Every now and then you'll see a small poster run off a home printer and placed in the window. This will bear a picture of a man who looks 75 but was probably in his early 60s and announce that Patrick or Jim or Michael has died and that his funeral party will be either departing from or terminating at the Alma. When we went out for something to eat yesterday lunchtime one of these parties was taking place. Through the window we could see and hear a musician singing "The Fields Of Athenry" through a portable P.A. while the regulars lifted pint after pint and the horse-racing flickered silently on the TV above the bar.
A knot of mourners watched the proceedings from outside so that they could smoke. We sat down in the chip shop opposite. One of the mourners, a 12-year-old boy, wearing a buttoned-up suit and sporting a huge star-shaped stud earring, came in, bought a saveloy and then went back across the road to re-join the mourners and eat it.