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Galway Independent

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Balloon festival returns

Wednesday, 12th July, 2017 10:49am

The Irish National Hot Air Balloon Championships are to take place again this year in County Galway from 24-29 September.

At the launch event in Claregalway Castle this week, Galway County Council Cathaoirleach Eileen Mannion said she was delighted to be able to launch the event coming back to County Galway.

“40 international Balloon Teams coming to County Galway is a great opportunity for the County, for the communities, business and tourism in the County for which I can already see great excitement,” she said. 

Speaking at the launch on Monday evening Joe Daly, event Director for the championships, said, “The event is taking place again in Galway this year due to the sponsorship by Galway County Council without which we could not hold the event here and I would like to thank them for this. We are delighted to have this event back to Galway. Balloonists are really looking forward to returning after receiving a great friendly reception from the locals, landowners and businesses.”

Last year, teams visited up to 15 schools when they couldn’t fly, bringing their balloons and showing children all the aspects about ballooning, which went down well with both teams and schools, said Mr Daly. “Galway County is a beautiful sight from above and the teams are very excited to revisit Galway and some also for the first time. This event brings colour, wonder to both participants and spectators. Landing in a field and seeing the communities follow the flight is wonderful experience for the balloon teams and spectators alike!”

Chief Executive Officer Kevin Kelly said that it is great to invite the teams back to County Galway as it provided such a wonderful spectacle for all, and just as importantly to the local economy with a spend of over € 96,000 in the local area of Loughrea.

Up to 40 Balloon teams are set to land in Loughrea from all over the world including USA, England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Italy, France and Spain, with preparations in motion for some amazing sights around Loughrea and beyond, with a planned mass launch of all balloons, Night Glow, and schools visits.

The event will take place all over County Galway in different locations depending on wind direction from 24-29 September, with the base for the participants being Loughrea.
The Championships are held in various locations in Ireland in conjunction with local authorities and the 47 Championships have been handed over again to County Galway in conjunction with Galway County Council - Made in Galway.

The Irish Hot Air Ballooning Association is the representative body for ballooning in Ireland and promotes ballooning in the country with the longest running National Ballooning Championships in the world.

So mark your diary for late September for a sight to behold!

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