The Bells

Surprisingly, the bell-tower of John's Lane Church was never designed to hold any bells, so there was never any reason to provide access to what is now the ringing chamber. As a result an open spiral staircase had to be adder later to fill this need. One bellringer at John's Lane described the journey to the church's belfry thus:  
"You start off your journey by going round three turns of an enclosed spiral staircase.  Then you enter a gallery, where there's the entrance to a wrought iron open spiral staircase. The gaps between the railings are quite big. When you have climbed to the top of the staircase you have to turn to climb a straight ladder.  The scary bit is that you can see the full length of this large church as you climb, and it looks as if there is nothing underneath you!  Once you overcome your fear, you're in the belfry. Then all you've got to worry about is getting down again afterwards! It's worth the visit if you're not scared of heights."

The original peal of eight bells in the Augustinian Church was a gift from a generous donor, Stanislaus Byrne of Booterstown, at a cost of 5,160 pounds. Wrought in Murphy's foundry in Thomas Street in 1872 they consisted of a peal of eight in D natural and weighed five tonnes.
They were solemnly consecrated on 1st December 1872 and during the Mass several of Moore's Melodies were played on them by Mr.Murphy(Junior) the founder. After their consecration the first hymn played was Hail Queen of Heaven.

The consecration of bells is quite an elaborate ceremony in itself.  
Firstly the bells are washed inside and outside with holy water,  then the Sign of the Cross is made on each bell with holy oils inside and out, at the same time giving each bell its own proper name. The Bishop then pronounced a special prayer of Blessing.  
The names given to the bells of John's Lane were:  Saints Brigid, Patrick, Thomas of Villanova, Nicholas of Tolentine, Monica, Joseph, John the Baptist and Augustine.  
A further two bells - trebles -  were added in 1898 made in Birmingham by Charles Carr Ltd.,  these were christened William and Catherine.

The Bell Ringers Company of John's Lane was formed in 1872 and the bells were first rung on St. Patrick's Day 1873.
It is recorded that in 1876 sixteen young men freely volunteered their services as bellringers at a meeting in a room attached to the church.
In 1921 the bellringers rang out the old year and rang in the New Year 1922 but, because of a curfew, had to remain in the bell-tower all night until 6.00am when they rang the Angelus !

 

 

 

 

 

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