Bell ringing

The other day I wrote about trying as many of the modes of public transport available to me in Dublin.

Today I want to cover items 2 &18 from my ‘To Do’ list for 2013:

2. Take an unplanned, spur-of-the-moment trip.
18. “A Day In My Life” in photos.

Travelling by train was the mode of transport I chose.

Map of the main train lines from Dublin to stations across the land

Map of the main train lines from Dublin to stations across the land

Monday 22nd July, saw me up early and ready for the road good and early.

Where to choose?  I wanted a train with the opportunity to hop on and off or change direction.

Where to choose?
I wanted a train with the opportunity to hop on and off or change direction.

I decided to take a train from the local Station in Adamstown and see how far I could comfortably travel in one day.

The adventure begins!

The adventure begins!

Leaving the house at 09:32 hrs, I walked to the train station. The next train to Portlaoise was due at 09:36 hrs

Thirteen minutes makes for an easy stroll to the station up ahead.

Thirteen minutes makes for an easy stroll to the station up ahead.

Thirteen minutes to reach the train station in the distance. That makes for an easy stroll. 😀

My ticket to Portlaoise

My ticket to Portlaoise

Although my Northern Ireland Senior Smart card is valid for all public transport in the Republic of Ireland. I need to get a train ticket for access to and from station platforms. It also records the journeys we take in order to charge Translink, the Northern Ireland transport system for our usage.

Here she comes!

Here she comes!

The train on the right is the fast Inter City, My train is further back on the left hand track.

The wheels are turning.

The wheels are turning.

The wheels are turning and we are on our way.

 Into the wild.

Into the wild.

The fields are well bleached by the sunshine of the past ten days.

View on the window across the carriage

View on the window across the carriage

View on the window across the carriage, I had it all to myself at that time of day. Anyone in a hurry went back to Dublin to catch the non stop Inter City train.

He didn't get on board!

He didn’t get on board!

He did not get on the train, the next stop was the final destination for this train.

Portlaoise Station

Portlaoise Station

Now to find my way into town, have a cup of coffee and do a little exploring.

Plastic people to make the street look busy!

Plastic people to make the street look busy!

Shop mannequins display the clothes sold in a nearby shop. Trees lined the street and were rather a nuisance. They must have dropped a wide circle of sap during the night. My shoes literally stuck to the pavement every time I passed a tree. I heard the locals complaining too. It was like walking on moist glue.

I felt I had traveled back in time about fifty years. Nothing really changed since I accompanied my father on journeys across the country all those years ago. Time to head back to the station and catch the next train to Cork on the south coast.

Cork City from the train

Cork City from the train

Not sure why this one was so ‘blue’ I blame the train window! 😉

Engine No 36

Engine No 36

Engine No 36 is on Display at the entrance to Cork Kent Station. Built one hundred years before I was born, this old workhorse is looking well!

Busy St Patrick's Street, Cork City

Busy St Patrick’s Street, Cork City

I took the bus to St Patrick Street, the main thoroughfare. It was buzzing and lively. I enjoyed my dander and kept going until I came to the end of the street.

Is that Shandon I see before me?

Is that Shandon I see before me?

I wonder if that is the Tower of St Anne’s Church, Shandon? Do I hear the famous bells? There is one way to find out…

The River Lee, Cork

The River Lee, Cork

I crossed the river Lee and up some steps!

There are plenty of stepped alleyways to be found in Cork City.

There are plenty of stepped alleyways to be found in Cork City.

I spoke to those two gentleman and they assured me the steps would lead me to the Shandon Bells. I took my time. It was a very long climb for knees that live in a bungalow!

Not far to go now

Not far to go now

Once at the top I followed the directions i was given.

Nice car

Nice car

Pity I didn’t meet this guy at the bottom of the hill. We spoke for a few minutes but a call to his phone brought word of a burglary at his home. He needed to rush off.

I finally found the tower.

I finally found the tower.

I finally found the clock tower.

The clock was made in 1847 by James Mangan, a Cork clock maker. It was at the request of Cork Corporation who paid for it then and to this day still maintain it. The clock is known locally as “The Four Faced Liar” because in days gone by, the four faces seldom showed the same time.

The four dials are painted on the stone of the tower with each face having a diameter of 15 feet 7 inches. The roman numerals are 3 inches high, made of timber and guilded. The minute hand is seven foot three inches from centre to tip.

St Anne's Church of Ireland, home to the Bells

St Anne’s Church of Ireland, home to the Bells

Even more steps!

Wooden steps to lure us further up.

Wooden steps to lure us further up.

The wooden steps take us to where you can ring the famous bells.

visitors ringing the bells

visitors ringing the bells

This young family working the bell ropes had come all the way from Alaska. The ropes are numbered one to eight like the notes in a music scale. A book sits on a lectern with several simple recognizable tunes for people to play on the numbered ropes. The young girl was calling the numbers for her family to play. This time it was Happy Birthday and I discovered that they were playing it on the birthday of the little fellow in the middle.

I let the family go ahead of me

I let the family go ahead of me

These steps needed thinking about – narrow very steep and with only a rope for help. It was a “Will I, won’t I” moment…

Rough flagged curve to the next level

Rough flagged curve to the next level

Now you know my answer.

View from a narrow window

View from a narrow window

View from a narrow window looking at the North Cathedral.

still more steps

still more steps

Look at how steep those steps are.

How time was & has changed

How time was & has changed

There are five barrels attached through pulleys to five weights which provide the power for driving the clock. Five is unusual as three are the norm. The clock ran for four days and had to be wound up by hand twice a week. The weights have now been disconnected and small electric motors are attached to the barrels, keeping the clock wound and running.

The pendilum

The 14 ft pendulum of the clock

The 14 foot pendulum of the clock hangs through the ceiling from the clock works on the floor above. It takes two seconds to swing from side to side. The total weight of the clock is in the region of five tonnes. I would not like the weight of that time on my arm! 😉

The clock bears an inscription:

The clock bears an inscription:

“Passenger measure your time for time is a measure of your being”

The eight bells were installed in 1752, a gift from Daniel Thresher. The played out across Shandon on 7th December for the marriage of Henry Harding and Catherine Dorman. They were being played as I passed, and although I was given ear protectors, I didn’t dally to try and photograph the moving clanging giants.

Each bell carries an inscription

Each bell carries an inscription

The eight bells weigh a total of six tonnes and each one has an inscription. They were cast at Rudhalls foundry in Gloucester, England.

The final steps to the viewing gallery were a little precarious for me so I cried off made the sensible decision not to climb any higher. I still had to work out how I was going to unclimb all those steps.

If you are curious the view, professional photos and more history can be found here.

It was time to head back to the station if I wanted to make it home in time for dinner. The journey home was short, my head was buzzing with all I seen and the wonderful people I spoke to on my day of adventure.

I had a wonderful welcome waiting for me when I got off the train at Adamstown:

Welcome home

Welcome home

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21 thoughts on “Bell ringing

  1. I am gobsmacked…I truly am amazed at your travelling penchant. I find it a major production to walk the the grocer at the end of the road!!

    • Walking to my grocer’s is easy enough as the journey is down hill, The way home is a tough steep drag uphill and with shopping bags to weigh me down… 😦 Thus the reason I take the car!

  2. Ah my home city brought wonderfully to life by you, GM. Near the Shandon Bells was the home of the father of my children. Funnily enough Daughter and I were talking about this very thing yesterday. He was brought up in a Victorian type of lifestyle which even now, I find fascinating. Love all the snaps and great to see Elly and George and the wee puppy all striding to meet you!!
    XO
    WWW

  3. How FUN. Love that visitors get to play the bells . . . with a song book provided. And though steps! What character!

  4. I am just listening to TV talking about traffic and public transport funding for my country and in particular why my City should have more of the $budget. We certainly do not have the type of rail lines that you appear to have and I wish we did!

    I do at times go bus-hopping around my city public transport but now with travel times becoming longer, it will be only something to do in Summer when daylight saving means I have more time…

  5. Unfortunately we have no decent rail system here beyond large metro areas transit. However, some of our metro areas are quite large – they just don’t offer the diversity you have. That’s a downside to living in such a big place – yes Texas is vastly different from the San Franciso area and Pueblo, Colorado from whence I came but SF is a 2-3 day drive (26 hour bus trip) and Pueblo is one very long days drive. I love your travelogue!

    • Chuck, you can see from the map at the top, train lines are pretty scarce in Northern Ireland. The only one I ever used was Belfast/Dublin and that was when Elly was two!

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