Mourners at the funeral mass for Ashling Murphy were told that her family and boyfriend have been "robbed of your most precious gift".

The 23-year-old primary school teacher was attacked and killed on the banks of the Grand Canal in Tullamore last Wednesday afternoon.

Her parents Raymond and Kathleen, her sister Amy, brother Cathal and boyfriend Ryan were among the chief mourners at her funeral mass at St Brigid's Church in Mountbolus.

Parish priest Fr Michael Meade told Ashling's family and her boyfriend that they "have been robbed of your most precious gift - a gift that gave only joy and love, fun and laughter to many beyond your family."

In his homily, he said: "The issues raised in many ways and by many voices since this horrible act of violence invaded all our lives will, we pray, continue to evolve and bring the change we need so much, to simply give and show respect."

Fr Meade added that today "we give thanks for the privilege of sharing in this most wonderful gift of Ashling Murphy, today we share our love, our grief, our faith and our comfort with the Murphy and Leonard families".

Symbols of Ms Murphy's life were brought to the altar, including a fiddle, a Kilcormac/Killoughey camogie jersey, a family picture, a school book and her photo.

Ella Flaherty, a childhood friend of Ashling's, was among the musicians performing at the funeral mass.

Her many friends from school, college, Kilcormac/Killoughey GAA club and Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann also attended.

Ms Murphy was also a member of Ballyboy Comhaltas. Local musicians, many of whom Ms Murphy played with throughout the years, provided the music.

Ashling's boyfriend Ryan Casey said he will cherish the five years he spent with her – describing Ashling as his soulmate and the greatest love of his life.

Bishop of Meath Tom Deenihan said her murder has asked questions of ourselves and of society.

"It has questioned our attitudes and, particularly, our attitudes towards women and it has questioned our values and our morality," he said.

Among the Prayers of the Faithful, read by Ms Murphy's cousins, was a call that "the many vigils that took place in memory of Ashling, mark the beginning of an end to violence against women".

Also in attendance were President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina along with Taoiseach Micheál Martin, who all sympathised with the family before the mass began.

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee and Minister for Arts Catherine Martin were also among the mourners.

Ms Murphy's first class pupils at Durrow National School formed a guard of honour outside the church. The children each held a photograph of her on her graduation day and a single red rose.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin arrives ahead of the funeral

Minister for Education Norma Foley also attended and sympathised with students and teachers gathered outside the church before the mass began.

Well-wishers lined the route to St Brigid's Church in Mountbolus before the funeral mass

In a post on her Facebook page, Amy Murphy described her sister as the "light of our lives and heart of the family". She asked on behalf of the family that "any musicians attending please bring their instrument and play music at lower town cemetery after mass should you wish".

Ashling Murphy was brought on her final journey this afternoon and laid to rest in Lowertown cemetery.

In pictures: Crowds say goodbye to Ashling Murphy