TWO days before her wedding day on December 30, the late Michaela Harte received a phone call from former Rose of Tralee, Orla O'Shea from Kilkenny wishing her well on her big day.
Michaela who was strangled on Monday by an intruder to her room while on honeymoon on the island of Mauritius was the Ulster rose in 2004 when Orla O'Shea won the coveted national beauty pageant. The two had remained good friends since the event six years ago and had kept up regular contact.
"When I called her Michaela she was in great form and so happy that she was going to be married," Orla said. Recalling the details of that final conversation with the 27-year-old, Orla said that Michaela had been really excited and couldn't wait for the big day when she married Down footballer John McAreavey.
Describing Michaela as a lady, Orla said she had a fabulous bright smile and was stunning looking. "But that was only a fraction of who she was, she was just really kind and had a serenity around her that few others have," she recalled with much sadness."She was such a genuine person and I will always remember how religious she was. She had a great faith and even had little holy medals sewn into her dress when she was a contestant in the Rose of Tralee and went on stage in the Dome, Tralee to be interviewed by RTE's Ryan Tubridy . "I can't believe she is gone and I think the whole country feels her loss, it is just so tragic," Orla added. Michaela was the only daughter of Mickey Harte the Tyrone Gaelic football manager who is close friends with Kilkenny senior hurling team manager Brian Cody. She is also survived by her mother Marian and three brothers, Mark, Michael and Matthew.