Sisters-in-law, once so close they used to go away on family holidays together.
Both slender, dark and fine-featured, their physical resemblance was close enough for it to be remarked on by several onlookers at the longest-running murder trial in the history of the State.
Once secret rivals for the love of Patrick Quirke, now Mary Lowry and Imelda Quirke are privately, and in their own way, dealing with the devastating fall-out of his murder of Bobby Ryan.
The two women have not spoken since Ms Lowry, feeling guilty over her affair with Imelda's husband, sent her a blank card saying 'sorry' - much to Quirke's fury.
Asked during the trial why she had done it, she said she supposed sending the card had made her feel better.
"It took some of the guilt away," she explained.
The defence was more sceptical about her actions, with Bernard Condon SC claiming she had done it to "soothe herself, not Imelda".
"You must agree you sent it to make yourself feel better," he put it to her.
"I was very sorry and regretted the affair and I was ashamed about the affair," Ms Lowry insisted, repeating her answer several times.
Regardless of why she had done it, the gesture marked the end of their friendship.
Moments after her husband was found guilty of murder, Imelda rushed to be by his side, ushered into the holding cell at the side of courtroom 13, along with Quirke's sister.
Imelda's devastation was appallingly evident, her face ashen. She did not re-emerge.
And though the photographers waited hours for her to come out of the CCJ complex, mystifyingly, there was no sign of her.
Her life crashing around her, it was clear she had been compassionately spirited out of the building by the gardaí.
Back to the dairy farm at Breanshamore, Co Tipperary.
And yet, the removal of her husband from her day to day existence may be the best thing that could possibly have happened to her.
A controlling individual on every level, Quirke's demeanour as he came and went from the trial every day showed demonstrable signs of unpleasantness.
He was seen snatching an object from his wife one day, while another, he was witnessed carelessly jostling her as they entered a door.
She catered to his every need, preparing a packed lunch for her husband every day and she readily supplied bottles of water to him when he gestured to her in court.
She was by his side faithfully, making the trip up and down on the train from Limerick Junction with him every day in a 14-week-long ordeal that was clearly exhausting - her dramatic weight loss throughout was testament to that.
There was nobody in the court who did not have sympathy for Imelda.
Right throughout the terrible events that transpired around the murder and discovery of Bobby Ryan's remains, Quirke seemed to rely heavily and unfairly on his wife's personal strength of character and ability to 'cope.'
He used her birthday as an excuse to flee the scene after the murder in June 2011, booking a weekend away to the Heritage in Portlaoise, which was unusual for them.
Imelda was the first person he called after "discovering" the remains of Bobby Ryan.
A garda later put it to him that if it had been his wife, he would not have liked her to have seen the body in the tank.
Quirke's reply was that Imelda would know what to do.
It was she who had alerted the authorities - in a panicked 55-second phone call to Garda Tom Neville, known to her through her sons' under-age GAA training.
He calculatedly used his wife's innocence to deflect from his own guilt in a most despicable way.
And even as gardaí questioned him about his internet searches for the rate of human decomposition, urging him to own up to being at the computer in order to do the right thing by his wife and children, Quirke would not.
He claimed he loved his wife - but the evidence shows that he had roundly abused her just as much as he had Mary Lowry.
During the trial, Quirke and Imelda had gone for leisurely walks hand in hand through Tipperary town with their dog every day after getting off the train from Dublin.
"It was like he was trying to show people that he had nothing to worry about," said one local businessman.
A senior source claimed locals were "afraid" of Quirke and had feared he would not be convicted. They did not want him back amongst them.
But now, the domineering presence of Patrick Quirke has been removed from Breanshamore.
It will be amid some difficulty that Imelda and her two sons can move on with their lives. It was clear they still love and stand by him.
But the support of their extended family and their community will assist them greatly as they adjust to their new reality.
As for Mary Lowry, the sense of relief will be palpable and she will shed no tears at his predicament.
She had suffered at the hands of Pat Quirke, she had told the trial.
He had manipulated and used her - for sex and for cash, as well as for the magnificent lands of Fawnagown.
He had attempted to frame her for the causing the death of Bobby Ryan.
On the day that Bobby's remains were found on her farm, Mary Lowry upped sticks and left Fawnagown forever. She and her sons had moved in with her brother and then into a rented house in the locality.
She then built her own two-storey house in Bansha, described by one person as a "country dream house", surrounded by many potted plants and a long gravel driveway.
Mary's future is bright.
The man who had coldly snuffed out the life of Bobby Ryan, who had, chillingly, reported her to the social services claiming she had neglected the emotional well-being of her children, and secretly recorded her chatting with her then boyfriend, Flor Cantillon, is now behind bars for life.
She would not talk to media in the aftermath of the trial - stoically saying only: "I'm not too bad. Sure, we have to try and get on with it."
With her privacy stripped from her so comprehensively during the gruelling trial process, who could blame her for seeking it now?
But Mary Lowry is a survivor - her testimony was proof of that.
She was able to stoutly defend herself against the most vigorous efforts by the defence to discredit her.
Her natural good humour was evident on Quirke's secret recordings, when her peals of laughter rang out in court.
Despite the efforts made by Quirke to tarnish her reputation as a mother, her sons are a credit to her - polite, articulate and well able for the toughest of questioning.
As a family, they will blossom after this, the weight of the investigation and trial lifted from their shoulders.
And it is all thanks to Mary Lowry, who selflessly put her reputation on the line - willing to put everything on the table and to have her personal life mercilessly dissected.
She had "bared her soul" to get justice for Bobby, she told the trial.
It can not have been an easy thing to do - least of all when living in a small, tight-knit community.
But her sacrifice was not in vain.
And now she and Imelda can get on with their lives without the menacing shadow of Patrick Quirke looming large.
Patrick Quirke, Prisoner 107243, has become a member of a select group within Ireland’s most notorious murderers; people whose shocking crimes will be enshrined in the collective public memory and the annals of the Irish criminal justice system.