EMOTIONS were flying high in Shannon Airport this week as Limerick families were reunited with their loved ones for Christmas.
The Arrivals Hall, full of excitement and anticipation, was decked out for the occasion, with trees, lights, Santa’s sleigh and traditional Irish music awaiting those that were returning home.
Mary Moran, waiting for her daughter Louise and her friend Aoife to arrive from London, told the Limerick Leader through teary eyes that she was feeling “absolutely over the moon.”
The Mungret woman, standing with her husband Terry, said she just couldn’t believe it, that they had been waiting a long time for their daughter to make it home.
“It just means everything to have us all back here for Christmas, especially after the year we’ve had. There is such a worry still about Covid. You just hope everything will be safe and people will mind themselves,” she added.
Inbound flights to Shannon, on December 22, a day synonymous with thousands of arrivals returning home for the festive season, saw planes touch down from Krakow, London Gatwick, Heathrow, Stansted, Manchester, and Malaga, at staggered times throughout the day.
One Newcastle West family stole the show, bringing scenes of pure joy, as a long and loving embrace took place between mother and daughter.
“It’s a Christmas miracle,” daughter Kathy-Anne Keane and Anne Keane said in unison, walking from the Arrivals Gate to their car. Kathy-Anne had just arrived from London, where she lives in Kent.
Last year, intentions to spend Christmas together were cut short due to the emergence of the Delta variant and a strict travel ban put in place for passengers arriving from the UK.
Anne said: “My husband and I had booked flights to see them last year, my son is over there too. We realized that it wasn’t going to happen, and I spent an hour crying in a Lidl car park.”
Amid tears of joy, many passengers and families waiting for their loved ones, like Anne, were anxious and worried about the possibility that they might not make it back, due to strict testing requirements.
Despite a decline in numbers over the past two years, Shannon Airport Duty Manager Ashling Hughes said the “magical reunions” replaced the very surreal and sad times felt within an often-empty terminal.
Looking to the future, she said: “We hope people continue to reunite safely around the world throughout next year and that they will travel regularly and with confidence once again through our welcoming Airport.”
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