Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Master of the bells celebrates his 'ringing endorsement'

John Maloney indulges his passionIn the weeks leading up to Christmas, the tower at St Carthage's Cathedral in Lismore, northern NSW, becomes a rehearsal space for what campanologist John Maloney calls his heavenly metal music. 

Mr Maloney's love affair with bell ringing began when he was 13 years old. "I was coming to church here every Sunday but I always wanted to have a look up in the tower," he said.
"One of the priests agreed to let me come up and have a look, and straight away, I knew I've got to do that."

It took the young Maloney about four years to master the bells and receive what he called "a ringing endorsement."

This passion for the bells is one he shares with the man who spared no expense to first bring the bells to Lismore, from Ireland, in the early 1900s.

When Irish missionary priest Fr Jeremiah Joseph Doyle became the Bishop of Lismore in 1887 his vision was to build a grand Catholic cathedral.

The cathedral was completed in 1907, without its bell tower, at a cost more than £30,000 - then Bishop Doyle went to Ireland to buy a bell.

"He went to Matthew O'Byrne, a bell founder in Dublin, and said 'we want one bell for Lismore,'" Mr Maloney said.

"While he was in there, they had another set on a frame testing them and he said 'that sounds fantastic. I want an exact copy made.'"

Today the bells purchased by Bishop Doyle are the only set of 12 bells in Australia.

When Bishop Doyle told his congregation of the purchase, they rallied and started fundraising.

However, in a cruel twist, the Bishop died just before the bells arrived.

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