A 74-year-old woman has said her world has been shattered and her life broken after being raped by a 24-year-old man.

Anthony Hussey, from Ardshillane, Sneem, Co Kerry, pleaded guilty to two counts of raping the woman on the morning of 20 September 2014.

The woman, who cannot be named to protect her identity, had been washing herself in her en suite bathroom.

When she walked into her bedroom a man dressed in dark clothing and wearing a balaclava was waiting for her. There was a struggle, and he raped her.

In a victim impact statement, she said there are no words to describe the impact of the trauma.

She said there is not a day when the memory is not present and she cannot shake off the flashbacks.

She said her heart does not stop crying and the core of her being has been reduced to nothing and writing about what happened makes her feel like crying.

She said: "I feel small, like I have been reduced to a puppet. I feel, in the true sense of the word, gutted".

She added that she has also been physically affected and cannot live without prescribed medication.

She said her hair is thinning from the shock, her digestive system gives her trouble and she often feels nauseous due to unreleased emotions.

She said: "I want to feel truly alive again, whole again and learn to love myself again" before asking "having being so wounded and betrayed will I ever forgive or forget?"

She pointed out that Hussey is young enough to be her grandson and she said she feels sorry for his parents.

During his sentence hearing in the Central Criminal Court a letter of apology from Hussey was handed into the court in which he "sincerely apologised" to the woman he raped.

His barrister said Hussey understands the horrors he has inflected and the toll it has taken on the woman. 

A letter of apology from the Hussey family to the woman was also submitted saying the woman remains in their thoughts and prayers. 

Michael Bowman SC told the court that while the family is deeply ashamed of his actions upon his release from prison he will have their support.

Mr Bowman asked the judge to take into account the relative youth of his client when he carried out this offence.

He said Hussey has taken ownership of his wrongdoing with his plea of guilty and he understands the enormity of his actions, and the victim impact statement resonates deeply within him.

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy remanded Hussey in custody and will sentence him on 7 June.