Shandon Bells


Having lived in the beautiful and historic city of Cork in the 1960s, I often think back to the happy times I had while beginning to find my feet in the big world of city life. The clock tower of St. Anne's Church has special meaning for me because the Bells of Shandon often chimed as I walked past the church. Whenever I hear the wonderful poem 'The Bells of Shandon', penned by Francis Sylvester Mahony, it is with deep affection and recollection that I think of the Shandon Bells. Mahony's words are very meaningful to me, and I quote from his poem here for all to read:

'With deep affection
And recollection
I often think of
Those Shandon Bells
Whose sounds so wild would,
In the days of childhood,
Fling round my cradle
Their magic spells.
On this I ponder
Where'er I wander,
And thus grow fonder,
Sweet Cork, of thee.
With thy bells of Shandon,
That sound so grand on
The pleasant waters
Of the river Lee.'

The grand old jig 'Shandon Bells', the first in O'Neill's The Dance Music of Ireland, 1001 Gems, is played on this track by Nicole Rabata on flute and myself on fiddle. We play it as a four-part tune. I played it many times as a two-part jig in the city by the River Lee. I first heard the two extra parts played by David Curry and his orchestra. They are two parts well worth hearing and preserving for posterity.


Séamus Connolly
Boston College Libraries
Some transcriptions are based on historical source recordings. More info.

Song & Tune Type

Part of:


Rabata, Nicole (flute), Connolly, Séamus (fiddle), and McElroy, Kevin (mandolin), “Shandon Bells,” The Séamus Connolly Collection of Irish Music, accessed July 16, 2024,