Our church was asked to sing a few songs at a memorial service down at the Dunmore East Fishery Harbour on Saturday.

Engraved in this wall are the names of all those who have been lost at sea in the waters surrounding Dunmore East and Waterford.

Gabriel was in charge of leading the songs. That’s our pastor, Dan, on the right.

The service was quite touching, especially considering that each of the 250-300 people who attended were in some way connected with a person who had been lost at sea. Lots of tears were shed.

This man, Paddy Mason (59 years old, died September 17, 2009), was lost at sea since we moved here. He had been out fishing when something went wrong. They found his boot caught in the line of lobster traps that he had been throwing out . . . but nothing more.

After the service, Gabriel and I went for a walk up on the sea wall. Dunmore East Harbour is a working fishery harbour, although the trade is dwindling. The orange boat in the picture is one of the life boats that patrol the waters around Dunmore East.

Way, way across the harbour is Hook Lighthouse. At night it shines across the water and we can hear its fog horn blowing.

After the service, we all ambled down to the life boat offices where they served us the inevitable tea and biscuits (“cookies” in America). Another mild culture shock: no Styrofoam cups at this gathering. Nope, we had mugs or china tea cups and saucers in which to sip our tea. No telling how much “washing up” (as they call doing the dishes) it made, but it didn’t seem to matter.

The whole afternoon was fascinating to us, and it gave us a rare chance to feel a part of Irish community. We felt honoured to be there.