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Jet set Dublin Airport buzzing as lifting of travel restrictions sees sun-seekers go abroad

Today will see an estimated 22,500 people travelling through Dublin Airport, a huge surge on recent numbers but it’s still down 80pc when compared with the same figure in July 2019.

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Return of non essential international travel Dublin Airport. Liam and Claire O'Connor with their children Aoibheann (15), Luke (12), James and Ryan (7). Picture; Gerry Mooney

Return of non essential international travel Dublin Airport. Liam and Claire O'Connor with their children Aoibheann (15), Luke (12), James and Ryan (7). Picture; Gerry Mooney

Return of non essential international travel Dublin Airport. Liam and Claire O'Connor with their children Aoibheann (15), Luke (12), James and Ryan (7). Picture; Gerry Mooney

Today may have been Freedom Day in the UK. But there was also a keen sense of liberty at Dublin Airport this morning as Ireland opened up to international travel for the first time in 16 months.

There was a slow but steady stream of traffic to the northside hub as throngs of excited holidaymakers set off on their long-awaited breaks overseas, many for the first time in two years.

The sense of excitement and anticipation was palpable as passengers brandishing their coveted European Digital Covid Certificates and pushing huge trolleys of luggage took advantage of the July 19 easing of restrictions.

Youngsters clutching teddy bears and toting their brand-new travel backpacks were ushered along by relaxed-looking parents as they checked out departure information and patiently queued for their flights.

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Return of non essential international travel Dublin Airport . Picture; Gerry Mooney

Return of non essential international travel Dublin Airport . Picture; Gerry Mooney

Return of non essential international travel Dublin Airport . Picture; Gerry Mooney

Today will see an estimated 22,500 people travelling through Dublin Airport, a huge surge on recent numbers but it’s still down 80pc when compared with the same figure in July 2019.

Among those heading off to Verona in Italy was Darren Jarvis from Swords, Co Dublin with his two boys Reuben (3) and Bjorn (1), who was a first-time flyer.

He had dressed them especially for the occasion and they look immaculate in matching outfits of straw boaters, airtex tee-shirts and red shorts.

“I’m not sure how long they’ll stay clean but I thought I’d try,” quipped Darren.

“We’re going to the Italian lakes for 12 days for a much-needed rest. I think everyone needs it. Our family has grown since the last time we went away as Bjorn was a lockdown baby.”

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Return of non essential international travel Dublin Airport. Darren Jarvis with his sons Bjorn (1) and Reuben (3) who were departing for Verona. Picture; Gerry Mooney

Return of non essential international travel Dublin Airport. Darren Jarvis with his sons Bjorn (1) and Reuben (3) who were departing for Verona. Picture; Gerry Mooney

Return of non essential international travel Dublin Airport. Darren Jarvis with his sons Bjorn (1) and Reuben (3) who were departing for Verona. Picture; Gerry Mooney

There had been some apprehension for the family in the run-up to July 19 as the Delta variant took hold in some European countries.

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“At one point, we cancelled the holiday because it wasn’t looking too good. We only booked when we were told that you could potentially go away. We’re really looking forward to it.”

Taking the plunge and heading off as a family-of-six were Liam and Claire O’Connor who were also going to Italy with their four children Aoibheann (15), Luke (12) and twins Ryan and James (6).

“We were two years waiting for this. We were due to fly originally last Wednesday but the flight was changed to today. It’s just the way it worked out. We’re heading away for three weeks,” he said.

“We’re happy enough heading away, we’re following all the guidelines. We got our Digital Certs by email last week.”

Mum-of-two Valentina Crispo hadn’t seen her family in two years and was looking forward to a joyful reunion in the Italian town of Bari. Flying over there with her daughters Sophie (4) and Zoe (7), she admitted it was going to an emotional time and there was going to be a “lot of meeting up with family.”

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Return of non essential international travel Dublin Airport. Valentina Crispo with her daughters Sophie (4) and Zoe (7) heading to Bari in Italy. Picture; Gerry Mooney

Return of non essential international travel Dublin Airport. Valentina Crispo with her daughters Sophie (4) and Zoe (7) heading to Bari in Italy. Picture; Gerry Mooney

Return of non essential international travel Dublin Airport. Valentina Crispo with her daughters Sophie (4) and Zoe (7) heading to Bari in Italy. Picture; Gerry Mooney

“The girls are so excited about the flight. They told me, ‘We can’t remember a time before Covid anymore.’ This will help a lot,” she said.

Standing in the Departures terminal soaking up the atmosphere as she gazed at the steady stream of passengers making their way through, Dublin Airport Authority’s Siobhan O’Donnell said it was a wonderful day.

“All of my colleagues, are eyes are dancing behind our masks, we’re so delighted. It’s an emotional day. I’m 37 years in the airport and it’s been a really tough 16 months for everyone. The aviation industry has taken a terrible hit and it’s just wonderful to see so many people coming through. It’s still 80pc down but nonetheless, we are delighted to see passengers back,” she said.

She said the airport is expecting a “slow and gradual increase” in passenger numbers, which will work for everybody.

She said that today she noticed a marked increase in the number of families travelling with young children as they head away for a sun holiday. For some of the excited youngsters, it will be their first time ever on a plane.

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