'She died at the happiest point in her life', says sister of tragic bride-to-be
The family of Majella Donoghue have told how she may have died of a cardiac arrest as her local community prepares for the return of her remains.
The 30-year-old died suddenly as she returned home from a trip to South Africa with her fiance, Barry Doherty.
The newly-engaged couple had collected Majella's ring the day before they left South Africa and were planning their exciting future together when tragedy struck.
She became unwell on the flight home and was taken to hospital in London.
Majella's sister Angela said that, although her sister's death was still "a mystery" to them, it could potentially have been due to cardiac arrest.
The family are hopeful that more information on Majella's death may become available and they expect funeral arrangements to be finalised in the coming week.
Family and friends are continuing to comfort loved ones in her home town of Tirrane in Belmullet, Co Mayo.
"It's so unique and rare for something like this to happen that it seems to have taken extra time to determine the whole thing," local parish priest, Fr John Loftus, told the Herald last night.
"It's long drawn-out, it's a week now. To bring her home is what the family want. It's such a limbo that they're waiting in."
Fr Loftus said that the community is rallying hard in the face of the bereavement.
"Sometimes a tragedy like this reminds us of the good things in a community," he said.
"On the peninsula there has been so much emigration. People have become very dependent on each other.
"It has become a big family. Friends and neighbours are coming to be with the family and show support," he said.
Fr Loftus also said that Majella and her family have been heavily involved in the community, and that "she was a great person that other young people aspired to be".
"Her mother and grandmother worked as sacristans in the church," he said.
"Any time she was home I'd see her there.
"She'd talk with me about her life and how she was looking forward to marriage. Anyone that met her would know that she was so enthusiastic for life," he added.
Majella is survived by her mother Mary, fiance Barry, twin Stephen and brothers Tommy, David and Brendan and sister Angela.
It is believed Majella and Barry had become engaged over the summer and then planned their dream trip to South Africa, where they had the ring made.
"She had always wanted to go to South Africa and do a safari," her sister Angela said.
"She died, I suppose at the happiest point of her whole life, in that she had just had a holiday of a lifetime and Barry is such a wonderful fiance," she added.
A big Mayo supporter, Majella, who worked in Galway with health manufacturer Boston Scientific, was also very involved with charities.