A FESTIVE air swept through the streets of the capital as the voices of carol singers rang out for the annual Black Santa appeal at St Ann's church.
The historic Dawson Street church – where the marriages of Bram Stoker and Wolfe Tone were both held – came alive with the spirit of Christmas in the drive to raise funds for the less well-off.
The Black Santa appeal – so-called because of the traditional black woollen cloaks worn by the clergy – will continue right up until Christmas Eve.
Clergy from all around the Church of Ireland dioceses will stand out on the streets from 10am until 6pm, joined by different choirs each lunch time.
Yesterday, it was the children of Kildare Place School who sang out to accompany the jingle of coins donated towards the appeal.
School Principal Ian Packham said the event was now an annual event in the school calendar.
"The children love it and it's good for them to think of others less fortunate in society," he said.
Vicar of St Ann's, the Reverend David Gillespie revealed that his black cloak had been a gift from parishioners from his former parish in the UK.
"I'm glad of it today," he admitted.
The money collected this year will be distributed to St Vincent de Paul, the Salvation Army, the Simon Community, Protestant Aid, Trust and the Church of Ireland Overseas Aid.
Last year, despite the difficult economic conditions, the Black Santa Appeal raised a record-breaking €30,000. "It is strange to think that the appeal last year raised the largest amount of money ever collected during the sit out," the Rev Gillespie commented.
"But it was very humbling to meet people who had come especially to donate to the appeal and who had been collecting all year round for it."
"We realise these are difficult times and people are being careful about who they give money to – but they know that the money we raise we will get to the charities," he added.