Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 2 August 2015

Harte tragedy: Mourners pay respects as Michaela McAreavey remains return to her family home

Published 15/01/2011 | 00:00

Tyrone Manager Mickey Harte at his daughter Michaela's wedding to John McAreavey
Tyrone Manager Mickey Harte at his daughter Michaela's wedding to John McAreavey
John and Michaela McAreavey, pictured here on a visit to the Giant's Causeway. The couple were on honeymoon in Mauritius when Michaela was murdered.
The remains of murdered honeymooner Michaela McAreavey return home last night from Mauritius.
The remains of murdered honeymooner Michaela McAreavey return home last night from Mauritius.
Former Tyrone Captain Peter Canavan (3rd left) joins members of the Errigal Ciaran GAA Club line the route as a hearse transporting the body of murdered Mauritius honeymooner Michaela McAreavey approaches in Ballygawley, Co Tyrone.
The body of Michaela McAreavey left George Best Belfast City airport in a hearse on Friday afternoon.
Michaela McAreavey's husband John, (foreground), waits for the hearse to leave Belfast city airport under police escort on the last leg of ehe journey home
Michaela's remains leave Victoria Hospital in Muiritius yesterday en route to the airport. 13th January 2011.
John McAreavey, husband of Michaela Harte leaving the mortuary at Victoria Hospital in Mauritius yesterday wearing her wedding ring and engagement ring around his neck
John McAreavey, husband of Michaela Harte leaving the mortuary at Victoria Hospital in Mauritius yesterday wearing her wedding ring and engagement ring around his neck
A hearse with the body of Michaela McAreavey, leaves George Best Belfast city airport. Friday January 14, 2011.
Michaela McAreavey on her wedding day
John McAreavey and wife Michaela Harte are seen on their wedding day
Michaela Harte Far Right front in St.Malachy's Primary School where she attended and later done her teaching placement..
Raj Theekoy
Suspect Avinash Treebhoowoon (29) is brought to Mapou Court, Port Louis Mauritius, Wednesday, Jan.12, 2011. The room attendant has been charged with the murder of Michaela McAreavey.
Suspect Sandip Moneea (41) covers his face as he is escorted to Mapou Court, Port Louis Mauritius, Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011. The floor supervisor has been charged with the murder of Michaela McAreavey.
Raj Theekoy (33), faces a conspiracy charge in connection with the murder of Michaela McAreavey.
A distraught Mickey Harte with son Michael.
Michaela Harte (left) in St.Malachy's Primary School where she attended as a pupil and later completed her teaching placement.
Michaela Harte in with Throphy in St.Malachy's Primary School where Michaela attended and later done her teaching placement
Micheala Harte in fancy dress in St.Malachy's Primary School where she attended as a pupil and later completed her teaching placement..
A distraught Mickey Harte with sons Matthew (left) and Michael at their family home near Ballygawley
Michaela Harte after she had received a B.Ed at Queens University Belfast. (Picture taken in June 2006)
Balloons with the couple's names giving directions to St Malachy's Church outside Ballygwley where they recently got married
A distraught Mickey Harte at his family home near Ballygawley
Wedding flowers from the couple's recent marriage at St Malachy's Church outside Ballygawley
Alan Lewis - PhotopressBelfast.co.uk 11/1/2011Mandatory Credit - Picture by Justin KernoghanA distraught Mickey Harte with sons Matthew (left) and Michael at their family home near Ballygawley today.Michaela, the daughter of Tyrone gaelic football manager Mickey Harte was strangled, Mauritius police have said.Michaela McAreavey, 27, was found dead at the Legends hotel in Mauritius where she was staying while on honeymoon.The 27-year-old Irish woman had married John McAreavey, a member of Down's gaelic football team, on 30 December. He is not a suspect.Police in Mauritius intend to question six people about the killing later on Tuesday.
A wedding sign and balloons telling wedding guests directions to the church near the family home in Ballygawley
Mickey Harte (centre), is comforted at the family home outside Ballygawley in Co Tyrone
(From the left) Mickey Harte, John McAreavey, Michaela Harte, Bishop John McAreavey and Brendan McAreavey are seen on the wedding day of Michaela Harte and John McAreavey
Donegal Celtic and Cliftonville observe a minutes silence in respect of Michaela Harte at the game in west Belfast
Tyrone manager Mickey Harte and his daughter Michaella
Tyrone manager Mickey Harte and his daughter Michaela after the All Ireland Football Final 28/9/2003
Michaela Harte, daughter of Tyrone GAA manager Mickey Harte. Pic by Ian Magill. 23/3/10.Real Woman feature by Stephanie Bell.
Michaela Harte
Irish News handout of (left to right) Mickey Harte, John McAreavey, Michaela Harte, Bishop John McAreavey and Brendan McAreavey on the wedding day of Michaela Harte and John McAreavey at St. Malacheys Church Ballymacilrory on December 30, 2010. Michaela, the daughter of Tyrone GAA manager Mickey Harte was murdered in her hotel room, police in Mauritius confirmed today.
Tyrone manager Mickey Harte with his son David and daughter Michaela after his side's win at Croke Park
Tyrone GAA boss Mickey Harte graduates at Queens University pictured with his daughter Machela who also graduatedand became a Bachelor in Education
Michaela Harte appearing on the television programme the Late Late Show.
Tyrone manager Mickey Harte celebrates with his daughter Michaela and his son Matthew
John McAreavey and wife Michaela Harte are seen on their wedding day at St. Malacheys Church Ballymacilrory on December 30, 2010.
Mickey Harte, pictured in 2006 with his daughter Michaela

Hundreds of people have gathered in Ballygawley, County Tyrone to pay their respects to Michaela McAreavey at the Harte family home.

The 27-year-old was found dead on Monday, murdered in her honeymoon hotel room in Mauritius.

The bride's long journey back to her devastated parents Mickey and Marian in Co Tyrone ended last night when her coffin was carried into the house she had left a fortnight ago on her wedding day.

Thrilled guests who kissed the young teacher outside St Malachy's Church and wished her well for the future will soon be back at the idyllic chapel half-a-mile off the busy A5, only this time as mourners.

Weather-beaten home-made signs directing her wedding traffic, which provided such a heartrending image in the days after her murder, have now all been taken down.

In their stead hundreds of people gathered on the roadside to pay their respects as the cortege rounded the Ballygawley roundabout and headed for home. It was doubtful anyone was left in the nearby village.

There are few motorists in the north of Ireland who haven't driven round the landmark that links the rural west to the rest of the province.

But for Michaela and Mickey Harte it had significance beyond a road junction.

This is where the father and his only daughter would have jumped on the bus with the rest of the Tyrone GAA team on their way down to Dublin's Croke Park in search of Gaelic footballing glory.

And so many times they would return in joyous mood having found exactly that.

Footballers met there again on this cold January night to form a guard of honour as the girl they treated as a little sister passed by.

Among them the former captain of Tyrone's all-conquering All-Ireland champions Peter Canavan and goalkeeper John Devine. They like dozens of others wore the colours of Mr Harte's home club Errigal Ciaran.

One man who made a special effort to get to the roundabout was Eddie McGuigan, from the village of Benburb 18 miles away.

"I'm a cancer patient and going through a pretty bad time and I wouldn't be fit for Monday's funeral, to maybe walk a mile or stand wet in the rain, so the wife and me said we'd go up today and pass our respects on," he said.

"Even if we only stood on the side of the road and blessed ourselves when the remains were going by, at least we'd done something."

Like the Harte family, Mr McGuigan is a member of the devout Catholic Pioneer abstinence movement.

"The Hartes are such a respected family all over the countryside, being very, very honest, very, very genuine people with their religion," he said.

"It's safe to say they wouldn't know what bigotry was.

"I don't think he will recover, I pray to God he does and comes out again. Those lads in the Tyrone team that he has been working with since 1997, they are a big happy family, this has wrecked that family."

A fellow mourner encapsulated the thoughts in all of the bowed heads.

"It's devastating to think that only 14 days ago she was getting married," she said.

"She was such a good girl, a really decent girl, it's just such a tragedy."

Two miles up the A5 an army of GAA men flanked the junction with the Glencull Road that leads to the Harte house.

They wore the same high-visibility vests they sport when marshalling supporters at the big match.

But even in their worst nightmares this is one event none of them ever thought they'd have to steward.

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