HUNDREDS of mourners lined the roadside as the remains of murdered Catherine Gowing were brought from her family home to a church.
Locals stood along the Main Street in Kinnitty, Co Offaly, last night for the removal, ahead of the tragic vet's funeral Mass today at St Flannan's Church in the town.
Kinnitty parish priest Fr Michael O'Meara said: "I welcome Catherine home to this community she was such a part of. She was loved by everybody and surrounded by that love."
The close-knit rural community thronged the church to pay their respects to the 37-year-old, who was murdered in Wales last October.
Catherine's mother Maureen, father John, sister Emma and brother-in-law Shay were joined by family, friends and Catherine's work colleagues from Wales.
Fr O'Meara described Catherine as a beautiful, talented, loving young lady who was loved by everyone in the community.
He thanked the community for their continued support and extended a special thanks to representatives of the Welsh police who were in attendance.
Welsh police have said they will continue their search for Ms Gowing's remains, some of which have yet to be found.
A spokesperson said while the search would not take place on a daily basis, it would continue "dependent on information we receive".
Ms Gowing's remains were found at two locations – a shallow pond in a field in Sealand, Flintshire; and on the banks of the River Dee near Chester.
Clive Sharpe (46), from Gwynedd, north Wales, has since been charged with her murder.
The funeral of the vet, from Clonlee near Birr, takes place today. She will be laid to rest following requiem Mass at St Flannan's Church in Kinnitty.
Ms Gowing's parents are highly respected in Co Offaly. Her mother Maureen is a retired primary schoolteacher and her father John worked the family farm.
Fine Gael TD and Clareen resident Marcella Corcoran-Kennedy described the Gowing family as "very hard working and very, very well respected."
She said that the murder had stunned the entire community – but for any parent such a tragedy is "your absolute worst nightmare".
Ms Corcoran-Kennedy expressed her hope that the family could find some closure from the funeral.
Local councillor Percy Clendennen also said he hoped the funeral might give some comfort to Ms Gowing's family.
"Hopefully it will be a relief to the family that the body is now home," he said.
Ms Gowing's disappearance sparked the largest search operation ever mounted by North Wales Police.
She was last seen alive on October 12 at a supermarket near her home in New Brighton, Flintshire, in north Wales.
She was reported missing when she did not turn up for work at the Evans Veterinary Practice in Mold, Flintshire, the following Monday.
Mr Sharpe has been remanded in custody until January 7, when he is due to enter his plea.