A father drowned his three-year-old daughter before killing himself in an apparent-murder suicide as his marriage broke down, detectives believe.
The remains of farmer Martin McCarthy, 50, and little Clarissa were discovered on the coastline close to their west Cork home in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
The tragedy has devastated her American-born mother Rebecca and numbed the tight-knit community around the picturesque village of Ballydehob.
Clarissa was described as a "happy, bubbly child" who locals said was adored by her mother and father.
Councillor Dermot Sheehan, a friend of Mr McCarthy and one of the volunteers who helped search for the pair, said people across the area are in shock.
"Everybody is numbed with shock and are trying to come to terms with the events of yesterday evening," he said.
"Martin would be very well-known in the community. He was a very hard-working farmer and was very well-known in farming circles throughout west Cork.
"His wife Rebecca has worked part-time on and off in the village locally in the post-office. They were a typical loving unit, Martin was a hard, dedicated working family man and Rebecca a lovely wife."
The horror unfolded at around midnight when 26-year-old Mrs McCarthy returned to the family's rural farmhouse in Foilnamuck, Ballydehob, and discovered her husband and their only child were missing. It is understood a note had been left at the property which sparked a massive search around the farm and nearby coastline.
Clarissa's body was discovered along the shoreline at the isolated Audley Cove shortly before 2am as her mother was on the scene. Her father's remains were found in shallow water nearby about 40 minutes.