The mother and sister of Ruth Maguire who drowned after going missing from a hen party have said she was a “ray of sunshine to everybody”.
In Ruth Maguire’s family home in north Belfast, a Mother’s Day card sits among the many photographs and sympathy cards.
It was made by her five-year-old son Oliver last week. The mum of-three, was devoted to him, other son 10-year-old Taylor and six-year-old daughter Lydia.
“She was just a ray of sunshine to everybody,” her mother Geraldine told UTV.
Ruth was a nursing assistant who rarely drank or went out, preferring to spend time with her children in their Newcastle home.
Her mother says she knew immediately that something was wrong when Ruth hadn't contacted her partner after a hen night in Carlingford.
She explained: “I mean she kept in contact with everybody. I mean she would have phoned Jim right away as soon as she left the bar, which was at half eleven, she would have been in contact the next morning, organising everything for the children, telling Jim exactly what he had to do, that’s just how she was.”
Ruth had been out in Carlingford last Saturday night with a large group as part of a hen party when she became separated from the group.
She last posted a photograph on social media at 12.12am on Sunday close to the pier. After extensive searches her body was recovered in the sea on Monday.
Her sister Rachel Wilkinson said: “She wasn’t a drinker so therefore any sort of small amount of alcohol was going to affect her more so she obviously just lost her bearings.
“Across the road is the pier, in my mind I don’t understand but you know I’m probably never going to understand why she crossed, the only reason I thought maybe because there was a better pavement on the other side so maybe she crossed to walk on the better pavement than on the road. I don’t know.”
Ruth's partner Jim had to break the news to their children that their mother had died.
“Lydia realises I think, there’s going to be a difference in her life, she’s asking wee innocent questions,” Geraldine said.
“She’s very sad,” Rachel added.
Ruth and Jim were due to get married on the 8 August. Instead she will be buried in her wedding dress on Saturday.
Rachel commented: “It was mainly Jim wanted to see her in her dress, he knew he wasn’t going to [on their wedding day] so he wanted to see her in it.”
A vigil will be held in Carlingford on Saturday night in memory of Ruth whom her mother says sparkled and lit up a room with her love.
“She’s irreplaceable, she really is,” she added.