During May 2016 three groups of ringers from Overton set off for a holiday in County Cork, Ireland with three days of ringing organised to ring at all six towers in the county. Adrian, Liz & Richard Lewis set off on Tuesday 10th May and David & Christine Holmes on Friday 13th May, both travelling via the Fishguard – Rosslare ferry route with Alan, Valda & Robin Stevens flying out to Cork from Cardiff on the Saturday. We all stayed in different locations with Adrian, Liz & Richard self-catering near Bantry, Alan, Valda & Robin self-catering near Courtmacsherry and David & Christine staying at the Celtic Ross Hotel in Rosscarbery.
Our first ringing was at St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Cork on Sunday 15th May prior to their morning service. The bells here are a glorious Taylor/Rudhall ring of 12 with a 27 cwt tenor. Our eight ringers joining with nine locals meant that we could ring all 12 bells. A mixture of rounds, call changes and plain hunt on 11 was enjoyed by everyone present before departing for coffee at Yellowsub in glorious sunshine beside the River Lee.
Lunch had been prearranged by Liz at The Flying Enterprise where we had two tables reserved in the name of “Louis”! After a good meal and some good beer named “Hop House 13” we all went our separate ways for the rest of the day.
Monday 16th saw us on our way to Abbeystrewry Church, Skibbereen with its 3 cwt ring of six bells cast by Whitechapel in 2001. Grandsire Doubles, our first attempt at Skibbereen Doubles and Plain Bob Minor were all fluffed in some way or another so we kicked the invisible jinx out the door and ended with an excellent 120 of Skibbereen Doubles, the first extent ever rung in variation 131h/e.
Our next tower was the Far Cork Campanile at the home of Martin Hough in Drinagh. The bells here are another ring of 12 with a tenor of 11 lb hung in a pig sty opposite Martin’s workshop. Rounds on six rung by Martin, Chris and David progressed after a teaching session to rounds on eight and 12. A course of Grandsire Triples on the back eight and two courses of Cambridge S Minor on the back six were successful. Rounds on eight rung by Martin, Robin, Richard and David was also a success and we ended our visit with more rounds on 12.
We all headed our separate ways for lunch with Alan, Valda and Robin going to Leap and by coincidence the rest of us went to Nolan’s Bar in Rosscarbery where the nearby Cathedral was also the last ring of the day. The Cathedral Church of St Fachtna, Rosscarbery has a superb Taylor ring of six with a tenor of 12½ cwt that are rung from a balcony. Before we went to Ireland we were looking for doubles variations with Irish names only to find there weren’t any. So, on 6th May 2016 at Overton we rang and named variation 131c/d Seamróg Doubles for the occasion. The ringing at Rosscarbery kicked off with a well rung extent of Seamróg Doubles before 108 Plain Bob Minor. Next we rang an excellent quarter peal of 1260 Doubles 1v/1m (120 Seamróg, 1140 Grandsire), our only quarter peal of the trip, and we finished with 120 Reverse Canterbury Doubles.
Now, one of the things you soon learn here is that towers in County Cork are a long way apart! The following day, Tuesday 17th May, we rang at Doneraile and Bandon – 45 miles apart! We were due to ring at Bandon at lunchtime but this was cancelled due to a funeral so we joined them for their practice in the evening instead. But first to Doneraile some 30 miles north of Cork with a good Taylor ring of six, tenor 10 cwt and a “go” similar to Laverstoke. 120 Grandsire Doubles was followed by 120 Doneraile Doubles, this being the first extent rung in variation 131g/e. 60 Reverse Canterbury was then followed by another 120 Doneraile Doubles before we headed for Bandon via Cork in the rush hour! To avoid this, most went via Blarney which necessitated negotiating a road just about wide enough for two cars with the wing mirrors in and a huge volume of traffic.
Bandon Church is situated on a hill with a good climb up some steps before you get to the church. The tower then has a climb like nothing we have ever seen. Firstly the tower is taller and bigger than it appears. The ascent starts off nicely up a wide stone spiral, but not for long – only as far as the balcony in fact – then a long steel ladder up through a trapdoor – then a longer steel ladder up to a stone ledge – and finally, some stone steps through the wall into the ringing chamber! In addition, in the ringing chamber the ladder that accesses the bell chamber comes down permanently into the middle of the tower between the treble and tenor ropes blocking visibility completely. Bandon bells are a Taylor five with a Whitechapel tenor of 14½ cwt. Ringing here consisted of call changes, plain hunt, Grandsire and Plain Bob etc. but we did manage to ring an extent of Bandon Doubles with two local ringers on the treble and tenor, this being the first extent rung in variation 1h/e.
Ringing over, we all headed in our separate directions once more with Adrian, Liz and Richard heading for home the following day and the rest of us returning the following weekend. Christine and David attended Rosscarbery practice night on Thursday where they again met up with Martin Hough and the evening ended in the Abbey Bar drinking Guinness and talking about old times at Liss and ringing on the campanile there.
Many thanks go to Adrian & Liz for their organisation and to all the local ringers who made arrangements for us to visit them and made us so welcome.
David A Holmes June 2016
Tuesday, 17 May 2016 Bandon (St Peter, Ballymodan), Cork 120 Bandon Doubles
Tuesday, 17 May 2016 Doneraile (St Mary), Cork 120 Doneraile Doubles
Monday, 16 May 2016 Rosscarbery (Cathedral and Parish Church of St Fachtna), Cork 1260 Doubles (1v/1m)
Monday, 16 May 2016 Skibbereen (Abbeystrewry Church), Cork 120 Skibbereen Doubles