Hundreds of Ireland fans have hailed the side heroes in an emotional Euro 2016 homecoming at Dublin Airport.

Captain Robbie Keane said the tournament in France had been an incredible journey and it was only the beginning for younger players in the squad.

"I'm a very, very proud Irishman today," he beamed, after coming off the national team's chartered flight home from Lyon.

"Thank you from the bottom of my heart and from the bottom of the players' hearts, and the journey is only beginning with these young players."

While no official homecoming has yet been organised, supporters dressed in green jerseys and waving tricolours turned up impromptu at Dublin Airport after word leaked out of the side's imminent return.

Ireland lost 2-1 to hosts France on Sunday at the round-of-16 stage, having beaten Italy in their final group game to progress to the knockout phase.

"The players gave their heart and soul to this competition," Keane, 35, added.

"I couldn't have asked for better players. These players are desperate to do well by their country. They've done that."