Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Come fly with me: Retro Aer Lingus travel posters

Vintage travel posters depict a time when air fares were beyond the means of ordinary people, and a trip to Dublin Airport was a holiday in itself (I hear it was a popular spot for a date back in the day!).

Judging by the number of people who land on a post I did about the two Aer Lingus Boeing 747s (it's the most viewed post ever on Mo Theach), there is a huge interest in the early days of what was once also known as Irish International Airlines.

CALENDAR GIRL: I bought this 1960 Irish Air Lines pocket calendar on eBay a while back. I love the red-haired air hostess. A real spéirbhean!

I like to keep an eye on eBay for old bits and pieces relating to the airline, such as the purchase above. The beautifully-designed travel advertisements of old always attract my attention and I picked up this vintage Aer Lingus poster at an exhibition a year or two ago at the National Museum at Collin's Barracks. This image was used in much of Aer Lingus' publicity materials and depicts the luxury and style associated with flying at the time. The fact that it's in French makes it seem even more exotic.

OOH LA LA LANDING SHORTLY: I picked up this Aer Lingus poster (circa 1960) believed to be the work of Jarlath Hayes (who designed the harp that is on Irish Euro coins) from the shop at the National Museum of Ireland, Collin's Barracks. It costs €8 and fits into off-the-shelf frames. 

Aer Lingus tapped into the nostalgia that surrounds their brand as they celebrated their 75th anniversary last year, painting a brand new Airbus A320 in the old Irish International Airlines livery. They also raided the wardrobes to show how the stewardess (and steward) uniforms have changed over the years.

RETRO JET: Aer Lingus painted this new Airbus A320 in the old white and dark green livery last year to celebrate their 75th anniversary. Image via
HIGH FASHION: With the beautiful old Dublin Airport terminal building in the background, air stewards model the cabin crew look though the years to mark Aer Lingus' 75th anniversary in 2011.
Image by Aer Lingus and via Airlines and Destinations
TAKE A TRIP BACK IN TIME: This nostalgia fest video features the highlights of Aer Lingus's 75-year history (JKF and Pope John Paul II are among the passengers), with lots of shots of those two 747s here! It's a bit like watching that old ESB 'Coming Home for Christmas' ad.

Here are some of my favourite old Aer Lingus posters (very few have modern reproductions, so you'll have to fork out for an original copy in many cases):

SKY'S THE LIMIT: This reprint of a New York-bound Aer Lingus poster is available from for €18.99.

TURBO-CHARGE: This poster is on the Onslows Posters website which is unfortunately down for maintenance at the moment so I don't have any further details. Image: Onslows Posters

POSTCARD PERFECT: Ireland looks particularly stunning in this poster, also from Onslows Posters.

LOTS OF LEG ROOM: This is one my all-time favourite adverts. An original poster (circa 1958) by John Banbridge costs £780 from  Image via 
PRETTY CITY: Dublin's quays like you've never seen them before (I love the smoke coming from all the chimneys). This 1956 poster by Dutch artist Guus Melai did not meet with approval, according to archive research carried out by the Arts Council. Interesting read.

THIS IS YOUR CAPTAIN CALLING: Step aside, stewardesses! This handsome captain makes an appearance on a vintage poster sold in 2009 by Christie's.
STEP THIS WAY, SIR: Ease of travel is the message here, perhaps aimed at travellers coming from the UK, or the US.  Poster also from Onslows Posters.

MOUNTAIN AER: This original 1950 Aer Lingus poster by Negus Sharland advertising its routes to Zurich is for sale for approx €285 from

GATEWAY TO THE WORLD: This 1950 poster appears to show two Viscounts waiting at the original terminal building at Dublin Airport. Image via

There are lots more vintage Aer Lingus posters which I hope to share in another post soon!

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