HUNDREDS of people are expected to attend the funeral of murdered DCU student Nicola Furlong this weekend.
Nicola (21) will be laid to rest tomorrow, less than two weeks after she lost her life in Japan.
Her heart-broken parents have delayed their daughter's funeral to allow them to hold a wake for the young woman at the family home.
The 21-year-old's remains have been kept in a pink coffin in the Furlong home in the seaside village of Curracloe, Co Wexford.
Her body arrived in Ireland on Thursday afternoon, after travelling almost 10,000km from Tokyo, and was met by her devastated parents and two younger sisters amid poignant scenes at Dublin Airport.
They were then driven down to her home in Curracloe, Co Wexford, and she was brought home for a final time later that evening.
Since then, visitors have been arriving at the house to console DCU student Nicola's dad, Andrew Furlong, and her mum, Angie Doyle Furlong. The couple are not ready to bid farewell to their daughter -- and her funeral will be held on Sunday to give them more time.
Local curate Fr Jim Fitzpatrick described how the community, and especially the Furlong family, are "relieved" that "at least Nicola is home".
There's been a stream of visitors at the home since Nicola's dad drove her remains home on Thursday evening.
Funeral arrangements were announced for the young woman yesterday. She is described in her death notice as the "beloved daughter of Andrew and Angie and loving sister of Andrea and Hannah".
Ms Furlong's remains will be reposing at her home until her removal tomorrow at 12.30pm to St Margaret's Church in Curracloe for funeral Mass at 1pm. Burial will take place in the adjoining cemetery.
Fr Fitzpatrick said he "can't begin to imagine" what Nicola's parents have endured since learning of their daughter's brutal death in Tokyo.
"It has been described as every parent's worst nightmare," he said.
He described how Nicola's parents first heard of her death on Thursday morning of last week, but the following day, they heard two people were arrested, and then they had to hear the circumstances of how she died.
He said the family had "questions left unanswered".
"The family in some way are relieved that at least Nicola is home," he said.
The curate said he met the young woman "a couple of times" while he visited her house-bound grandmother. "She was very bubbly," he said.
He also thought she came across as "great craic" and "fun to be around".
He said the community of Curracloe was "shellshocked" by her death.