As clear as a bell


Sir, – The news report on the bells of Christ Church not ringing in the new year (December 31st) states that “a full ring of the 19 bells takes at least 10 bell-ringers”. Christ Church Cathedral has 19 bells. Each bell is controlled by one bell-ringer alone.

The bells of Christ Church Cathedral Dublin were installed in 1670. The number of bells was augmented through the years by various benevolent investments. The current record-breaking set of 19 bells was achieved in 1999 when seven new bells were added to the existing 12 to mark the new millennium.

Traditionally the large tenor is struck 12 times at midnight on New Year’s Eve, followed by the striking of the full accompaniment of bells for the benefit of revellers gathering outside the cathedral. The large tenor weighs 2¼ tons and requires three experienced ringers to raise the bell into the upright position for full circle ringing. One individual ringer then takes control of each bell. It is possible for an exceptionally skilled bell-ringer to ring two bells simultaneously. However, it is beyond contemplation that nine of the 10 bell ringers charged with ringing in the New Year would have such ability. The art of bell-ringing requires extensive training and takes years and even decades to perfect. It would not be possible for all the above reasons for 10 ringers to ring 19 bells. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 8.