Eimear Walsh, the daughter of Waterford native Jim Walsh, was laid to rest this (Tuesday) morning in Shanganah Cemetery, a week after she and five friends tragically lost their lives in a balcony collapse in Berkeley, California,
The 21-year-old, a third year medical student at UCD, was buried following Funeral Mass at her home parish of the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour in Foxrock, Dublin.
Ms Walsh was the daughter of James (Jim Walsh), a native of St Joseph’s Terrace in Green Street and Patricia (nee McLoughlin), who is originally from Westport.
Jim Walsh moved to Dublin many years ago but the Walshes have a large number of close family members still living in Waterford, including Eimear’s uncles Robbie, who had a garage on Green Street for many years and Liam, who still resides at the family home on St Joseph’s Terrace.
The Walsh family is well-known in the Ballybricken area and locals in the area were stunned when the news filtered through.
Ms Walsh was one of a number of Irish students in the US on J1 summer visas who had gathered at the Library Gardens apartment complex on Kittredge Street in Berkeley to celebrate the 21st birthday of one of their friends; she had lived at the fourth-floor apartment with Aoife Beary and Olivia Burke, who also died on Tuesday last.
The three were friends for many years and Eimear and Olivia had been working as hostesses at a Japanese Restaurant in San Francisco Bay. Restaurant owner Alvin Louie told local media they were “hard workers and very sweet” and Eimear was on the verge of promotion.
Alvin Louie added: “They were quick and smart. They were always smiling, enthusiastic and full of energy…we’re all devastated”.
In the aftermath of the horrific tragedy, Jim and Patricia Walsh travelled to Berkeley with parents of the other deceased.
They were accompanied by Minister of State for the Diaspora Jimmy Deenihan. Shortly after arriving in San Francisco, the families and Minister Deenihan visited the scene of the tragedy, when Jim Walsh and Gerry Culligan, father of the late Eoghan Culligan, laid a wreath.
Eimear Walsh went to school at Loreto College in Foxrock, where her family have lived for many years.