Ceremony remembers lives lost on HMS Leinster
The annual commemoration service at Kilmore Quay Memorial Garden paid tribute to the lives lost at sea, particularly those who perished in two disasters with local connections.
Fr Jim Cogley was invited back to Kilmore Quay to lead the service, assisted by Fr Billy Caulfield.
The service remembered the lives lost on the HMS Leinster which was torpedoed 100 years ago, and also those who lost their lives in the Tuskar Air Tragedy 50 years ago.
As part of the ceremony, members of the public were invited to lay a candle in memory of someone lost at sea and these were later transferred back to the church.
Three wreaths were laid by Mayor of Wexford, Cllr Jim Moore, by Minister of State with responsibility for Defence and the OPW, Paul Kehoe, and by Captain John Grace, Operations Manager at Kilmore Quay Lifeboat Station.
A pupil of Scoil Réalt na Mara, Jamie Bates read the Naval Hymn while Kevin Whitty played 'Amazing Grace' on the tin whistle.
In his speech, Minister Kehoe said it was poignant to remember the sinking of the RMS Leinster on October 10, 1918 which, he said, was the worst disaster ever to hit an Irish-owned shipping company, resulting the highest ever loss of life in the Irish Sea.
He acknowledged that it was not as widely known or remembered in Ireland as it should be.
The Leinster, which was carrying an estimated 771 passengers and crew, was hit by two torpedos from a German U-Boat and quickly sank.
Minister Kehoe referred to the Wexford connections on the ship. He said: 'Locally we remember Lieut. Joseph A Furlong, a nephew of Clement and Agnes Furlong, Lough, Duncormick who was returning to his base in the USA Medical Reserve following a brief holiday. His body was recovered and later buried in Carrig-on-Bannow.'
He also referred to two members of Wexford County Council, Enniscorthy man Thomas L Esmonde and New Ross man John S Hearn, both of whom perished in the disaster.
He remarked that now, in the global community, people understood how events on the other side of the world might impact them but this was not the case in 1918. That was why this tragedy, which saw the loss of lives from as far away as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, had such a profound impact.