Michel Pireu Columnist

Once I am sure there’s nothing going on I step inside, letting the door thud shut. Another church: matting, seats, and stone, And little books; sprawlings of flowers, cut For Sunday, brownish now; some brass and stuff Up at the holy end; the small neat organ; And a tense, musty, unignorable silence, Brewed God knows how long. Hatless, I take off My cycle-clips in awkward reverence ... Back at the door I sign the book, donate an Irish sixpence, Reflect the place was not worth stopping for. Yet stop I did: in fact I often do. — Philip Larkin

We will always need something like churches to give meaning to our lives. It will draw people to it, even in its ruined state. They will recognise the role it played in the lives of others and will see it as a sacred place, even if they do not believe the same things as those who originally worshipped there. God and religion represent the ideal “happy ending” that everyone would like to believe exists. — Aoife O’Driscoll

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