John McAreavey 'sees beauty of life again' as he remarries
John McAreavey said he has seen "the beauty of life again" as he remarried five years after his late wife Michaela Harte was murdered on their honeymoon in Mauritius in 2011.
Friends expressed their joy as John (34) from Co Down married Tara Brennan from Co Kildare in a private ceremony.
John shared a photo of him and his new bride Tara on Saturday with friends paying tribute to the couple.
“Congratulations John and Tara. Looking fabulous! A fantastic day was had too, I hear! Chat soon,” a friend said.
“Congrats to you both. Wishing you peace and happiness,” said another.
“Massive congrats you pair!! Tara what a stunning bride you are! I hope the Auld Triangle and Raglan Road were still going strong at the 4am sing song,” said a close friend.
To the unconditional joy of family and friends, including his late bride's parents, the young widower proposed to his beautiful new love, Tara in October.
A close friend of the Harte family confirmed the news after Tara was spotted wearing an engagement ring to a film premiere in Belfast.
"They are engaged. It happened just a few weeks ago, around the start of October," said the family friend.
“Everyone is very pleased for them, they are a lovely couple, it's hard to describe. It's a beautiful thing and John has to rebuild his life," he said.
The bride spent recent summers working alongside John at the 'Michaela Foundation: Life Without Limits' - established to commemorate and celebrate the values of his first wife, who was brutally murdered on their honeymoon in Mauritius in 2011.
The core values of the charity, which is tailored to young people, include: a love of Irish language and cultural identity, faith, fun, wellbeing and fashion.
John McAreavey first spoke about finding love again during an interview last year.
He said was "thankful" that Tara came into his life, but added that "Michaela will always be a part of my life".
"Myself and Tara get on really well and we're really good friends," the former inter-county footballer told Pat Kenny on his Newstalk show.
"That relationship continues to blossom and I am so thankful she came into my life, she's a wonderful person and I love spending time with her.”
Despite enduring incredible heartbreak, he said he doesn't see Michaela "as being completely lost".
"What helps me be optimistic is that I know where Michaela is now, and I know she is very happy where she is. She's just in a different place now," he said.
He said he managed to get through difficult periods due to the great support of his family and friends.
"The first number of months, I still felt like I was very much in shock," he said of the death of Michaela.
John has also always credited his strong faith and relationship with God, who he describes as "a personal friend", with getting his life back on track.
However, he has also admitted that the pain of her murder is, at times, "too much of a cross to bear".
Last summer, speaking as a guest of the Little Way Novena at St Eugene's Cathedral in Derry, he spoke courageously of how, at the time, he was "left with no hope. For sure, the pain of losing a loved one in such a cruel, cruel way and then to be compounded by the injustice of everything afterwards, I'll admit that at times I did think, 'No, this is just too much'.
"That burden, that weight was just too much for me, too much of a heavy cross to ask someone to bear," he told a packed congregation as they sat in complete silence.
"When I had those temptations to feel like that and to want to almost wallow in self-pity, to be left with the temptation there is no hope left, there was always something there that came to me to sustain me in those dark times and, I suppose, sustain my determination that I would get through this suffering," he said.
In the midst of his trauma, and the subsequent trial and acquittal of those accused, Mr McAreavey found solace and healing through his deep relationship with God.
"You could react with bitterness, the anger, or you could choose to transform that suffering to go the opposite way and to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided the latter was for me."
John said that his new wife Tara has showed him “how to be happy again”.
“Tara has shown me the beauty of life again, all the good things about life and what I have learned is that I am able to deal with anything that life puts in front of me because I know that God will always be by my side.”