Michaela McAreavey laid to rest after Tyrone funeral

Hundreds of mourners gathered to pay their respects as the funeral cortege arrived at the church

Related Stories

Thousands of mourners have attended the funeral of Michaela McAreavey near her family home in County Tyrone.

Mrs McAreavey, 27, daughter of Tyrone Gaelic football boss Mickey Harte, was found strangled in her hotel room in Mauritius a week ago.

The funeral was held at St Malachy's in Ballymacilroy, County Tyrone, the church in which she married John McAreavey on 30 December.

Irish president Mary McAleese and other dignitaries attended.

Shattered happiness

They included Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, as well as sporting and political figures.

Symbols representing Mrs McAreavey's "beauty, her faith, love of family and the Irish language" were presented at the beginning of the service.

The service was led by Mr McAreavey's uncle, Bishop John McAreavey, who married the couple.

Primate of the Catholic Church in Ireland Sean Brady also took part in the service.

BBC NI Reporter Louise Cullen

It took almost 10 minutes for the massive crowd to file into the chapel and grounds behind Michaela McAreavey's coffin.

As the cortege came over the hill towards the chapel, mourners outside fell utterly silent.

Just birdsong and the sound of rushing water from the river broke the quiet.

At the start of the mass, family members presented symbols of Michaela and her life including a pioneer pin, rosary beads and a family photograph.

Bishop McAreavey said that people would want to hold onto the memory of the "special day" of the couple's wedding rather than the day of Mrs McAreavey's death last week.

"At their wedding, everyone could see the glow of happiness that radiated from Michaela and John," he added.

He said an "evil act" had happened in Mauritius that "shattered happiness and dreams for the future" and that nothing could have prepared his nephew John for the ordeal that followed.

A marquee for 300 people was erected in the church grounds to cope with some of the overspill from the 400-capacity building.

Many more people were watching from surrounding areas and a large screen was set up to allow them to view the service.

In the Northern Ireland Assembly, First Minister Peter Robinson asked MLAs to observe a short period of reflection, describing the murder as "an enormous human tragedy".

He added: "The loss is even more harrowing as it was a beautiful young woman on her honeymoon.

"I feel we all feel we know her now from the coverage in the last week."

Mourners at the funeral included senior Gaelic Athletic Association officials such as president Christy Cooney and Ulster secretary Danny Murphy, as well as president of the Ulster rugby branch Nigel Hamilton and Irish Football Association president Jim Shaw.

Players from Mr Harte's Tyrone team and his home club, Errigal Ciaran, formed a guard of honour as Mrs McAreavey's coffin was taken from her parents' home.

Pupils from the late Irish teacher's form class in St Patrick's Academy, Dungannon, and players from Mr McAreavey's Tullylish GAA club in County Down accompanied the coffin into the church.

Dignified

Bishop McAreavey told mourners that Michaela McAreavey's death robbed John McAreavey of a beautiful wife.

Over the weekend, thousands of mourners paid their respects at the Harte family home in the village of Ballygawley, County Tyrone.

Fr Gerard McAleer, a close friend of the Harte family, said this had provided "comfort" to the Harte and McAreavey families.

Three men, all staff at the hotel, have been charged in connection with the killing, thought to have happened as Mrs McAreavey disturbed a burglary in her room.

Room attendant Avinash Treebhoowoon, 29, and floor supervisor Sandip Moneea, 41, have been charged with murder, and room attendant Raj Theekoy, 33, with conspiracy to murder.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.