Christ Church bells muffled after complaints from locals

Man in bell tower Bell ringers have fastened leather mufflers to the cathedral's huge bells. Photographs: Christ Church Cathedral

Sound mufflers have been fitted to the bells of a Dublin cathedral after locals complained about noise during tourist visits.

The mufflers at Christ Church Cathedral will be taken off twice a week, for normal bell ringing on Sundays and a weekly practice on Friday evenings.

Dublin City Council said it would work with residents on noise monitoring.

Muffling the bells was "troublesome", said the ringing master, but his team was "not here to annoy anybody".

One of 35 bell-ringers, Leslie Taylor has 25 years of experience ringing the bells of Christ Church, on Winetavern Street.

'Noise pollution'
bell ringers Bell-ringers at Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin

"It is a troublesome thing for us to go up and put the mufflers on," he said, "but it's something we have to do because we are not here to annoy anybody".

The team has put leather mufflers on the clappers - moving parts - of five of the lightest bells, which weigh in at about three-quarters of a tonne each.

The cathedral recently began running tours to raise money, and guides allow tourists to ring the bells for about four minutes at a time.

Tours run every day through the summer - in the morning, at lunch time and in the afternoon.

Philip Byrne, who has lived in the area for 15 years, told the Irish Times that when bell-ringers handed over the ropes to untrained tourists, it was "just clanging".

"It's noise pollution", Mr Byrne said.

Dublin City Council confirmed it had received two complaints about noise pollution from the bells, and had been "in dialogue" with cathedral authorities.

'Ripple of wind'

A spokesperson said: "In the meantime Dublin City Council has arranged with residents to carry out noise monitoring so that we can gain a clear profile of the nature and level of noise when the bells are operational during these tours.

"Dublin City Council's aim at this point is to work with the parties concerned to reach a mutually acceptable resolution."

Mr Taylor said: "The bells in question are beautifully tuned and (tourists ringing them) sounds like a ripple of wind going through them.

"There's a huge love for the bells of Christ Church. I say that knowing it to be true. They are emblematic of the city of Dublin."

To Mr Taylor's knowledge, these are the first complaints about the bells in more than three centuries.

In 1688, the Lord Mayor of Dublin put the cathedral's officers in the stocks after complaining that the bells did not ring cheerily enough for the birth of the Prince of Wales.

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