Bell-ringers from Church of Ireland churches in West Cork – Skibbereen, Rosscarbery and Bandon – were joined by nine bell-ringers from the U.K. for a weekend of bell-ringing and social activity on the weekend of 11th to 13th September last.
The West Cork Ringing Weekend takes place over the 2nd weekend in September annually. The basic idea is to get some experienced bellringers to come to West Cork from the UK, to give the ringers of Rosscarbery, Skibbereen and Bandon the opportunity to ring with a steady band, which makes learning much easier.
This year, there were 9 ringers from England, and 1 from Bangor, in the North of Ireland. Free accommodation and transport was offered to those who needed it. As well as many sessions of ringing (1 on Thursday evening, 3 on the Friday, 4 on the Saturday, plus Sunday service ringing), there was also a dinner on the Saturday evening at the Celtic Ross Hotel. After dinner the local handbell team (Carbery Bells), augmented by 2 experienced handbell tune ringers from the UK, entertained guests with a selection of tunes.
Following Service ringing on the Sunday, the guests and local ringers were given a soup and sandwich lunch at Martin and Jane’s house in Drinagh, and a chance to ring on their miniature ring of 12 bells. Following this, everyone went up to Cork to finish the weekend off with ringing on the 12 bells at St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, where the Cork ringers provided tea and biscuits, and the chance to ring on their six bell mini ring, which is currently set up within the Cathedral. Six learners from Skibbereen, one from Rosscarbery, and six from Bandon all benefitted from people generously giving their time to come to West Cork, and pass on their knowledge and experience. Bell-ringers are looking forward to doing it all again next year!