Anna in Cork – Shandon Bells & Tower St. Anne’s Church
Last month I got the opportunity to go down to Cork for the day for a bit of a ‘date’ with the city. I spent some time going to visit some of the major attractions with the aim of really getting to know them and revamp my history for our trip down at the end of March.
My first stop was to visit Shandon Bells & Tower at St. Anne’s Church and boy did I have a ball!
I started off by exploring the church itself! St. Anne’s Church is one of the oldest churches still in regular use in Cork City and it is beautiful. With gorgeous stained glass windows and a stunning organ at the back! Which I was told is still played every Sunday in service! I signed the church’s visitor’s book which goes back over the last 100 years!
I then began my journey up, up and up some more!
The very first thing I got to do was ring the bells! Now on my walk to the church I had heard the bells ringing so the excitement had really started to build because I knew that I would soon get my turn!
They had instructions on how to play a couple different popular songs. But I went for the old classic – Amazing Grace!
I was really nervous about it but the bells rang out beautifully, not resembling Amazing Grace in the least, but I was still chuffed! Empathising with the poor people living in the area that probably have to hear the same tune played badly multiple times a day, I ventured on upwards.
And bonus perk! I was there at noon for the angelus and I got to hear it from the inside of the tower! That really made my day! (I’m easily excited).
A couple of people who had gone up before me were making their way down so I waited for them to pass and then popped my earmuffs on and headed on up! From this point on, I was completely alone and it was honestly quite eerie.
The passageway up was very narrow which isn’t surprising since the walls of the tower are seven feet thick!
Just as I was getting a bit claustrophobic and starting to think about how I need to stop stealing all those cakes from work, I made it to the next level! This is where the clock mechanism was housed. It was under maintenance at the time but I couldn’t believe the size of the thing! It weighs almost two tonnes and it was so intricate!
I got a fright as a pigeon squealed at me from above. The poor thing had flown in and hadn’t quite figured out how to get out!
Marisa at the desk had warned me that I would get to a point in my climb where I would wonder- Should I be going up here? That was the case for the next section of my ascent.
I felt like Quasimodo climbing over the rafters into the belfry and being within centimetres of the hundreds of year old bells!
I had to take off my backpack to manoeuvre through the beams and climb up to the last set of stairs. If I thought I was getting claustrophobic before then I was in for a treat because now I couldn’t stand in the passage now without my shoulders being hugged on both sides.
I was blinded by the sun as I finally pushed through the door at the top and burst into the sunshine. It was a bright sunny day but it was windy up there.
The viewing level is 36.5 meters above ground level which I didn’t think sounded that high but when you add in the fact that the church is already on raised ground, the 360° view of the city was incredible!
I looked down at the park at the top of Patricks Hill where Kiera and I had ventured on our last visit!
It felt really isolating being up there on my own. I could have happily spent all day up there and never come down but after taking it all in and taking lots and lots of photos, I reluctantly headed back down!
I had such an amazing time and I highly recommend it to anyone visiting Cork City!
I’ve visited almost 40 countries and done some pretty cool things in my time but I have to say that this was one of the coolest experiences I’ve had! And it was here in Ireland! I don’t know what I was expecting, but this definitely exceeded it!
Book your tickets to Shandon Bells & Tower here.
We are heading to Cork City in March, June (for three back to back weekends) and October. Book online here.