The Eight Bells of St. Patrick's were put in the tower in 1895,
as a memorial to Dean Murray, Rector from 1865 to 1893. The bells were supplied
by Mears and Stainbank of Whitechapel, London, and their daybook entry for the
15th May, 1895 shows that their total charge to the Bell Committee of St. Patrick's,
Ballymena was £649 5s 11d. They were dedicated on Wednesday 29th May, 1895, two
years after Dean Murray's death and burial. Dean Murray died on the Sunday after
Ascension, 1893, and was buried the following Wednesday. The Irish Ecclesiastical
Gazette noted this fact when reporting the Dedication, giving details of the bells
"The bells have been hung with the usual fittings for ringing,..
elm headstocks with steel gudgeons, gunmetal bearings in iron carriages, wheels and
ropes. The framework in which they swing is of massive English Oak, well constructed, and
every joint secured with double bolts or corner plates. A chiming apparatus has also been
attached to enable one person to chime the bells."
After the service, the bellringers of St. Thomas', Belfast,
rang the first 'peal' on the bells, which was listened to by crowds of people
who 'thronged the approaches to the sacred edifice.'
Two other bells are worth mentioning in connection with St.
Patrick's. The first is the 17th century bell from the old parish church, whom
in 1964 was preserved in the present ground in a timber belfry at ground level.
The other bell is the single original bell at St. Patrick's, placed there
presumably in 1866 and inscribed:
St. Patrick AD 1866 Laus Deo
Sheridan Eagle Foundry Dublin
The Sheridan Foundry in Church Street, Dublin, was taken over by M.
Bryne of the Fountain Head Bell Foundry shortly after the casting of this bell.
The Byrne Foundry catalogue gives the diameter of the bell as 40", and the weight
as 12 cwts with tongue, the note being F. Dr. Murray described the bell in 1868:
"The bell has given much satisfaction, the tone is good, and it
can be heard at a distance of four miles on a calm day. As a specimen of casting
also the bell has been much admired."
In June 1895, just after the ring of eight was put in, this bell
was purchased by the Select Vestry of Lambeg for £40. A further £47.8s.3d was
spent in the work of transferring it from Ballymena to Lambeg. A subscription list
was opened in Lambeg, which raised £122.0.6d. This bell was dedicated on 30th June
1895, with Rev Dr. Irvine, Rector of St. Stephens, Belfast, preaching. This bell
is still in use in Lambeg.
According to the Ballymena Weekly Telegraph in 1942, the parish
also has a connection with two ancient bells. The "Bell of Ballyclug", one of the
old iron bronze-dipped type usually associated with the times of St. Patrick, was
then in the custody of Belfast Museum together with the "Bell of Ballymena", one
of the earliest known bronze bells, probably dating back to the very early
Christian centuries. This latter bell was found near the ruins of Kilconriola
Church, but is believed to have been associated with an earlier church on the