Aer Lingus celebrates fifty years operating as an Ireland's national airline.

Aer Lingus was established in 1936 by Seán Ó hUadhaigh, John Leyden and Minister for Industry and Commerce Seán Lemass. Seán Lemass felt that a national airline would open opportunities for Ireland.

Two of the original passengers Tim O'Driscoll and Sheila Marin (nee Fitzherbert) recall their first flight from Baldonnel airport. They tell RTÉ News their recollections of that first flight to Bristol.

Tim O'Driscoll explains how he had to be physically weighed before being allowed to board the plane. He felt as if he was "engaged in an experiment" that may or may not have worked out.

Little did we realise at the time that setting up a national airline would be such a successful endeavour.

Sheila Main recalls the event being very low key.

The runway was grass, the aeroplane was tiny... There was no sense of occasion about the whole thing.

Tim O'Driscoll tells how the entire Aer Lingus staff of 8 were present for the inaugural flight, along with Seán Lemass, Seán Ó hUadhaigh and John Leyden.

Aer Lingus commenced operations on 27 May 1936 and the 50th birthday will be marked with a re-enactment of the first flight.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 22 May 1986. The reporter is Micheal O'Briain.