Saturday 18 November 2017

Paris Terror Attacks: 'My phone was hopping as people tried to make sure we were okay', reveals Irishwoman

Chloe Breen and Diarmaid Hickey arrive at Dublin Airport
Chloe Breen and Diarmaid Hickey arrive at Dublin Airport
Fiona Dillon

Fiona Dillon

Tourists who spent the weekend in Paris told of their relief at returning home safely.

Diarmaid Hickey (21), from Kilkenny, and Chloe Breen (21), from Wexford, had travelled to the French capital on Friday afternoon with the intention of spending the weekend sightseeing.

They went out for dinner that night and were returning to the hotel when they first became aware that something major was unfolding in the city.

"We were watching street entertainment at the time. We saw about 12 policemen on motorbikes all going in the same direction.

"Then we saw that people were gathering around television screens. We learned there had been an explosion," said Diarmaid.

The couple headed back to the hotel that night, and with the city on high alert they stayed around the hotel on Saturday.

"We had planned to do a bike tour and general sightseeing on Saturday, but that was cancelled, and all the monuments were shut," said Diarmaid.

"There was a very heavy armed police presence in the city over the weekend," he said.

"I was very vigilant when we were traveling on the Metro."

Meanwhile, Chloe said her phone was "hopping" as people tried to contact the couple to make sure they were okay.

Diarmaid's mum, Phil Hickey, was at the airport to meet them yesterday, and told of her horror at finding out there had been a terrorist attack on the city that her son was visiting for the weekend.

"I was watching the news and it came on. It was very frightening. There was absolute relief when I got through and found out they were okay," she said.

The hotel where they were staying was about 15 minutes from the Stade de France, according to Diarmaid.

"We are just relieved to be home," he said yesterday evening, after arriving at Dublin Airport.

Irish Independent

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