Joyful greetings and intense hugs turned the arrivals area at Dublin Airport into a continuous carnival of family delight yesterday.
Returning emigrants walked into warm embraces as families reunited for Christmas.
Mary Brown (47), from Churchtown, Dublin, flew in from New Zealand. She had not been home for Christmas in Ireland for 17 years.
Her sister, Susan Lew, from Rathfarnham, was waiting to hug her and her Kiwi husband Andrew and children Nick (17), Robbie (15) and Amy (12).
Brian White (25), from Dermots- town, Naul, Co Dublin, arrived from Melbourne with his girlfriend Aoife Smith from Ballyjamesduff, Co Cavan. The couple spent almost two years in Australia but they are back for good.
"I've been waiting for this moment since he went away," Brian's mother Bridget said. "It's bitter-sweet. My son Paul is staying in Melbourne."
Aoife McPhillips (34), from Sandy-ford, Dublin, arrived from the warmer climes of Melbourne with her toddler son Max and said she appreciated the festive cold.
"It'll be great to wear a coat again at Christmas," she said.
Suzie Gleeson (27), from Celbridge, a pharmacy student in Aberdeen, said she was listening on the flight to Home by Ryan Sheridan and found herself crying.