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Charlie Cooper is welcomed home by his mother Nora after arriving on the Heathrow to Shannon flight on Tuesday afternoon. Photograph by John Kelly.

Home for the holidays

AROUND 57,000 passengers are set to arrive into the country through Shannon for Christmas, sparking countless emotional scenes and moments at the airport.

On Tuesday afternoon, Paddy Fitzgerald from Corofin was waiting for his daughter Catherine and her husband to arrive from London.

He said his daughter had been born in England and after coming back to live in Ireland, had returned to London again. “Catherine was born there, Richard is an Englishman. Catherine would have been home and then went back in the early 1980s. They’re staying for a week and going back for New Year’s.”

Frances and Seamus Cahill from Galway were waiting for their daughter, Rowena, son-in-law and one-year-old grand-daughter, Celia.This will be their first time to have a grandchild in the house for Christmas. “We’re looking forward to it. We’ve pushed the boat out and we’re hoping everything will be good,” said Seamus.

There was much excitement when Rowena arrived with her daughter Celia walking beside her. Rowena said she was delighted to be back with her family. “It’s great for us because we get childcare!” she laughed.
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Róisín Lavin was waiting for her 29-year-old son Eoin to arrive with his girlfriend, Kate Goggin. “They’re happy but they hope to come home in time; they’re happy enough there,” she said.

Róisín was teary eyed when they finally emerged and Kate said she was delighted to be back. “It’s brilliant, I love coming home.”

Annette Murphy, who moved to Adare from Doonbeg recently, was with her son Scott as they waited for her husband, Barry, who was arriving from Saudi Arabia, where he is a farm maintenance manager.“It’s the start of our Christmas, welcoming him home,” she said.

Ennis resident Jimmy Kelly awaited his son, Paul, who was due in from London. “He’s been there for four years at this stage and he was in Australia before that. I’m here tomorrow as well, my daughter is coming in from Australia.”

Paul works in Barclay’s bank and said he enjoys life in one of Europe’s biggest cities. “It’s a great city to live in, fantastic nightlife, fantastic career opportunities. It’s a big city but it can be small in some ways. There’s always something going on, something to do. It’s great to be home for Christmas, especially with this weather as well.”

Nora Cooper is a Clare exile and is set to spend Christmas in Ruan with her husband, Gordon and sons, Charlie and Jack.She was at the airport to collect other members of the family, having arrived herself some days earlier. Things are starting to look up in Clare at last, she feels.“It’s a happier place I think, much, much better. The shops are much brighter and there’s more stuff around. It’s back to normal I think.”

Bridget Maloney from Lisdoonvarna was picking up her brother Bartley Herlihy.“I’m delighted to see him, it brings back lots of memories. I’m a lot younger than Bartley, we used to go and meet him at the airport and now he’s coming back again.”


Owen Ryan

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