His father Brendan was a Roman Catholic, his mother Iris was a Church of Ireland Anglican. However, both Bono and his elder brother were raised in the Anglican faith.
Bono grew up in the Northside suburb of Glasnevin, and attended the local primary school, Glasnevin National School, before moving on to the Mount Temple Comprehensive School, a multi denominational school in Clontarf.
When he was 14, his mother died of a brain aneurism - and Bono was deeply affected by her loss. (Indeed, many of U2's songs would explore the emotions of losing a mother.)
When he was 16, Bono got together with his friends David Evans ("The Edge"), Evans' brother Dik, Adam Clayton and a couple of others, formed a rock band. They first chose the name Feedback, changed it to Hype a couple of years, and eventually came up with a name that they would keep - U2, with the permanent makeup of the band, Bono, The Edge (guitar), Adam Clayton (guitar) and Larry Mullen (drums).
At the start, as Feedback, Bono wrote the songs and provided the lead vocals, with occasional forays on the guitar, but he gave that up when The Edge asserted his mastery over the instrument.
U2 released their first album in 1979, their second in 1980. The records were released only in Ireland, however. In 1980, the band signed with Island Records and gradually went international. Somewhere in this time frame Bono, The Edge and Mullen joined a Christian group called the Shalom Fellowship, and for a time thought of leaving the band. However, they decided that they could serve their purpose by continuing their music. (U2's music never remained static, however. They changed their sound in 1984, and again in 1990, incorporating new types of musical themes and directions.)
Part of Bono's "cool" image is that he always wears sunglasses in public. This is because he has eyes that are very sensitive to light. According to an interview he gave in Rolling Stone, "It's part vanity, it's part privacy and part sensitivity."
Bono met Alison Stewart in 1975 and began dating, and they married seven years later, in 1982. Adam Clayton was his best man. They have gone on to have four children: two daughters - Jordan (1989) and Memphis (1991), and two sons Eljah (1999) and John (2001). The family lives in Killiney in south County Dublin. They also have a villa in Èze in the Alpes-Maritimes in the south of France, which they own along with The Edge.
In addition to his music, Bono by himself, and along with his band members, have been involved in humanitarian efforts since the early 1980s.
In 1979, Bono watched one of the annual benefit shows staged by John Cleese and Marin Lewis for Amnesty International, The Secret Policeman's Other Ball, in which British actors, comedians and musicians volunteer their time in an effort to raise money for Amnesty International. This inspired Bono to become involved in humanitarian effort as well.
In 1999, he began working in an attempt to obtain Third World debt relief, and to highlight the plight of Africans suffering from AIDS.
He continues to work in these humanitarian endeavors as well as his music.