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‘Seeing the Brennan’s bread sign would bring you to tears’ – Families reunite in Dublin Airport after years apart

Charlotte (8) and Francesca (6) Morris from Drogheda welcome their uncle Peter Clifford home from Los Angeles. Photo: Tony Gavin

Charlotte (8) and Francesca (6) Morris from Drogheda welcome their uncle Peter Clifford home from Los Angeles. Photo: Tony Gavin

Niamh Land from Edenderry welcomes home her sister Elaine Broome from Denver, Colorado. Photo: Tony Gavin

Niamh Land from Edenderry welcomes home her sister Elaine Broome from Denver, Colorado. Photo: Tony Gavin

Ciara O'Loughlin

Hugs were had, balloons were held high and Christmas hats were worn in Dublin Airport yesterday as families welcomed home their loved ones for the festive season.

Many of those reuniting hadn’t seen their families in years due to Covid-19, and although ex-pats were coming home to a more restricted Ireland than expected, they all agreed that seeing their loved ones was more important.

Sisters Charlotte (8) and Francesca Morris (6) dressed up as reindeers to welcome home their uncle Peter Clifford and his husband John Novak, whom they hadn’t seen in two years.

Mr Clifford, who is from Dublin, but has been living in Los Angeles in the US for 10 years, said besides family, it’s the little things he misses – like King crisps and Brennans bread.

“Seeing the Brennans sign inside saying ‘Today’s bread today’ would nearly bring you to tears,” he said.

“It’s so weird, you just miss little things.

"You always miss food, I am a King crisp guy, and walking down Grafton Street is really special. In LA nothing is green.

“So, flying into Ireland and seeing all the green, it’s just so vibrant, it hits you, so that’s really special.”

Mr Clifford said he is “super excited” about being home but “slightly apprehensive” due to the coronavirus restrictions.

“When you come home to Ireland after two years, you really want to experience the things you are used to, like I want to go to Grogans [pub in Dublin city] and have a pint, that’s my number one,” he said.

“But how am I going to feel when they tell me to sit at a table with two or three people?

"I am obviously going to do it, but in my mind, I’m used to Ireland 2019 where everybody was hugging.”

Adena Morely and fiancé Gearóid O Láimhín from Knock and Foxford in Co Mayo travelled home from Auckland, New Zealand, for the first time in two years.

They were due to come home for their wedding next September but surprised their family a month ago after deciding to move home to Ireland for good this Christmas.

Ms Morely said the distance between her and her family felt “a lot bigger” during the pandemic as New Zealand’s borders were effectively shut.

“We were back for Christmas in 2019 and we haven’t been here back since,” she said.

“There are about 100 cases a day [in New Zealand] so it’s very different here but we are delighted to be home.

“The best thing about being back is seeing all these guys, our family, we are looking forward to catching up, we just got engaged in August so there will be lots of celebrations.”

Niamh Land from Edenderry welcomes home her sister Elaine Broome from Denver, Colorado. Photo: Tony Gavin

Niamh Land from Edenderry welcomes home her sister Elaine Broome from Denver, Colorado. Photo: Tony Gavin

Niamh Land was reunited with her sister Elaine Broome and her husband and three children after over two years of being apart.

“I saw them in August 2019 but my family hasn’t seen them for four years,” Ms Land told the Irish Independent.

“We also just moved back from the UK in March, so we are loving being back home.”

Ms Broome, from Castlebar, Co Mayo, has lived in Colarado in the US, for 18 years but tries to get home to Ireland every Christmas. The last time she was back, however, was in 2018.

She lives in Denver with husband Jake and their three children Shanna, Pearce and Carter.

“I am delighted to be home,” the Mayo native said.

“Now, I am so tired because there’s a seven-hour time difference and it took us 14 hours to get here.”

Elaine has four siblings and there are 15 grandchildren in total. She said it will be the first time all 15 grandchildren will actually meet each other.

“The best thing about being home is 100pc my family, hands down my family,” she said.

“And the feeling of Ireland, Ireland obviously has a huge place in my heart and the actual spirit of Christmas in Ireland and the feeling of Ireland is just the best.

“Spending Christmas in America was awful, just terrible.

"Well sorry, I shouldn’t say that, we still had a great Christmas, but, I miss my family so much.

“This was probably the biggest stint of time I hadn’t been home, except for when I had one of the kids.”

Friends Shannon McVeigh and Ailisha Mallon from Cookstown, Tyrone, travelled home for Christmas from Doha, Qatar, where they work as teachers.

“We have been there since August, but we are buzzing to be home,” Ms McVeigh said.

“We’re not worried [about Covid-19] because we’ve had the tests done.”

“We are just looking forward to being home and seeing people,” Ms Mallon added.

“I’ll be spending Christmas with my family – Mammy and Daddy.”


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