Covid-19 silences the bells of Christ Church Cathedral on New Year’s Eve

Centuries-old tradition another casualty of the stricter lockdown

Covid-19 restrictions mean the bells of Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin will not ring in the New Year for the first time in living memory and possibly in centuries.

The cathedral has been a focal point for generations of Dubliners at midnight on New Year’s Eve. It used to be accompanied by a religious ceremony but in recent years people have gathered on the steps outside the Jury’s hotel in Christ Church.

The Dean of Christ Church Rev Dermot Dunne said social distancing scuppered any plans they might have had to ring out the bells.

A full ring of the 19 bells takes at least 10 bellringers.


“We decided to call it off,” he said. “It’s been a long tradition for us so long that I don’t know how long it goes back. We are going back into a stricter lockdown. The bellringers are conscious of their need to keep apart as well.”

Rev Dunne said the cathedral was able to ring the bells for services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but the stricter lockdown and escalating Covid-19 cases makes that impossible.

With the entire country shut as a result of Covid-19, all New Year’s Eve events have moved online.

Fáilte Ireland will showcase illuminated locations from Kilkenny to Cork, Killarney, Tipperary and Killaloe.

RTÉ's NYE Countdown, presented by Kathryn Thomas and Deirdre O'Kane live from the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin, will start at 10.45pm on RTÉ One and on the RTÉ Player.

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times