Northern Ireland news

Ruth Maguire 'to be buried in her wedding dress'

Ruth Maguire whose body was recovered from the water in Co Louth
Digital staff

A young mother who died in a tragic accident in Carlingford Lough is to be buried in the wedding dress she planned to wear this summer.

Ruth Maguire, a 30-year-old health assistant from north Belfast, who lived in Newcastle, Co Down, with her family, went missing during a hen night in Carlingford, Co Louth, on Saturday evening.

Following an extensive search operation, her body was recovered from the lough by divers on Monday afternoon.

In an emotional interview, Ruth's older sister Rachel Wilkinson told the Belfast Telegraph the mother-of-three had planned to marry her partner James Griffin (35) in August.

"She was getting married on August 8. Everything was ready; she was very organised," Rachel said.

"I was going to be maid of honour. All the children - hers, mine and (their brother) Ryan's little girl Nyla (8) - were going to be flower boys and girls. There were 180 guests."

She added: "We are going to let her wear her wedding dress in the coffin."

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Mrs Wilkinson said her sister was "a beautiful person who had everything to live for".

"It's so unexpected; you don't expect to bury your younger sister," she said.

"Nobody really knows what happened. Ruth had put out a short video with no sound on Instagram at 12.12am on Sunday and that was the last time she used her phone.

"But on that image there was a picture of a doorway to a small cottage across the road from the entrance to the pier and that's what triggered the whole search in the lough."

Searches were carried out on Carlingford Lough for missing woman Ruth Maguire

Ms Maguire had three children - sons Tyler (10) and Oliver (5) and a daughter, Lydia (7).

Mrs Wilkinson said her sister, who worked at Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry, went the wrong way after leaving a bar in Carlingford and "ended up on her own".

"I think she'd lost her bearings," she said.

"She was trying to find where they were staying. They were actually staying six or seven doors down from there so she'd got herself to the road she should've been on but she was at the wrong section. But she'd more or less got herself back on track ... which was why it didn't make sense for her to cross the road and go onto the pier..."

She said the family are grateful that her sister's body had been found.

"In some way it probably helps that we found her," Rachel said. "At least we're not left with the uncertainty of wondering if somebody took her."

Ms Maguire was an underage coach at Bryansford GAC in Newcastle.

The club was hit by further tragedy early on Monday when two former players and friends, Shane McAnallen and Martin Patterson, who were both in their twenties, were killed in a car crash near Carlingford.

Mrs Wilkinson said her sister was a family-orientated person who rarely went on nights out.

"Ruth didn't really drink. She had tea on her 30th birthday," she said.

"This was a rare occasion when she was having a few drinks. It's not her scene. She's never been one for going out. She was very much a family girl."

Ms Maguire is survived by her parents Geraldine and Malachy, partner James, children Tyler, Lydia and Oliver and siblings Raymond, Rachel and Ryan.

Funeral Mass will be celebrated at St Vincent de Paul Church in Ligoniel, north Belfast at 9am on Saturday, followed by burial at Carnmoney Cemetery at 11am.

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