Busy airports host happy Christmas re-unions
DUBLIN Airport had its busiest day today as thousands of a new generation of emigrants came home to spend Christmas with family and friends.
According to the Dublin Airport Authority, over 620,000 people are expected to arrive and depart through the two terminals over the two week holiday period.
The numbers passing through this year are expected to exceed those recorded last year by at least 10pc.
But these figures are skewed by last year’s disruptive weather which caused travel chaos.
Cork, Shannon and Knock airports were also exceptionally busy today; all with their traffic well up on Christmas 2010.
But no everyone has booked a return flight from Knock.
It was a particularly joyous reunion for Sligo woman Claudia McGloin who is bucking the trend and returning home for good after living in London for 14 years to set up a business in her home town.
"It actually just felt right to make the move. I reached the decision last Christmas when I was home with my family.
"I had said that I would never come back because of the way the country was, but it's weird how things sometimes work out," she said.
"It took me 12 months to get it all sorted out, between selling my house and organising my new business, but I am back home for good now and just in time for Christmas," she said.
Desmond McNeigh from Achill, Co Mayo, was also overjoyed when he was met by his four children and his expectant wife Kelly after working in Stockholm, Sweden, for the past year.
"It was very hard seeing everyone all at once, we all got a bit emotional.
"I have been gone for a year, but we are the lucky ones that have a year's work ahead of us guaranteed. We can't get work at home.’’
Irish Rail will carry 400,000 passengers over the festive period, while Bus Éireann will cater for about 200,000 travellers across the country.
As ever, motorists are advised to keep speed down, ensure all passengers wear their seat belts and never to drink and drive.
Last-minute shoppers will also add to the congestion as retailers look to today – the last full shopping day before Christmas – as a last chance to buck the recession and improve on last year’s dramatically reduced seasonal takings
Said a retail spokesman: ‘They’ve left it late, but they’re spending, even if they are still looking for good value.’’