A WICKLOW teenager has become the first Irish student to perform church bell-ringing in his Junior Certificate music exam.
David Doran (15), a third-year student at King's Hospital secondary school in Dublin, was granted special permission by the Department of Education to practise campanology, or the art of church bell-ringing, in his practical music exam last month. Although students usually perform a compulsory practical exam by singing or playing the piano or other mainstream instruments, the exams commission has allowed uileann pipe players and sean nos singers to perform traditional music in the past.
However, the commission had no inspectors trained to examine bell-ringing but, helped by an expert from the Irish Association of Change Ringers, one travelled to Blessington in Co Wicklow to hear David play at St Mary's church, a six-bell tower.
"I wasn't too nervous because I was playing at home in my own tower," David said.
One of Ireland's youngest bell-ringers, he first started at age eight and has rung bells at St Patrick's and Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin. He added he hoped to develop his skills for his Leaving Cert.