Saint Mary’s Church Of Ireland Ardee Bell Tolls after Fifty Years.
The Bell of Saint Mary’s Church of Ireland Ardee was rung for the first time in fifty years by Mr.Leonard Hatrick, T. C. the Rectors Churchwarden, to welcome in the new Millennium at midnight on New Years Eve. A large number of people including Mr. Seamus Farelly from the Local station LMFM attended the Church for the historical occasion.
The restored Bell was the gift of William Hatch of the Ardee Castle in 1868; its diameter in 39ins. and weights just over a half a ton, and tuned to the musical note G. In 1919 Canon A.L. Forde, the then Rector sought in estimate for repairs to be carried out to the Bell, and the following tender was recived from Mr John A Smith, Irish St. Ardee. In his estimate Mr Smith, stated that the Bell would have to be taken down and rehung, bearings and axels to be replaced at a total cost of £45. 10s.Od (Present day £45.50p.).
The Bell was decommissioned by Mr Fred E. Dukes, in 1949 after an examination carried out by him in which he found some of the timber beams supporting the Bell to be in a decaying state, and it also had a loose headstock, thus eliminating any further use of the bell. However, after the closure of Stabannon Chruch, its bell was removed and placed in Saint Mary’s Church in Ardee, where it then became known as the hurry bell. The reason it recieved the name was because of its ue in the past years when the large bell in Saint Mary’s was rung for approximately fifteen minutes before a Church Service, it was followed by the much faster ringing tone of the smaller Stabannon bell which would last for at least up to two minutes warning parishioners that they were running late for the start of a Church Service. This Stabannon Bell is inscribed 1777.
Church Bells has always being a significant part of the heritage of Ardee Town.
William Brabason, the under Treasurer in Ireland for Henry V111 1536 and 1539, recorded two Bells in the town of Ardee, one at St. John’s Hospital and the other at the Carmelite Friars in the town.
In the age of electronic Church Bells the restoration of St. Mary’s Bell will further add to the nostalgia once enjoyed by the town’s people.