Roisin Monroe moved to Ohio from her native Ireland in 1992.
The last time she was able to make the long trip home to visit was twelve years ago. Her eleven-year-old son had no recollection of the visit; and her nine-year-old daughter had never been there at all. So when the Northern Ireland Tourist Board held a contest, offering one lucky family the chance to travel to Northern Ireland for the holidays, Roisin entered.
And she won!
So in December 2012, Roisin and her family made the 3,500-mile trip from Ohio to Belfast for their first family reunion in eleven years.
Upon landing at the George Best Belfast City Airport, Roisin was greeted by excited family members. She described the moment for the BBC News:
“When I saw all my family at the airport I was just completely overwhelmed. I couldn’t stop crying, I couldn’t even get a word out.”
But then the fun began! Unbeknownst to her, the people around her—passengers, airport workers, flight crew—were all members of the 100-member Belfast Community Gospel Choir, who planned a special surprise.
Roisin described the moment:
“I wanted to hug everybody at once but I went round them all and then — when the music started, when the Belfast choir started singing — it was almost like they would have lifted you off the ground.”