‘We were so thrilled to have her’

Christmas time in Ireland is like a tide. It flows in with thousands of Irish emigrants returning home and ebbs as the same people return to their lives oversea.

All human life ultimately ends up at the airport and so it was on the bank holiday Monday after New Year’s Day at Terminal 2 in Dublin Airport with long queues of people filing into departures.

The large silver Christmas trees are nevertheless up. It’s nevertheless technically Christmas until January 6th but a melancholy air was palpable – long embraces and tearful farewells.

Christmas is a time for taking stock for emigrants about the lives they have and the ones left behind.

For many parents the departures after Christmas also bring ambivalent feelings. On the way hand they will miss their children; on the other they want them to be happy wherever they are.

Misty Doran (right) says goodbye to her daughter Laurel Smith who was departing for Texas.
Róisín Heaney and Kevin Gillycuddy (left), departing for Toronto, wave goodbye to their parents and siblings at Dublin Airport.

“It’s heart breaking,” said Misty Doran, originally from the United States who said goodbye to her daughters Laurel (21) who is in university in Texas and Addison (14) who is returning to her father who lives in Virginia.

“She [Laurel] left before Covid and she couldn’t be here before now because of it. The flights kept getting cancelled,” said Ms Doran.

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