon. Fr Adrian Egan from the Redemptorist Church is one of those orchestrating the weekly chimes. He said the bells are synonymous with Limerick.“They are a language in themselves and an amazing music form. The bells are the biggest musical instruments in Limerick.”