Apart from the occasional wedding or funeral I only go to church once a year - to the Christmas Day service at St. Patrick's in Dalkey. This is a low-key and friendly affair presided over by the benign Ben Neill - what a great name for a vicar. A feature of the gig is the number of badly behaved children wandering about the place and creating a rumpus - a state of affairs positively encouraged by our Ben. As with most Protestant services it's more social than spiritual - no incense or mystery but a decent choir and some hearty hymn singing. The are the usual party favourites: Hark the Herald Angel and Away in the Manger but the highlight was a beautiful rendition by the choir of Harold Darke's austere In the Bleak Mid-winter. A feature of the event is the annual appearance of Bono in our midst. He usually arrives late and sits in the balcony (choir?) and is accompanied by his toothsome wife Ali and two attractive daughters - one a dark-eyed siren. His two young sons seemed to be missing this year. They all march up to communion together - Bono wearing an elaborate pair of silver-framed aviator type glasses, OTT perhaps but now his trademark. Ali greets and kisses female friends on the way back but Bono remains stoic behind her.
Afterwards we shake hands with the bould Ben and the congregation mills around outside chatting in the unseasonably balmy weather - and Dublin bay sparkles below.