Bells of Congress, The


The Bells of Congress were presented to the United States by the Ditchley Foundation of Great Britain in 1976. A replica of the bells in London's Westminster Abbey, they are rung in honour of the opening and closing of Congress, and on state occasions and all national holidays. The Old Post Office in Washington houses the Bells of Congress and a guided tour of the building by the National Park Service is worth taking.

In the 1980s, as part of a musical delegation to Washington, D.C., representing the State of Massachusetts, I had the honour of visiting the Old Post Office and hearing the bells ring. When in full peal, the bells can take up to three and a half hours to complete their continuous performance. However, my composition on this track takes only a few minutes. I am joined by Gabriel Donohue on guitar.


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

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Connolly, Séamus (fiddle) (composer) and Donohue, Gabriel (guitar), “The Bells of Congress,” The Séamus Connolly Collection of Irish Music, accessed July 14, 2024,