An inquest in Mayo has heard how the body of an 82-year-old woman lay undiscovered for three months after her death.

Irene Daly was described as a "private, reclusive and deeply religious woman". She was last seen alive on 26 January last, on board a bus to Westport.

But it was not until late April that a neighbour raised the alarm to gardaí about Mrs Daly. She had noticed that the curtains were drawn at her home in Knock, and bluebottles could be seen around the windows.

The remains were discovered on the first floor of the house on 23 April. The inquest at Castlebar Coroner's Court was told DNA tests were needed to establish Mrs Daly's identity, due to the length of time the body had been there.

Garda Jason Lardner told the Coroner that the dead woman had written a message on her front door reading "I don't need anything. I am very well. I have everything".

Mrs Daly's daughter, Hilda Good, said the last time she had spoken to her mother at Christmas and they had "a fight" over her living in Mayo.

Medical evidence was given to the hearing that the cause of death was due to lobar pneumonia.

Dr. Fadel Bennani, consultant pathologist, said the cause of death was natural but was difficult to diagnose due to severe decomposition.

After returning a verdict of death from natural causes Coroner Pat O'Connor described the case as "very sad and difficult" from the point of view of relatives, neighbours and investigating gardai. He emphasised the importance of neighbours checking on those living alone in the community, particularly in wintertime and around Christmas.