Huge crowds have attended the funeral in Tyrone of Michaela McAreavey, the daughter of GAA sports star Mickey Harte and the honeymoon bride of John McAreavey.
Michaela’s death at the hands of hotel burglars during her honeymoon in Mauritius shocked the nation and led to an outpouring of sympathy across Ireland.
Thousands came from all over the country and from the other side of the world to pay their final respects.
President Mary McAleese and her husband Dr Martin McAleese were among the first to extend their sympathies to the grieving families following yesterday’s Requiem Mass.
The coffin was carried the one mile to St Malachy’s church in Ballymacilroy, where the couple were married on December 30th.
The Requiem Mass began some 20 minutes late, such was a size of the cortege that made its way from the Harte family home.
The Stormont Executive was represented by Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. Among the ministers, MLAs, mayors and councillors from across the political divide were Sinn Fein’s Gerry Adams, and MPs Pat Doherty and Michelle Gildernew.
Bishop John McAreavey performed the wedding ceremony of Michaela to his nephew in the same church just 19 days ago.
“At their wedding, everyone commented on the glow of happiness that radiated from Michaela and John. Finally they were united as husband and wife,” he told mourners.
He recalled her murder on the holiday island of Mauritius last week: “Today we also need to somehow face the darkness of these days. An evil act ended Michaela’s young life last Monday. It robbed John of his beautiful wife; it deprived the Harte family of their precious daughter and sister; it deprived the McAreavey family of the daughter-in-law they looked forward to having; it shattered hopes and dreams for the future.”
Police in Mauritius have charged three local men in connection with the murder, and said two of the them have admitted participating in the events that surrounded her death.