Friday 23 February 2018

Teacher, GAA fan, beauty -- and the apple of her parents' eye

Edel Kennedy

SHE was a teacher, an avid GAA supporter and a Rose of Tralee contestant.

But to Mickey and Marian Harte, she was merely Michaela, the apple of their eye.

The couple doted on their only daughter, as did her siblings, Mark, Michael and Mattie.

The family were so close that Marian joked that Michaela had gotten "the shock of her life" when she left home and started her first job.

John Haran, a former Donegal player who got to know Michaela after going to college with her brother Mark, said that in 2008 his parents met Mickey and Marian Harte.

"My mum asked Marian about Michaela and how she was getting on," he said.

"Marian laughed and said that Michaela had got the shock of her life now that she had to go out into the world and work after she had started teaching in St Patrick's Academy in Dungannon.

"Marian and Mickey would tell you themselves that Michaela was a real mammy and daddy's girl and the joke was she was going to have her eyes opened now that she was going out into the real world."

Marian now cannot bear to look at newspapers in case she sees pictures of her beloved daughter.

Michaela grew up in the close-knit Tyrone community of Errigal Kieran and went to St Malachy's Primary School, Glencull, and later, Loretto Convent Grammar School, Omagh. She then went on to further studies at St Mary's University College, Belfast, from where graduated as a teacher.

During her younger years she developed a special love and knowledge of the Irish language and she studied both Irish and religion in college.

In 2007, she began to work as a teacher in St Patrick's Academy, Dungannon.

A devout Catholic and Pioneer, she attended Mass regularly and her "only additive" was tea.

And friends joked that her other religion was fashion. Always well-dressed, she loved taking part as a model in local fashion shows.

Her other passion was football -- or rather, the Tyrone GAA team which her father managed.

It was this love of GAA which first drew Michaela to her future husband, John McAreavey, when they met in 2005.

Their honeymoon to Dubai and Mauritius was one of the longest lengths of time she was ever away from home without her family.

But she kept in contact with her parents almost every day via calls and text messages, telling them about how much she and her new husband were enjoying their trip together.

Irish Independent

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