Irish emigrants, who have lived most of their lives in London get their first glimpse of Dublin in decades.

A group of Irish men and women who left Ireland for Britain in the 1950s and 1960s are making a special visit to Dublin. For many, it is the first time they have returned to the city and 21st century Dublin is unrecognisable.

Standing outside the General Post Office (GPO) on O'Connell Street, Mary O’Neill, originally from Cork observes many changes, including an increase in traffic and in the amount of young people in Dublin.

One woman recalls Nelson’s Pillar while another wants to see the Anna Livia monument.

Where’s the Floozie in the Jacuzzi?

Many of the visitors are from rural Ireland and they just passed through Dublin on their way to their new lives in London. Bridie Brennan originally from Mayo is glad to get the opportunity to see more of the city.

I always wanted to come because it’s such a historical place isn’t it?

Ann Morrissey, originally from Connemara, has never forgotten the Irish language, and is delighted with the trip.

Tá sé go hiontach ar fad.

Participants have paid for their own trip but the Irish Congress of Trade Unions have ensured they receive some special treatment throughout their visit and get the opportunity to see Dublin landmarks.

The group pay a visit to Leinster House and travel by bus to Áras an Uachtaráin where they are warmly welcomed by President Mary McAleese.

The Irish Elderly Advice Network in London organised the trip and its co-ordinator Sally Mulready says the group have expressed awe and surprise as well as nostalgia and sadness during the visit. One woman confided,

I wished Id used my youth better, Dublin is so beautiful, when I was here I just never went anywhere.

For most the experience has been a happy one giving them new memories of a place they never imagined they would return to. 

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 2 March 2010. The reporter is Samantha Libreri.