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Five years after murder of Michaela widower John McAreavey set to wed again

By Claire McCormack

Published 02/11/2015

John McAreavey with Tara Brennan
John McAreavey with Tara Brennan
Tragic Michaela McAreavey

After the brutal murder of his beloved bride Michaela, John McAreavey felt the cross he had been given to carry was simply too heavy to bear.

Now, nearly five years after he suffered the darkest of days in Mauritius, he has found the light of love once again.

To the joy of family and friends, including his late bride's parents, the young widower is set to walk down the aisle after proposing to his beautiful new love, Tara Brennan.

A close friend of the Harte family confirmed the engagement at the weekend after the smitten young couple set rumour mills swirling when Tara was spotted with a large sparkling diamond ring on her wedding finger at the premiere of new James Bond movie, Spectre, in Belfast.

"They are engaged. It happened just a few weeks ago, around the start of October," said the family friend.

"Everyone is very pleased for them, they are a lovely couple, it's hard to describe. It's a beautiful thing and John has to rebuild his life."

Mr McAreavey (34) posted a photograph of the couple at the event on his Twitter account last Monday.

Almost five years after the tragic death of the GAA player's wife Michaela - the daughter of Tyrone Gaelic football boss Mickey Harte - her family have given John their blessing.

"John has the complete support of the Harte family in his decision. He still has a very close relationship with them and that will never stop," he said. "Mickey Harte has been with John on several occasions over the years, so he's very happy for him."

The wider Ulster GAA community is thrilled for the couple, both accountants, who met at a work event in Dublin in 2013.

"John lives in a very close-knit community and his family are delighted for him. Tara is lovely, she's an absolutely gorgeous girl," he said. The date of their nuptials is not yet known. The bride-to-be, a native of Kildare, works as an accountant in Belfast.

However, she has also spent recent summers working alongside John at the Michaela Foundation: Life Without Limits - established to celebrate the values of his first wife, who was brutally murdered on their honeymoon in Mauritius in 2011.

The core values of the charity, which is tailored to young people, include a love of Irish language and cultural identity, faith, fun, well-being and fashion.

The foundation offers retreats, workshops and summer camps for young people throughout Ireland who want to establish a faith-filled life.

Mr McAreavey first spoke about finding love again in an interview last year.

He said he was "thankful" that Tara came into his life, but added: "Michaela will always be a part of my life".

"Myself and Tara get on really well and we're really good friends," the former inter-county footballer told Pat Kenny on his Newstalk show.

"That relationship continues to blossom and I am so thankful she came into my life, she's a wonderful person and I love spending time with her.

"What helps me be optimistic is that I know where Michaela is now, and I know she is very happy where she is. She's just in a different place now."

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