Northern Ireland families bid farewell following Christmas
Families part after being reunited for Christmas
As the Christmas holiday begins to fade away, families have to turn their attention towards the inevitable and emotional goodbye.
Belfast International Airport was the scene of bittersweet hugs, kisses and well-wishes yesterday as family and friends said farewell to loved ones heading far and wide for work, study and to celebrate the start of 2020.
For Belfast mum Rosemary Taylor it was an emotional day as she said a "very hard goodbye" to daughter Courtney (22) returning to her studies at London South Bank University.
"It is so hard today after Christmas to say goodbye, but I suppose we just have to," said Rosemary.
"Just being together is the best over the holiday. Having time to do things together, seeing family and seeing her gran. I hate having to say goodbye today."
Joking, Rosemary said she would pay for a ticket for Courtney to come back "if she is ever homesick or needs some home-cooked meals".
For Courtney the day is dreaded as much as it is for mum. "It is just so lovely being back to my mum at this time of year and it is hard now having to go back over to London," she admitted.
Speaking of his "lovely Christmas with all the grandchildren", Scott Burnside (64) from Newtownards stood alongside his wife Nathana as they gathered for a family hug before their loved ones headed back to England. "It is really sad to say goodbye to the family at this time of year especially. They are going back over to Nottingham.
"Thankfully we tend to go and visit them about once a month, so it isn't the end of the world. We will see them again soon at least," said Scott.
Also saying goodbye to relatives was Paddy McCartan from Belfast, who was on hand to help lift the heavy post-Christmas suitcases out of the car. Daughter Eimear (28) and son-in-law Tom Mallows (29) were heading back to England after spending a week at home. "We are obviously always really sad to see them go on days like this. But they live in Manchester so thankfully they are not too far away if we want to visit, and they come home fairly frequently," he said.
John Louge (50) from Londonderry said goodbye to his sister Roisin and their extended family as they headed back to France.
Asked how he felt, John was quick to hide any sadness with some trademark local humour: "It was amazing that they were over, and sure it's God's own country here so they'll be back soon."
Tears were not simply reserved for those on two legs either, as Rebecca McCall (27) received a goodbye kiss from black Labrador Jess.
"I live in Reykjavik in Iceland. I just came over last weekend and I am going back for the new year to my life and job. I was actually telling mum in the car on the way here that I always hate coming to the airport now because it is so sad," said Rebecca.
For here mum Dawn (56) from Portrush, this is her third goodbye in recent days, having left her other two children to the airport on Sunday.
"I know they love living away where they do, so I accept it. It was a great and super Christmas with them all, it really was."