St Bartholomew’s bells ring out once more
Threat of noise fines against church lifted by Dublin City Council
Vicar Andrew McCroskery of St. Bartholomew’s Church of Ireland in Ballsbridge, Dublin: “Out of the blue we got a very short email from the council saying they were no longer pursuing action against us in relation to the clock and we could turn it back on.” Photograph: Dave Meehan
The historic bells of St Bartholomew’s Church in Ballsbridge are back in action – day and night – following the decision of Dublin City Council to drop a noise pollution case.
The bells rang out over Ballsbridge for more than 130 years, until they were silenced last year following a noise complaint to Dublin City Council.
The bells are controlled by a clock and chime every 15 minutes. The church was warned by the council that it faced fines of €3,000 if it did not stop them ringing at night.
Following a complaint in 2009 the church installed a mechanism to silence the bells between 11pm and 7am. However, the mechanism failed twice. Following further complaints to the council, the church was warned to fix the mechanism or turn off the bells, Vicar Andrew McCroskery said. It was decided last September to stop the clock and silence the bells.
However, Rev McCroskery said the church recently received notice from the council that it was dropping the action. “Out of the blue we got a very short email from the council saying they were no longer pursuing action against us in relation to the clock and we could turn it back on.”
The church’s legal representatives sought clarification that the council would take no further action in relation to the bells, and once that was received the decision was made to restart the chimes on a 24-hour basis.
The clock and “carillon”, a multiple musical bell mechanism, at the Church of Ireland parish church on Clyde Road were installed in 1881 and are protected structures. In addition to failing, the mechanism that stopped the clappers was putting a strain on the clock and bells, which could cause permanent damage, according to a specialist horologist engaged by the church.
Rev McCroskery said he had received considerable support locally for the reinstatement of the bells.