Ruth Maguire's death 'absolutely heartbreaking' - tributes to Belfast mum killed in hen night tragedy
Messages of sympathy have poured in for the family of a young Belfast mother who will be buried in the wedding dress she never got to wear following a tragic drowning accident.
Ruth Maguire, who was due to marry her partner of 12 years in August, went missing overnight on Saturday in Carlingford, Co Louth, after becoming separated from her friends at a hen party.
The body of the 30-year-old mum-of-three, who lived in Newcastle, was recovered from the water by divers on Monday afternoon following an extensive search and rescue operation.
Gardai have said they are treating the incident as "a tragic accident".
Mrs Maguire's heartbroken family are now preparing to say their final goodbyes at her funeral in Belfast this weekend.
Her heartbroken older sister, Rachel Wilkinson, said Ruth would be buried in her wedding dress at Carnmoney Cemetery following a funeral Mass on Saturday morning at St Vincent de Paul church in Ligoniel.
She added: "She was getting married on August 8. Everything was ready. We are going to let her wear her wedding dress in her coffin."
Ms Wilkinson said she believed her sister lost her bearings on Saturday night when she became separated from her 32-strong group of friends after leaving a bar.
They had all travelled to Carlingford, where they were staying to celebrate a friend's forthcoming wedding, and the alarm was raised by friends when they realised Ms Maguire had not returned after midnight.
Gardai said they were investigating Ms Maguire's sudden death and confirmed they were preparing a file for the coroner.
"There is nothing to say this is anything other than a tragic accident," a spokesman for the force added.
Ruth's devastated fiance, James Griffin (35), dad to their kids Tyler (10), Lydia (7) and Oliver (5), wrote on Facebook: "Ruth wasn't just my partner, she was my soulmate. Stay safe, love always James and your three beautiful children."
Sister Rachel's heartbreaking tribute in yesterday's Belfast Telegraph prompted an outpouring of love and solidarity for the family of the beautiful young woman, who had everything to live for.
Hundreds of online messages have been sent to Ruth's partner, children, sister, brothers Raymond Worthington (32) and Ryan Maguire (46), and parents Geraldine Worthington and Malachy Maguire.
They said their thoughts and prayers were with Ruth's family and all her friends.
Some described the St Patrick's weekend tragedy as both "absolutely heartbreaking" and "unbearably sad".
Writing on the Belfast Telegraph Facebook page, Gail Brownlee said: "This is one of the worst tragedies and I am heartbroken for this beautiful girl and her family. Sympathies to all of them. I just can't get it out of my mind."
In another post, Denise Jamison wrote: "Taken too soon RIP, thoughts and prayers are with your family."
Ruth Morrison added: "How absolutely devastating for this family. Thoughts and prayers are with her children, partner, family and friends."
Likewise, Joanne McNulty said: "No words. So, so heartbreaking.
"Thinking of all her beautiful family and friends at this devastating time. May she rest in peace."
Responding to the article, Paul Sloan said: "So, so sad. One can only hope and pray the family and friends find the strength and love to overcome this tragic event. RIP Ruth. God bless your fiance, children, your families and friends x."
John Sadlier added: "Thinking about you and your poor family. RIP."
Edward McMahon wrote: "So, so sad for the husband to be and the three kids too."
Also commenting, William Cully said: "Absolutely heartbreaking."
And Samuel Preshur wrote: "So sad. Thoughts with all the family."