Ancient diocesan and county boundaries in Ireland create interest patterns of connection. The only part of the Church of Ireland United Dioceses of Cork, Cloyne and Ross not in County Cork, is Ardmore, the seaside and fishing village in County Waterford, not far from Youghal in County Cork. Part of the neighbouring Roman Catholic Diocese of Waterford and Lismore includes a small part of County Cork.
Ardmore is one of the oldest Christian settlements in Ireland; Saint Declan lived there some time between 350 and 450.
The Church of Ireland Church of Saint Paul is mainly open in the summer for visitors and tourists. A harvest thanksgiving is also held. The church is really full, however, standing room only and people out in the porch and on the stairs to the gallery, is for the ecumenical village Carol Service. The whole time resident population of the Village is c.430 and on Sunday, 15th December, it felt as if nearly every family must have been represented together with some visitors. One woman from Waterford city said that she came across the Service by accident some years ago and has made it a firm date in her calendar ever since.
The Service of Lessons and Carols, with poetry and music also, was by candelight. The Rector, the Reverend Andrew Orr, welcomed everyone, including one of his predecessors, Canon Peter Rhys Thomas, and the Very Reverend Milo Guiry, P.P.
Bishop Paul Colton together with Mrs Susan Colton also attended this year. The Church was seasonally decorated and the singing was led by the Ardmore Community Choir, and children from Saint Declan’s National School. A collection was taken in aid of the West Waterford Hospice. At the end of the Service Santa made a surprise visit with gifts, after which there were some warming drinks and mince pies.