Homemade signs and elf costumes welcome migrants back

Busiest day of year at Dublin Aiport as thousands arrive back for Christmas


Armed with homemade welcome signs and an elf costume, relatives and friends packed the arrivals area of Dublin Airport to greet loved ones as they landed back on home soil, some for the first time in years.

It was the busiest day of the year at the airport. Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) said 80,000 passengers were expected to arrive and depart on Friday with some 925,000 set to pass through the airport over the Christmas period.

Joanne Quinn from Tipperary was one of the more noticeable figures in the arrivals area on Friday afternoon. Dressed as an elf and covered head-to-toe in fairy lights, Joanne said she was waiting for her friend Danielle O’Halloran who has been living in Sydney for four years.

“I was actually in Lapland yesterday,” she said. “There’s a chartered flight that goes over and I work as an honorary elf on the plane.

“I just got a message from Danielle’s boyfriend,” Joanne said. “He’s supposed to be in Las Vegas but the message said he was in Thurles. So I think he’s going to surprise her.

“She’s going to be mortified when she sees me dressed like this. But I don’t care,” she said.

Niamh Ward, from Roscommon, was there to pick up her best friend Eavan and drive her home to Kilkenny for Christmas. Eavan was coming from Abu Dhabi where she has lived for three years and worked as a teacher. Niamh said she hadn’t seen her friend, who she met at college in the University of Limerick, in over a year.

Carrying a large yellow ‘welcome home’ sign, Niamh said: “She’s expecting me to be out in the car. She has no idea I’m going to be in here with a big sign. To be honest she’ll probably kill me.”

The Tighe family from Terenure in Dublin were audibly delighted when daughter Linda came through the arrivals gate. Mum Sarah, cousin Ann and a host of other relatives rushed towards Linda whom Sarah said was coming home after ten months in Australia. The family embraced and Sarah said that she was “absolutely delighted” to have her daughter home for a month.

Overall, DAA said that 2015 has been the busiest year in the history of the airport. They announced last week that some 23.5 million passengers had passed though the two terminals in 2015, an increase of 3.1 million from 2014.