Skip to main content

Bells of Shandon

By William Cleary

F major
Time signature
Francis Sylvester Mahony,


I wrote this tune after the Ireland Convention in 2018, having visited St Anne's Church and played the stationary bells there. There was a leaflet with this poem so I decided I should set it to music. As it's within a major scale, the melody can be played on the 'Shandon Bells'.

Frances Sylvester Mahony (1804-1866), also known as Father Prout, was an Irish Catholic priest who got in some trouble and became a writer. He also wrote poetry in other languages such as Italian.

I couldn't find out what year he wrote it but in fairness I didn't look very hard. There are more verses, comparing the bells of Shandon to other church bells Mahony has heard on his travels. I haven't included these as the metre varies considerably.


With deep affection and recollection
I often think of the Shandon Bells.
Whose bells so wild would, in days of childhood,
Fling round my cradle their magic spells.
On this I ponder wherever I wander,
And thus grow fonder, sweet Cork, of thee,
With thy bells of Shandon, they sound so grand on
The pleasant waters of the River Lee.