A 32-year-old man has been charged with the murder of a 78-year-old pensioner in the Clare town of Lisdoonvarna. 

Thomas Lorigan, of no fixed abode, appeared before a special sitting of the Ennis District Court on Saturday night charged with the murder of John O'Neill at an unknown time on January 6 or January 7. 

Detective Sergeant John Farmer of Kilrush Garda Station told the court that Lorigan replied "no comment" when cautioned and charged, while Inspector Helen Costello said that the garda application was to remand Lorigan in custody. 

Lorigan's solicitor Shiofra Hassett asked Judge Marie Keane for her client to be psychologically assessed while on remand. 

Judge Keane remanded Lorigan in custody to appear via video link from prison at Ennis District Court next weekend. 

She also directed that it should be noted that Lorigan consented to being transferred to Cloverhill Prison where he will be automatically psychologically assessed. 

Lorigan was arrested on Friday morning after John O'Neill was found dead in unexplained circumstances in his home in Lisdoonvarna. 

Gardaí believe that O'Neill suffered a serious assault before his death. 

O'Neill ran a bed and breakfast in the town for many years with his late wife Christine, who died last year after a battle with cancer. 

The couple also founded the Burren Painting Centre and ran an Airbnb business in recent years. 

O'Neill is survived by his two adult children and five grandchildren. 

Neighbors described him as a lovely man who was seen regularly in the town. 

Heather Crowe,  a neighbor who runs the nearby Ritz Hotel, told RTÉ that locals were deeply upset by the news. 

"He was a lovely man and neighbor and I saw him only two days ago," she told RTÉ.