Aer Lingus celebrates a diamond anniversary this weekend - 60 years of transatlantic flights to and from Ireland.
Saturday, April 28th marks 60 years to the day since the former national carrier dispatched its inaugural flight across the Atlantic.
The Aerlínte Éireann Lockheed L1049 Super Constellation flew from Dublin and Shannon to New York with just 99 guests in economy class.
Before departing Irish shores, the airline held a celebratory banquet attended by then Taoiseach Éamon de Valera - after a 14-hour journey, the flight was greeted by a salute from the 165th Infantry of the New York National Guard.
“There was great excitement in the air,” recalled Lily O’Connell, 79 (pictured), from Leopardstown, who worked on the early flights.
“I remember the Americans on board coming to ‘I-R-Land’, as they called it. They were so excited to be meeting their Irish family connections for the first time."
"For Irish people flying home – they had saved for months for the airfare as they were so expensive back then," she said.
"It was just lovely on board, everyone was in great spirits.”
Flying at a cruising altitude of 16,000 to 18,000 feet, they would need to have been - early journeys were far more susceptible to turbulence.
35 million transatlantic customers later, Aer Lingus is owned by IAG and heading into its busiest summer ever for North American services.
The airline will offer 2.75 million seats to 13 transatlantic destinations this year, with its newest route - Seattle - set for take-off in May.
To celebrate, Aer Lingus is offering €100 off return flights to all direct North American destinations, valid for travel from June 16 to October 31.