Airports packed as thousands flee for a welcome dose of sun
THE great Easter exodus is under way as Irish holidaymakers flee the snow and bitter cold for a welcome dose of sun.
Dublin Airport will have one of its busiest weekends of the year so far, with more than 210,000 passengers set to pass through by Monday.
The getaway couldn't come soon enough for the Trainor family from Belfast, who had been snowed into their home for four days.
"We had to get a digger to dig out the road. The schools have all been closed, so it's great to get a bit of sunshine," said Mary, who was flying to Lanzarote with her husband Gerry and daughter Niamh (5).
More than 1,700 flights will arrive and depart from the airport over the weekend. The most popular destinations for sunseekers are Gran Canaria, Turkey and Portugal.
The Easter break is traditionally a popular – and therefore expensive – time to travel, given the school holidays, so those hoping to bag a last-minute deal could be disappointed. One website was offering a week in Lanzarote, leaving Dublin today, from €785 – almost 40pc more than next weekend.
The Hennessys, from Glasnevin in Dublin said that while it was an expensive time to take a break, they had to escape the weather.
"The weather has just been so bad, I had to get away. I need to feel the heat on my cold bones," laughed mum Sandra.
She was also travelling to Lanzarote with her husband Tom, daughter Louise and friend Petra Cooling, as well other friends and family, for a week-long break.
Sandra added: "It's 24 degrees in Lanzarote at the moment, so that's roughly 20 degrees higher than it is in Ireland."
Meanwhile, downstairs in Terminal 1, people were waiting patiently to welcome their loved ones home for the Easter holidays.
Among them were brothers Sebastian (5) and Colin Glavatki (7) and their cousin Nikita (8), from Mullingar, Co Westmeath. They were waiting to collect their 24-year-old cousin, who was travelling from Turkey for his first holiday to Ireland.
But Jessie Mooney and twins Laura and Emma Hickey, all aged 14 and from Swords, Co Dublin, were more excited than most. The friends were there hoping to meet 'X Factor' stars District 3.
Meanwhile almost 20,000 passengers are expected to pass through Ireland West Airport Knock in Co Mayo over the bank holiday weekend.
Passenger numbers are up 10pc from the same period last year, with UK and sun-holiday destinations proving popular.