Volunteers help save tradition for whom bell tolls
Published 29/12/2011 | 05:00
IT is called campanology. It is a skill that takes up to a year to learn. And it is very, very loud.
However, a shortage of volunteers to ring the bells in churches has been answered by young and old.
Earlier this year, the bell ringers of Limerick city's two biggest churches appealed for more people to come forward to help them.
Now a team of 20 volunteers are in training to become the next 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.
The bells at St Mary's ring out across the city from 10.45 to 11.15 before Mass. The volunteers then quickly make their way across the city to the Redemptorist Church for the ringing from 11.30 to noon.
Fr Adrian Egan said the bells are synonymous with Limerick.
"It goes back to the 14th or 15th centuries here. A lot of people think these days that it is done automatically, but that is not the case," he said.
"It takes about a year or so to learn how to do it properly. You'd be surprised at the skill which is required.
"Without the knowledge it can be quite dangerous if you don't know what you are doing," he added.
New Year's Eve is the annual showpiece event for the bell ringers with the peals of the bells heard across the city from St Mary's at midnight.