The Ivy Leaf Bell in five pieces. That might sound like the title of a musical composition. It is, in fact, the brutal reality and remainder of the bell stolen at the end of July 2012 from the Ivy Leaf Art Centre here in Castleisland.
The remains of the bell, which dates back to the 1700s, have just been returned – with several pieces still missing – to the Ivy Leaf custodian, Jerome Stack on Monday by investigating gardai. The remains bear the signs of being hacked with a high-speed cutter while other pieces were just broken off. The case is still an open file and anyone with information on the theft and violation of the bell is urged to pass it to the numbers below.
Mr. Stack said he hopes that someone in the trade would be able to put the available pieces of the bell back together so that it could be put back in its rightful place in the theatre foyer.
“If anyone knows where the rest of it has been hidden or dumped we’d be delighted to hear from them,” said Jerome.
The bell was chopped in several more pieces and the five returned are what remains of the historic showpiece. It rang out over the valley in its time and called people to worship in the old church here.
It is believed that the bell was cut up in a house on Limerick Road at the time and parts of it were hidden among the trees lining the old TH Murphy entrance lane off Limerick Road.
Beer and Porter Barrels
Empty beer and porter barrels from Sheila Prendiville’s Bar were used to block both sides of Main Street and cause confusion and a diversion on the night of the theft.
Early morning delivery men were puzzled at the blockade with no obvious or visible reasons behind it.
Ivy Leaf care-taker at the time, Michael Burke was the first on the scene the following morning and he spoke to Joe Duffy Show on RTE Radio 1 on the state of the theatre foyer after the raid.
Plastic Refuse Bin
Mr. Burke said at the time that the thieves made off with the bell in a plastic refuse bin. They knocked it from its lofty perch behind the theatre shop and it hit and broke shelves and the counter on its way down.
The bell is believed to date from the mid to late 1700s. Thomas Rudhall, who is credited with the ‘Ivy Leaf Bell’ lived a short life between 1740 and 1783. In any case the last bells from the Rudhall family foundry in Gloucester were made in 1835.
Anyone who may have any information is asked to contact the local station on: 066 71 41204 or the Garda Confidential line on 1800 666 111.