Wednesday 20 September 2017

Joyful scenes as loved ones ho-ho-home for Christmas

Strong winds delay flights - but spirits high at arrival gates of airport

Left, Siobhan Delahunt (1) with her nana Isobel Delahunt after she arrived into Dublin airport with her parents, Alan and Janice, from Orlando Picture: Frank McGrath
Left, Siobhan Delahunt (1) with her nana Isobel Delahunt after she arrived into Dublin airport with her parents, Alan and Janice, from Orlando Picture: Frank McGrath

Grainne Loughran

There were scenes of jubilation at Dublin Airport as passengers arrived home for Christmas.

Even the delays for 50 flights arriving to Dublin Airport yesterday afternoon didn't dampen the spirits of families waiting to be reunited with their loved ones at the gates.

High winds resulted in flights being delayed in landing and difficulties with luggage transportation, with average delays of 40 minutes.

However, waiting families were well able to keep their spirits up, with many wearing festive costumes and carrying homemade signs to greet their returning family members.

Jimmy Clarke with his sister Marielle and the family dog Joey Photo: Frank McGrath
Jimmy Clarke with his sister Marielle and the family dog Joey Photo: Frank McGrath

Marielle Clarke from Galway was waiting for almost two hours with the family dog, Joey, for her brother Jimmy to come through the gates from San Francisco.

"Just having him home for Christmas, that's all I want. He's my baby brother so I can't wait," she said.

Jimmy was greeted by Marielle and a delighted Joey, who leapt straight into his arms when he arrived.

John Brady, from Navan, Co Meath, was returning home from Sydney for the first time in two years.

"It's good, pretty cold, but we're happy to be home," he said.

"It's the first time I've been home for Christmas for about nine years. My sister's coming home from the Cayman Islands as well, so I'm looking forward to Christmas at home and a pint of Guinness."

Saoirse Cooper (2) kisses her father Ross after he arrived from New Zealand Photo: Frank McGrath
Saoirse Cooper (2) kisses her father Ross after he arrived from New Zealand Photo: Frank McGrath

Meanwhile, love was blossoming between Aisling Glynn from Howth and Christian Guzmán, who arrived from Mexico City to spend Christmas with Aisling's family - even though it was only the second time they had actually met.

"He was in Dublin this time last year, and we matched on Tinder but we never met," says Aisling. "But we kept in contact and stayed in contact for months and months, and in September we met in New York. Now he's coming to meet my family. We've been in touch on Facetime but this is only our second time actually meeting," she says.

However, the couple are planning ahead, and will finally be living in the same country in the summer, as Christian hopes to study for his MBA in Ireland.

However, it was also a bittersweet moment for many families, particularly those who knew their relatives would be returning abroad after the holiday season. Pat and Geraldine Greene from Longford were waiting for their son John James and daughter-in-law Michelle, as well as their grandchildren Chloe (3) and Eva (1), to arrive from Australia.

Chloe Greene (3) is hugged by her grandmother Margaret Meehan Picture: Frank McGrath
Chloe Greene (3) is hugged by her grandmother Margaret Meehan Picture: Frank McGrath

"We're happy and sad. We're happy here today but we'll be sad when they go back," said Margaret.

Michelle's parents, Margaret and Jim Meehan from Waterfod, agreed.

"Michelle has missed out on a lot at home. Her younger sister had a baby six months ago and she's coming home to be godmother," said Margaret.

"We miss out on our grandkids, they were last home in April. They've both missed so much. But we're looking forward to quality family time when they're here."

But for many, their family members' arrival was a cause for pure celebration - particularly among the younger members of the family.

Stephen Gilson (right) with his brother David Picture: Frank McGrath
Stephen Gilson (right) with his brother David Picture: Frank McGrath

Anna Ryan, originally from Tipperary but now living in Dublin, was waiting for her daughter Deirdre to return from Cambodia, where she has been volunteering for a year.

Seven of Deirdre's nephews, nieces and godchildren joined her in the wait, and ran for hugs with their aunt as soon as she came through the door.

"All of these kids are here to meet her," she said.

"We're all just glad to have her home."

Irish Independent

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