Delighted emigrants reunite with families at Dublin Airport
Loved ones gather with smiles, balloons and banners for those flying home for Christmas
The three O’Keefe women were waiting eagerly under a bunch of “Welcome Home” balloons in Dublin airport on Tuesday for the 6.45am arrival from Abu Dhabi.
They were there to surprise Lynn, who had been working and travelling around Australia for the past two years.
“She doesn’t know we’re here,” said her sister Gillian, nodding towards her other sister Ruth and mother Carolyn. “We drove up this morning from Cork.”
Warm scenes played out in Terminal 2 as travellers, some wearing shorts and flip flops and others in wool hats and heavy coats, filed into the arrivals hall.
Making her way from Sydney, where she has lived for nine years, was Lauren Atkinson. “It’s great to be home,” she said, beaming after arriving. “There’s no place like home for Christmas. ”
Her excited mother Pamela said they had lots planned over the coming weeks but, first things first, she said, “I’m going to squeeze her to bits.”
There were slightly later Aer Lingus arrivals from Boston and New York and an American Airlines flight from Philadelphia.
Americans in Ireland
When Rick King, from Massachusetts, stepped into the arrivals hall his daughters, Julia and Erin, swiftly plonked a Santa hat on his head to match the ones they were wearing.
Julia moved to Ireland from the US 2½ years ago to work for Amazon. Her sister Erin followed her and is now a florist. Rick, a US government lawyer – a job which “sounds better than it is”– had been in Ireland once before, although things did not go exactly as planned.
“I came here for about four or five days when my middle daughter was studying at Trinity. I had a heart attack so I don’t remember much about it,” he said.
“We’re having a bit of a do-over now,” added Erin.
“We were here during April,” continued Rick. “Which is funny because it seems like the weather wasn’t all that different really.”
A few feet away, a six-strong contingent also awaited the Boston flight, a Tricolour draped over the security barrier with a message reading, “Welcome home Dylan.”
“He’s brilliant at football,” said his mother Suzanne McCabe. “He went to Florida to play soccer and to do an MBA on a scholarship with Lynn University .”
The gang had arrived in plenty of time for the 8.25am landing but would have to wait a while to see Dylan after it turned out many passengers’ bags did not make it to Dublin.
“Sure my bag’s lost and I have this wedding tomorrow,” one young man grumbled into his phone as he walked towards the exit.
No such issues for Kevin Cooper, though, who was greeted off the flight by his sister Gemma and her fiancé. Kevin works in Providence, Rhode Island, and has been in the US for eight years.
How does it feel to be home? “Pretty sweet,” he smiled. “I haven’t seen my sister in 2½ years.”
Gemma has been living in Dubai for the last six years. “We just landed in yesterday,” she said. “So we were down in Waterford and we’re straight back now to pick Kevin up.”
With most of the transatlantic traffic through by 9am, the McCabes, still waiting at the security barrier with their Tricolour, appeared to be wilting.
But as Dylan, unburdened by any luggage, finally walked through the sliding doors, they jumped up, launched into a rendition of ‘Olé, olé, olé’ and rushed to embrace him.