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The Irish Hot Air Ballooning Championship takes place each year in various places through Ireland – this year it returns to County Galway. It is the longest running National Ballooning event in the world and is usually referred to as ‘The Irish Meet’. The first event was held in 1971 at Newcastle House in Ballymahon, Co Longford and was attended by a handful of balloons.

The event now attracts up 40 balloons and balloonists from UK, USA, France, Holland, Belgium, Chile and Ireland are regular attendees to the event which is an invitation only event. The event, the biggest of its kind in Ireland, is a huge spectacle with these huge ancient aircraft flying totally dependent on the wind for direction.

Following hugely successful “meets” last year it is returning to Galway for 2017. Loughrea will be the base for the balloon launch locations, which happen every morning and evening subject to flyable conditions. Other locations for Launching may include The Bishops Palace, Galway Airport, Loughrea Golf club and The Galway Plaza.

In addition to the launches, the balloonists hope to provide another spectacular Night Glow where they inflate at night to the sound of music in the dark

The balloons are not available for rides to the public during the event but it is free to the public to come along and enjoy the spectacle. With so many teams participating this year, it is sure to be a wonderful occasion.

Maldron Hotel Sandy Road has some excellent special offers so be sure to book your room soon – we are located just 30 minutes from Loughrea.