Ruth Maguire, who died on a night out with friends last week, has been laid to rest.
The 30-year-old health assistant, who was due to marry her partner in August, was buried in her wedding dress.
The alarm was raised last Saturday when Ms Maguire went missing on a hen night in Carlingford Co Louth, sparking a major search, before her body was found in the nearby lough.
Friends have described her death as a tragic accident.
Ms Maguire’s coffin, covered in flowers, was followed by her partner Jim and three children – Tyler, Lydia and Oliver – who were joined by hundreds of tearful mourners on their way into mass held in St Vincent de Paul Church in Ligoniel, north Belfast on Saturday morning.
A number of bouquets of flowers were carried by members of the RNLI, while a bouquet that spelt out “Friend” was driven in the hearse.
A guard of honour made up of children and adults from Ms Maguire’s local GAA club, Bryansford GAC in Newcastle, where she volunteered as a coach, stood outside the church.
During the service, mourners heard how Ms Maguire, who is originally from Belfast, worked in Daisy Hill hospital in Newry, and although the baby of the family, was “the boss” who looked out for her sisters and brothers.
The priest told mourners Ms Maguire dedicated her life to others, through her job as a carer, coaching sport and Irish dancing.
He said: “Ruth was slow to take offence and quick to forgive, she realised that life is too short.
“Family was at the heart of Ruth’s life, and Ruth and Jim were due to receive the sacrament of marriage this year, my prayer is that the grace you were due to receive that day, will come to you today Jim and sustain you in the future.”
“May she meet you Jim in God’s kingdom, dressed in dazzling white,” the priest added.
Speaking to her three children, the priest said: “Don’t you ever think that because you’re wee your prayers aren’t powerful. God listens to your prayers so carefully, you remember that.
“Today, remember your mummy loved you so very much, and your prayers will help you on life’s journey, she was so proud of you, and you’ll have so many people around you to help you.
“Remember this is always hope, always faith, always love.”
A card made by her young son for Mother’s Day next week has taken pride of place in their home with the many sympathy cards sent by the local community.
Friends have described Ms Maguire as “the most loving, hardworking and caring mother to her three beautiful children” who, along with her partner, “worked tirelessly to give their children the best that they possibly could in life”.
She was buried Carnmoney Cemetery.
- Press Association