Thursday 14 December 2017

Cheers and plenty of tears as families welcome loved ones home

Terri Hackney from Laois pictured at Dublin Airport with her daughter Terri who came home from Perth for Christmas
Terri Hackney from Laois pictured at Dublin Airport with her daughter Terri who came home from Perth for Christmas
Colin Meegan (29) Limerick with girlfriend Maura McBride, from Limerick, with Sarah Meegan Lavelle, Colin's sister.
Dymphna McArdle (mother) from Dundalk with her daughter Niamh and husband Vinnie (Santa Clause costume) at Dublin Airport to greet their son for Darren
Sisters Clare and Danielle Redmond
Pat Nolan with his son Rex
Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

SUN-TANNED, jet-lagged and with tears pouring down their cheeks, there was no sight more beautiful than the young returning emigrants reunited with their families for Christmas.

On their busiest day of the season, Dublin Airport embodied the true spirit of Christmas as emotional scenes played out in the arrivals hall.

It was almost too much to watch -- even for the airport customer care staff. "We had a proposal a few days ago," revealed one staff member.

"It's our favourite time of the year," she said.

The busiest flight of the day was the 11am arrival from Dubai with 440 on board -- many of whom were emigrants returning from Australia.


Grandfather Pat Nolan, from Kilkenny, was impatiently awaiting the arrival of his son, Rex -- a Tube driver in London. It would be his first Christmas home in 22 years, said Pat.

"With the children young it was difficult to get home to Ireland," he explained.

It would also be the first time that Pat himself felt able to celebrate Christmas since the death of his beloved wife, Ann, three years ago, he said, breaking down with emotion.

Being together with his six children meant "so much," he said, smiling that Rex was "as hard as nails," and would be impatient with him for shedding a tear at his arrival.

Katie and Ciara O' Toole from Lusk wait on uncle Rob O'Toole who lives in Alberta Canada at Dublin Airport.
Katie and Ciara O' Toole from Lusk wait on uncle Rob O'Toole who lives in Alberta Canada at Dublin Airport.
Six month old Harry Finucane from Wicklow welcomes auntie Gill Breen from Sydney.
Jenny O' Driscoll home from Sydney is greeted by her mother Clodagh O'Driscoll from Glasnevin.
Cass O'Sullivan from Melbourne is greeted by Helen Langdon her sister-in -law from Stiillorgan
David Nally homefrom Milan is hugged by daughters Jessica & Andrea from Carberry, Kildare.
Annie Armitage from Perth is greeted by nephews Tom, Ben Nathan, and Jack Lenihan from Sandyford.
Cathal Moore & Pat English both from Dublin greet family member Jenny O'Driscoll
Annie Armitage home from Perth is greeted by her parents Ernie & Jackie Armitage from Blackrock
Annie Armitage and Antoine Maher home from Perth are greeted by nephews Ben, Nathan & Jonah from Sandyford.
David Nally home from Milan is hugged by daughters Jessica and Andrea from Carberry Kildare
Aoife Dunne, pictured with her cousin Catherine Dunne and her sister and brother, Eimear and Jack Tipperary as she arrived home from Singapore.
Rachel O'Connell home from Africa, greeted by friends Aisling Norton, Ciara Bates, and Mairead Hurley
Matthew Berkerley, Palmerstown is greeted by dad Roger as he arrives home from Washington DC.
Pauleen Gaughan Artane who arrived from Barcelona with her son Robert Cowap who arrived home from Australia.
Clare and Liam Kenefick Cork arriving home from America.

But when Rex arrived, the love between father and son brought a lump to the throat as the pair left hand-in-hand, as they must have walked in earlier years when Rex was a boy. It was one of the most beautiful moments of the day.

Returning home from the exotic shores of the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean, Maura McBride (30), from Limerick, was shivering in flip-flops.

Living in the Caribbean with her partner, Colin Meegan (29), who works in hedge funds, Maura said she was most looking forward to a proper Irish Christmas dinner. However life on the island was very pleasant, she said. Just 12 miles long, it is home to 20 Irish people -- and naturally, they are all friends, she laughed.

Michelle Lodge (25), from Donaghmede in Dublin, and boyfriend Robert White (27), from Donnycarney, Dublin, were reunited with family after an arduous journey from Australia. "Our visas are up so we're home now for good," beamed Michelle.

Reunited for the first time in three years, sisters Clare and Danielle McRedmond wept as they embraced tightly. Clare had been living in Australia until she moved home in July; while Clare is based in Vancouver, Canada.

Their parents were forced to spend Christmas alone at home in Clonaslee, Co Laois, last year. This year would be extra special as a result.

Overcome with emotion, Terri Hackney, from Laois, met her only daughter, also named Terri (26), home from Perth for the first time in two years. Having her only child living abroad was "so bad", she said, as Terri gently admonished her for her tears.

Over at Terminal One, Dymphna and Vinnie McArdle, from Dundalk, were waiting with daughter Niamh for the arrival of their son Darren, also home from Perth. Dymphna and Niamh were sporting reindeer costumes, while Vinnie was dressed as Santa Claus. "Darren will kill us," they all confessed, as they munched on crepes. "Breakfast on the hoof," grinned Dymphna.

Sure enough, when Darren arrived, he was somewhat embarrassed to see his family's attire and whisked them swiftly away.

Irish Independent

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