A religious congregation has said it is stunned after two of its nuns died in a swimming tragedy.
Sr Imelda Carew and Sr Paula Buckley, members of the Presentation Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary, got into difficulties during an evening swim at Inch Strand in Co Kerry last night.
The active pair had been enjoying a walk during a few days break in the area when they decided to go into the water early in the evening.
Emergency services were alerted and they were taken from the water by the Valentia Coastguard and airlifted to Tralee Hospital.
Both were later pronounced dead.
Sr Mary Deane, congregational leader of the Presentation Sisters Union, said they were struggling to come to terms with the loss.
"We are all stunned and shocked by this tragedy," she said.
"Words seem inadequate to express our loss and sorrow as we come to terms with the tragic events that unfolded on a beautiful sunny evening.
"It is a tragic loss for all of us and for their families."
Both nun, aged in their 60s and 70s, were part of the South East Province of the Presentation Sisters.
"These two wonderful women have been a source of inspiration and blessing to many people throughout their lives," said Sr Deane.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families, communities and friends of our beloved Sisters at this time."
Independent TD Mattie McGrath said he was shocked and saddened by the sudden and tragic deaths.
"It is indeed a tragic loss," he said.
"Sisters Carew and Buckley have been a source of inspiration and blessing to many people throughout their lives, in their ministries and communities which encompassed the dioceses of Cashel and Emly, Ossory, Waterford and Lismore, Ferns and some of the diocese of Dublin."
Mr McGrath offered his sympathy to their families and the Presentation Sisters.
"My thoughts and prayers are with them at this sad time," he said.