The 9th century Bangor Bell is tour-de-force of early medieval metalwork. It is the inspiration for a series of new public sculptures for Bangor that will explore Columbanus' adventurous voyage that spread Early Christian spirituality all over Europe (read more). Both bells and waves are striking metaphors to mark his 1,400 miles journey from Bangor to Bobbio in Italy - 1,400 years ago.
The bell sculpture Fluctus Angelorum at Bangor Abbey was commissioned by Ards and North Down Borough Council to mark the extraordinary achievements of Columbanus and his companions. Based on the proportion of the original bell, the surface of the sculpture is shaped like the surface of the ocean. The sea-blue patina and breaking waves are a metaphor for Columbanus' remarkable sea voyage. The 4m high bell was fabricated in bronze plate by sculptor Holger Lonze in West Cork using the ancient repoussé process - by alternating annealing and hammering and finally TIG welding. It took no less than 400,000 hammer blows to transform flat sheets of bronze into this piece of sculpture! Images of the fabrication process can be seen on the project's Facebook Blog. The work was installed in June 2016.
Complementing the sculpture, demonstrations of medieval bell casting at North Down Museum in November 2015 formed part of the year-long Columbanus 1400 celebrations. The video below shows the process of making a replica of the original 14" Bangor Bell in April 2015, commissioned by North Down Museum. Six smaller bells, marking stations of Columbanus journey to Bobbio will be installed in Castle Park later in the summer.