Memorial vigils for murdered primary school teacher Ashling Murphy are being held across Ireland, with police saying they are making “significant progress” in their investigation.
Thousands of people gathered to pay their respects to the 23-year-old, who was found dead on Wednesday.
She had gone for a run on the shores of Grand Cana at Tullamore, County Offaly.
Memorials are held there as well as in many other cities, including Dublin and Belfast.
Ms Murphy died of strangulation and Irish police are still searching for the talented musician’s attacker.
The Garda said they had made “significant progress” in their investigation but were not releasing details for “operational reasons”, adding that the Murphy family were “overwhelmed” by the national outpouring of support.
A 40-year-old man arrested in connection with her murder has been released without charge and is no longer a suspect.
Gardai believes the attack was “random” and is now looking for a mountain bike he believes was linked to the killer.
Irish Justice Minister Helen McEntee said she was “thinking of Ashling and all the women who are and have been victims of violence”.
“We must unite to demand zero tolerance for violence against women. As Minister of Justice, I work so that we have a society that no longer tolerates this,” she said.
Taoiseach Micheal Martin was among those who stood silently outside the Dail parliament in Dublin on Friday, while Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill joined the crowd at the hotel in Belfast City.
Other vigils and memorial events will take place in the coming days.
In Tullamore, shops, businesses and cafes closed early Friday as thousands of people attended a vigil at a local park.
There were tears as people came to cry and pay their respects to the teacher. Ms Murphy’s friends were among the traditional Irish musicians who performed at the vigil.
Attracta Brady, Ms Murphy’s first violin teacher, said: ‘She was the most beautiful girl inside and out.
“She was a parent’s dream. She was everything you would want in a girl. She had integrity, she was honest, she was trustworthy. She was eccentric and a little cheeky at times…and she got away with it because she had that beautiful, sparkling smile.
“She was never in a bad mood, she was always smiling and she loved her violin. Her parents only told me yesterday that she should never be told to practice. She was bright and energetic and everyone l loved.
Local priest Father Joe Gallagher addressed the crowd before calling for a minute’s silence.
“We remember his heartbroken family, co-workers, music, sports, friendship and his young first-class students who loved their teacher,” he said. “It is a moment of mourning beyond words.”
“We are united, united with groups all over our country, and even beyond, united with women who fear and know the trauma of violence. United in grief, anger, shock.
Earlier, Taoiseach Mr Martin said the killing had ‘united the nation in solidarity and revulsion’.
“No stone will be left unturned” to bring the culprit to justice, he promised.
Ms Murphy’s death has sparked a new debate about the safety of women in Ireland, with many wondering how such an attack could have happened in broad daylight.
Tanaiste Leo Varadkar said: “We as a society have to deal with this. There is an epidemic of violence against women. This has been going on for millennia, quite frankly.
“I think men and boys, in particular, have a responsibility to start having this conversation between us about what kind of factors, what kind of attitudes, that bring up feelings that drive men to commit acts of violence. against women.”
Gardai continues to appeal for witnesses and has asked anyone with information about a Falcon Storm mountain bike to come forward. It had straight handlebars and distinctive yellow-green front forks.
Ms Murphy’s family described her as a ‘special girl’ and a ‘little angel’.
His father Raymond said The Irish Independent“She was a hard worker, with a lot of dynamism. A wonderful musician.
“She’s crammed so much in her short life.”
Floral tributes were left outside the gates of Durrow National School, where Ms Murphy taught. She was loved by her students and staff described her as “a very professional and talented young teacher”.
They said they were “completely devastated by the passing of our dear colleague and friend”.
The Independent Gt