MORE than 620,000 passengers will travel through Dublin Airport over the festive period.
And the tearful reunions between family members in the arrivals hall was well under way today.
Among the excited arrivals earlier today were Kevin and Eve McDonald, arriving from Alabama for their first Christmas in Ireland in six years.
"It's great to be home," said Eve, a native of Baltinglass, Co Wicklow, who was greeted by her parents Matt and Teresa O'Brien and sisters Trish and Claire and nephew Paul.
Eve (39) and Kevin (40) have been living in the US for 17 years and they hurried through the arrival gates with their children Brian (15), Lauren (11) and Doireann (6).
The family are looking forward to spending time with Kevin's relations at Clonmore, Co Carlow and Eve's family. "Lauren and Doireann have informed Santa Claus he'll have to make a detour to Ireland this Christmas. The children are delighted," said Eve.
Lauren said: "We wrote to our elf and told him we're coming here."
The 620,000 who are expected to travel through Dublin Airport and the 70,000 through Cork Airport over Christmas and New Year represents a 10pc increase over the same period last year.
Krystle Haughney (28) was home from Madrid where she is teaching English. Waiting for her patiently, with her Santa hat on, was her aunt Siobhan. "It's great to be home again," said the Carlow native.
"Actually, it's warmer here than it is in Madrid now. It's only about three degrees over there."
Also arriving at Terminal 2 was Aine Steele (20) from Dundalk who has been working in London for almost three years at a call centre.
She received a big hug from her mother Mairead Kirk (51) as she arrived with her Christmas luggage.