It’s as easy as clockwork - when you know how

The clock on St Nicholas' Church is once again on time after a problem was identified with the west facing dial.
The clock on St Nicholas' Church is once again on time after a problem was identified with the west facing dial.

A CARNMONEY man has been responsible for putting the smile back on a very familiar face in Carrick.

Bertie McClure has helped repair the clock on St Nicholas’ Church which overlooks the seaside town.

Often referred to as the “town clock” it had been out of action for a number of months.

After the church and the town council ran into difficulties in getting the timepiece fixed, Bertie offered his services to help get the historic monument ticking again.

A retired engineer, the 74 year old said: “I had been in the clock tower before, maybe over 20 years ago and I always wished I taken some photos to document it, so when I heard it wasn’t working I was happy to offer my services.

“It was relatively easy repair, if you know what you are doing. I have repaired church towers all over Ireland in the past.

“The problem at Carrick was with the west facing dial. That is always the first place you look because it is the side that takes the most abuse from the weather.

“Essentially we cleared it out and cleaned it up and that got it working again.”

Bertie said the historic church clock in Carrick is a fascinating artefact with an interesting history.

He went on: “The clock was presented to the people of Carrick in 1875 by Thomas and Margaret Greer. It was made by Cooke of York - a very upmarket marker of scientific instruments and there are two other clocks of the same maker, that I am aware of. They are in the city at the Belfast Charitable Institute on Clifton Street and the other is the Albert Clock.

“The Carrick clock and the Albert Clock are both striking clock’s unlike the one on Clifton street which doesn’t toll on the hour. It was donated by the Greers who most likely were a wealthy family at the time and you can probably find their headstones in the graveyard.”

He added: “I carry out repairs as a hobby, as people that specialise in that kind of thing are dying out. It is important that these clocks are maintained as they are a part of out history and heritage.

“Often you’ll see clocks in town centres which have stopped working purely because there were people that took care of them and they passed on and no one ever took their place.

“The clock at St Nicholas’ is a fine time piece and one that, should it be oiled on a regular basis and looked after, will go on for another century.”

Carrick Borough Council technical officer Stanley O’Neill thanked Bertie for his work, he said: “Bertie is a great guy, it is almost as if he waved his magic wand to sort the problem - it was like the clock knew him.”

Stephen Johnston, director of building services at Carrick Borough Council added: “It was a relief for the council that in the end the clock was able to be fixed as easily.

“It had looked like it was going to cost thousands of pounds to refurbish.”