When Aer Lingus introduced transatlantic jet services in 1960, they touted the new Golden Shamrock service in first class. With seating for 16 passengers on their Boeing 720 flights from Dublin and Shannon to New York and Boston, it was pretty fancy.
Early Boeing 707 and 720 aircraft often had a lounge at the front of the cabin, which you can see depicted at the top of this article. A convivial atmosphere was created on board, so let’s have a look at it.
Advertising the Golden Shamrock Service
Below is a magazine advertisement for the service, aimed at the US market. It lays it on thick, calling the aircraft “the beautiful Boeing Shamrock”, referring to the “elegant lounge”, the “three special hostesses serve them – lovely young ladies with large Irish heartfuls of hospitality” and so on. I love it!
It also manages to shoe-horn in information about Shannon’s Duty-Free sales (the first in the world) and connections to UK and Europe. Those who aren’t flush with cash can fly the Silver Shamrock Economy Class service and save US$400 on a round trip. They certainly don’t advertise like this anymore.
A Vintage Westbound Menu
Meal service on the Golden Shamrock service is pretty extensive. Hors d’oeuvres (which are still served in transatlantic business class on Aer Lingus today) include caviar, which is usually only found today in first class and then only on very few airlines.
A soup course follows and once done you can choose from two fish dishes (prawns or sole) or three meat dishes (fillet mignon, veal or chicken). A note next to these say you can have either fish or meat or both, if you desire.
It seems like you could literally eat your way across the Atlantic. There’s also salad, vegetables, dessert, petits fours, a cheese board, a fruit basket… I’m feeling full just listing it out.
Plenty of drinks are on offer as well. Since the latest date of wine there is 1962, the menu must hail from at least this date or later. Some things, like Guinness, still exist, while others such as Gilbey’s Dublin Gin don’t.
What Does It Look Like?
There’s a great picture of the service items all laid out together. It shows the china and cutlery in use, which is fussy design to modern eyes, but does look elegant.
Naturally no meal is complete without cigarettes and matches, which are in the top left hand corner. Things have certainly changed in that regard, but the rest is not too different to now.
Aer Lingus went to town on their Golden Shamrock first class service back in the 1960s. No doubt it was an attractive proposition for the well heeled jet setters of the time.
Personally, I love the print ad, to the point I’d frame it and stick it up on a wall if I had it. There’s something about 1960s advertising that is really appealing to me, and you can see some touting the BOAC VC-10 here. You’ll see some similarities!
What do you think of the Aer Lingus Golden Shamrock service? Did you ever fly first class transatlantic and experience this? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.