Two half-sisters met for the first time in Co Mayo this afternoon, after DNA tests revealed their relationship more than 50 years after they were born.

Alison Dalleywater was united with her sibling Jennie, in emotional scenes at Ireland West Airport.

Ms Dalleywater, who lives in Kiltimagh, was given up for adoption soon after she was born in a Mother and Baby home in Kent, England in 1963.

Neither of her adopted parents had siblings, meaning Alison had no uncles, aunts or cousins. 

While she located her birth mother in England 15 years ago, the pair had not met each other and their communication has been limited to letters, sent back and forth across the Irish Sea.

In that correspondence, Alison's mother explained how her birth was kept secret, from all but her closest confidants. 

Last year, Ms Dallywater submitted DNA samples to the website, in an effort to determine if she had any other living relatives. 

The DNA test results threw up no matches on an extensive database but when her half-sister took the same test in October of last year, the link was established. 

Both were sent notifications and began the tentative process towards today's meeting. 

This evening, they spoke of how they were having a "fairytale day" as they caught up on nearly a half-century of lost time.

Jennie's brother, who also lives in the UK, booked a meeting room at his place of work today, so he could watch the first face-to-face meeting between the half-sisters as it happened on Facetime. 

The siblings have been amazed at how their long lost half-sister shares the same looks, speech patterns and mannerisms as their mother.

This is despite the fact that mother and child last saw each other just weeks after Alison was born. 

Ms Dallywater said she was delighted to have been welcomed into the family and spoke of how her journey would resonate with others who were born in Mother and Baby homes in both Ireland and the UK, during the 20th Century.