Welcome to the website for the 46th Irish Hot Air Balloon Championships.
The Irish National Hot Air Ballooning Championships are the longest running National Hot Air Ballooning Meet in the World. It is coming to Galway County for the very first time and in particular the town of Loughrea. The international balloonists are excited to fly in a new area and we know that the people of the area will give them a great welcome.
The event takes place from 25th to 30th of September inclusive.
The base HQ for the event will be Loughrea Spa Hotel and flights will take place in the vicinity of the town throughout the week, weather permitting. It is expected that up to 40 hot air balloons from the England, Scotland, Wales, Isle of Man, France, Holland, Italy and the USA will attend. Details of these balloons and their pilots will soon be available under Balloon Teams on the website menu.
This free event is very kindly supported by Galway County Council and our Industry sponsor this year is Supermacs. The balloons flights will take place twice each day, weather permitting, at approximately 7.30am to 8.00 am in the morning and again at around 6pm in the evening. The status of these flights will be updated on the Latest Event News throughout the event.
Information on each day's flights will be available on the Championships Hotline prior to each scheduled flight. Details of whether the flights are going ahead and their location will be announced on this number- 087 9300700.
The public are actively encouraged to come out and see the balloons as they launch. The balloons will make a spectacular display in the skies over Loughrea so bring your camera. (The attraction of so many balloons flying can be mesmerizing so we issue a note of caution to be mindful of traffic and road users while enjoying the spectacle!)
It is not possible to provide flights to the public during the week however it is a fun, social event for everyone’s enjoyment so get your cameras ready and record your favourite shots for the album. Now in its 46th year, the Irish Hot Air Ballooning Championships is the longest running national ballooning event anywhere in the World. Many of the participating teams return year-in year-out due to the attraction of this event.
Here is the schedule which will almost certainly change as weather patterns emerge.
Please check the Latest Event News frequently for daily updates on the exact launch sites that will be used for the balloon launches. Or visit our facebook page irishballoonchampionships
Up-to-date information about the balloon launches can be found on our Latest Event News, facebook page or by calling the Championships Information Hot Line on 087 9300700.
During the week, a number of light-hearted competitions will take place to challenge the skill of the participating pilots. Here is a sample of those that could take place:
Hare and Hounds
This involves a single balloon flying away first (the 'hare') and the remaining balloons follow the hare balloon, who will be doing their best to find winds to make the task more difficult for the chasing pack. The winner will be the balloon that either lands nearest, or drops their 'marker' nearest the landed hare balloon.
This will involve the nomination and placement of a target area. The balloon teams will then be sent off to find their own launch site locations a pre-specified distance(Usually 5 miles !) away from the target area. The pilots will then use their skill to fly towards the target area using the minimal steerage offered by winds at different heights.
Long Distance Competition
Throughout the week, a competition will be run where a prize is awarded to the balloon team that manages to fly the furthest throughout the week's event.