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City honour after ringing up 80 years on the bells

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Veteran bell ringer Cyril

Veteran bell ringer Cyril

Veteran bell ringer Cyril

In 1938, with "no cars on the road and nothing much for young lads to do", Cyril Galbraith began what was to become a lifelong hobby - ringing bells in church.

"There was also the opportunity to meet girls and to be social I suppose," he says, with a twinkle in his 95-year old eyes.

Having bell ringing as a constant in his life has been "wonderful", according to the sprightly Dundrum man.

His desire to meet girls also worked out as he found his wife Anne at the first bell ringing club he joined, at St Mary's Cathedral in Limerick.

The couple had six children, all of whom were introduced to their parents' beloved pastime, though some committed to it more than others.

"At one stage there were five of us Galbraiths bell ringing," says Cyril.

Tower

Contrary to popular belief, Cyril explains, there is nothing particularly religious about bell ringing.

"It's an ecumenical thing," he said. "You can walk into any bell tower in the country, in a church of any denomination, and you'd be instantly accepted."

Asked what secret ingredient keeps a person passionately devoted to a hobby for 80 years, Cyril says it is the variety.

"Bell ringing is a series of permutations, it's not to do with following numbers or notes," he said. "A lot of it is luck, it's like winning the Lotto. You could never get bored with it."

For the past 19 years, Cyril has been ringing every Sunday morning at Christ Church on Taney Road in Dundrum.

In 1999, he was a member of the committee that sourced and funded new bells to mark the millennium.

Cyril doesn't believe his age hinders him in any way.

"There's no physical work involved - the toughest part is climbing the stairs to the bell tower," he said.

Tomorrow, Lord Mayor Nial Ring, will host a reception for the city's bell ringers, and an inaugural cup will be presented to Cyril to recognise his phenomenal contribution.

"I'll have a drink or two to celebrate, I suppose," Cyril said.

"We'll be getting the Luas in, door to door. It's a wonderful thing."