Wedding dress

A bride-to-be who drowned on a friend’s hen party in Ireland will be buried in the wedding dress she never got to wear.

Ruth Maguire, 30, is believed to have fallen into Carlingford Lough in County Louth shortly after midnight on Saturday when she became separated from her friends after leaving Taaffe’s Bar.

Speaking after her body was recovered on Monday, her fiancé James Griffin paid an emotional tribute, writing on Facebook: ‘Ruth wasn’t just my partner, she was my soul mate. Stay safe love always James and your three beautiful children.’

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In an interview with the Belfast Telegraph, Ms Maguire’s older sister Rachel Wilkinson called the mother of three a ‘beautiful person who had everything to live for’, before adding:

‘We are going to let her wear her wedding dress in the coffin.’

Mr Griffin spoke to Ms Maguire at around 7.30pm on Saturday, when she seemed happy and not drunk, Ms Wilkinson said.

She said people on the hen left the pub at various times and her sister might have taken the wrong exit and lost her bearing. CCTV showed her walking towards the water of Carlingford Lough, a large bay which opens onto the Irish Sea.

Ms Wilkinson said the family knew something was wrong when they heard Ruth had not come home.

‘He knew there was something drastically wrong immediately,’ she said.

Ms Maguire, who lived in Newcastle, County Down in Northern Ireland, had rented a property for the weekend with friends just five minutes’ walk from Taaffe’s.

At some point on Saturday night she is believed to have told a doorman she intended to walk home to Newcastle, and at around midnight she posted a photo on Instagram with the Lough in the background.

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By 11.30pm, the rest of the hen party were back in the house and realised Ruth was not with them.

The nursing assistant’s friends started searching for her immediately upon realising she was missing.

They then raised the alarm, prompting a much wider search by police, coastguard and members of the public.

Ms Maguire was due to marry James, her partner of 12 years, in August, according to reports. The couple had three children: Tyler, 10, Lydie, 7, and Oliver, 5.

A Garda spokesman said on Monday: ‘The hunt for a missing 30-year-old woman has been stood down following the discovery of a body of a woman in Carlingford Lough.

‘The body is believed to be that of missing woman Ruth Maguire. Gardai wish to thank the public for their help in this instance.’

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