A man has died and his wife has been seriously injured after they were attacked and stabbed at a family funeral in Tralee, Co Kerry.

The incident happened at New Rath Cemetery in Rathass just before noon.

RTÉ News understands that a fracas broke out at the end of the burial service during which the man, who was in his mid 40s, received fatal stab wounds.

He was pronounced dead around 30 minutes later. His wife was also seriously injured.

She is being treated at University Hospital Kerry for a stab injury to her upper body.

The man's body was removed to the morgue at the same hospital. A post mortem examination will be conducted on his body later.

The Office of the State Pathologist has been informed and the services of a pathologist have been requested.

New Rath Cemetary on the outskirts of Tralee

A garda investigation is now under way. The scene at New Rath Cemetery on the outskirts of Tralee will be technically examined later.

Gardaí are appealing for witnesses to contact them. RTÉ News also understands that the deceased and his wife were from Killarney in Co Kerry.

It is understood gardaí have been conducting a number of follow-up searches in Tralee, Killarney and in Cork city throughout the afternoon.

The Mayor of Tralee, Mikey Sheehy, told the PA news agency that there was "shock" at the incident and a "sombre" mood in the town.

"This type of incident is shocking at any time or anywhere, but obviously the fact that this has happened in the town's graveyard adds another level to that.

"Rath graveyard is the biggest graveyard in Tralee, it's a place where people go to reflect, it's where people go to walk, it's a place where people go to visit a loved one who has passed away.

"So the fact that such a violent act has taken place here is disturbing and extremely shocking to say the least."

Tralee councillor Cathal Foley said it was "horrendous and barbaric" that someone had lost their life at a funeral.

"People here have great affection for the graveyard, and there's great respect for funerals," he said.

Large crowds from outside the town are understood to have attended the funeral, held for a woman who died suddenly on Monday.

With additional reporting from PA