Now the thing about rituals, the important thing is that the nature of the ritual is completely irrelevant. It's not about what you do, it's not even about how you do it. What matters is why you do it, and why you have to do something.
"Drive carefully," was almost the last thing that Officer Egan said to us as we were leaving. There was never any danger that we were going to do anything else, though.
It must have been lunchtime-ish when we were leaving the hotel. We'd been up partying most of the night, as you do when you've got music and moonlight and wine and company, and as a result we were somewhat on the fragile side, although not as fragile as we could have been, or should have been. We were going to drive carefully, no doubt about it. Officer Egan - technically retired, but still a policeman at heart - was wise to warn us. Six people had died in road accidents the night before. We drove back to Dublin safely.
I'm used to anonymous strangers dying. Anonymous strangers die all the time. Most of them die due to illness or through the natural and inevitable process of organ failure. In Ireland, there's pretty much a violent death in Dublin every night, and accidents on the roads are common. There are worse ways to die. There are more media-focussed ways to die. It needs to be a big glamorous death to merit more than a passing mention on the news. But it's reassuring that murder is still worth mentioning. Some things should never become commonplace.
Death is not just an ending, though. It's the beginning of a new feeling, a new way of living. It's the beginning of living without. It's a sudden change - and no matter how long you think you've prepared for it, it's always sudden. A life is gone.
It's not surprising that society builds rituals to cope with this, builds ways to offer the hope that perhaps you will meet your loved one again in the great unknown. Otherwise, it would be so easy to let grief consume you, to withdraw from society and live inside your own head, with your memories. Even the least spiritual of us needs some view about death to cling to, even if that view is that it is inevitable, natural and needs rational acceptance.
Violent death is particularly hard.
When we left the hotel on Sunday, we knew that six people had died on the roads. We heard their grizzly epitaphs on the radio on the way home, sandwiched between Satellite of Love and Brian McFadden. Six young lives gone. By the end of the weekend, there had been ten fatalities in road accidents in Ireland.
I didn't know any of them, but my colleague Niamh did. She's 23, and her friend was 22. They studied together. They weren't the best buddies on the planet, but they were close enough that Niamh felt that she ought to be at the funeral. Apparently there were hundreds of mourners, mostly under the age of 25.
I always think that grief is an intensely personal thing. I don't think that anyone should be told how to grieve, or that they're not grieving enough. And yet, in the midst of all of this personal emotion, comes the funeral. Perhaps the oddest ritual in the panoply of human rituals, and one of the most powerful.
It can be a way to vent, to let some of the anger at the injustice out. It can be a way to remember, and to celebrate. It can be a meaningless thing, attended only to show support to those who need it. To me, at least, a funeral is about living, about remembering the good things - those we have lost, and those we still retain.
Everything passes, but life goes on.