FORMER classmates were reunited in grief last night as they stood beside the remains of four young women who died in a two-car collision.
There were scenes of harrowing sadness as the friends of the four former Carlow students gathered at homes and funeral parlours in Carlow and Naas following Tuesday's incident in Kildare.
Today, the funerals of Chermaine Carroll (20) will take place at St Mary's church in Bennekerry, Carlow while Gemma Nolan (19) will be buried after a funeral service at the Holy Family church in Askea, Carlow.
The funeral of Niamh Doyle (19) will take place tomorrow at the Holy Family Church in Askea, Carlow at noon.
Afterwards, Ashling Middleton (19) will be laid to rest after a funeral Mass at 2pm in Ballycane in Naas, Co Kildare.
The driver of the car, Dayna Kearney (20) remains in a serious condition in hospital and is believed to have spinal injuries.
Yesterday, former school friends at St Leo's college in Carlow heard of the girls' great love of life and how the four deceased were "beautiful girls, full of craic and goodness".
Celebrant John Cummins said "a cloud hangs over Carlow this week; heavy and grey, and heartbreaking".
Nearly 1,000 students from the girls' former school attended the service, which was carried live on the diocesan website and on the cathedral radio.
Teachers, family friends, and members of the Middleton, Nolan, Doyle and Carroll families were also in attendance, along with former classmates of the girls from the class of 2013.
Fr Cummins said they had gathered as a community "in deep shock and deep mourning".
"I ask you to pray for the families of these girls and for Dayna - they need your support, that's why we're here," he said.
He said the girls symbolised all that was best about St Leo's.
When their class had graduated, they had chosen the words from Oh the Places You'll Go - the children's storybook written by Dr Seuss.
The words, full of hope and optimism epitomised what these girls stood for, he said.
St Leo's College Principal Clare Ryan read a piece called Dreams, that Ashling Middleton wrote in the yearbook, and told later of the girl's great writing talent.
"We are not our past, we are not our future. We are the present," Ashling had written.
"Like the friends, which we have made in the last six years, our dreams will always await our return and welcome us back with open arms and a wise smile willing to chase away the darkness of failure in return for a little time and care."