A verdict of accidental death has been returned at the inquest into the death of a woman who was struck by a train in Co Mayo last April.

70-year-old Bridget McHale, from Knockshanvalley, Straide, Foxford, had been trying to move her dog from rail tracks when she was hit by a train bound for Ballina.

The inquest into her death heard that Ms McHale's dog Prince had laid down on a level crossing and would not move, despite his owner's urgings.

The train driver sounded his hooter repeatedly when he saw the dog to warn the pedestrian.

However, she had moved onto the middle of the track and was hunched over the dog in an effort to move her pet.

The inquest was told that the train's brakes had been put into the emergency position but that Mrs McHale was hit before it came to a standstill.

She died immediately as a result of the injuries she sustained.

In a statement read at Castlebar Coroner's Court, Mrs McHale's husband outlined how he had been dancing with his wife at an event in Swinford the previous night.

She was said to be "in great spirits" on the morning of the accident and had read the papers and worked on a crossword before she took Prince for a walk at 10.30am.

There were 18 passengers on the train when the accident occurred.

None witnessed the impact and none were injured.

Coroner Pat O'Connor sympathised with the McHale family on their "heartbreaking" loss.

He said the circumstances of the death were extremely sad for James McHale, who had been married to Bridget for 51 years.