In October 2015, Lesley Fagan, from Enniskillen, read a story about Chinese twins separated at birth who had found each other through Facebook. Her older sister had been given up for adoption before Lesley, 64, was born so she decided to see if she could do the same.
She made an appeal on Facebook which gained some traction and was picked up by two genealogists - Jill Harrington, in the UK, and Terri O’Neill, in Australia.
In just one week, they had found Lesley’s sister living in Perth, Australia - and, incredibly, Joan Crawford-Murray, 67, had no idea she had a sister until Lesley got in touch.
Speaking to Dublin Gazette Newspapers, Lesley described how she found out about her long-lost sister almost 30 years ago.
"In 1989, whilst still living in Warrington, my mum said that she had something to tell me. She said I have a half-sister which she had to give up for adoption in 1948."
Her mother belonged to a very devout Catholic family of six daughters and Lesley says "one of her sisters put my mum under a lot of pressure, saying that if her dad was to find out about her pregnancy, it would bring great shame upon the family".
She decided to hide the pregnancy, putting the child into a Catholic Mother and Babies home in Manchester.
"She stayed with her baby for six weeks, which must have been awful, knowing that she would have to give her up. When the day finally came, she had to sign some documents to authorise the adoption," said Lesley, who has two daughters and a granddaughter.
When the nun left the room, her mother saw the name and address of the prospective parents and she never forgot, telling Lesley the details 40 years later.
With that information, Lesley began looking for her sister and discovered the family had disappeared off the electoral roll in 1958.
"In hindsight, I probably should have known that they emigrated, but at the time I didn’t follow it up because I was so busy with my career and raising a family," she said.
Years later, Joan received the news about her long-lost family across the world:
"They actually messaged my daughter, who then broke the news to me that I have a sister!"
They wasted no time in planning a visit and the Dublin Gazette was on hand to film the emotional reunion at Dublin Airport on Tuesday.
"The moment I walked through the departure gates I immediately recognised her and started to cry with tears of joy," said Joan.
"Embracing her at last after all this time was like nothing I’ve ever experienced. I felt an immediate connection to her and her husband, who I’ve been dying to meet."
Joan and her family are staying with Lesley and her family for 20 days to allow plenty of time to get to know each other.
"The build-up over the past couple of weeks has been just so emotional and surreal," said Joan.
"It’s been an incredible journey so far, and I know both of our families will have a wonderful relationship into the future."