Irish Hot Air Ballooning Championship
From Sunday the 22nd to Friday the 27th September 2019 the skies above Birr Castle Gardens, Co. Offaly will once again be filled with the beautiful sight of dozens of Hot Air Balloons - weather permitting
A private event for hobby balloonists from all over the world and an amazing spectator sport for the public.
The Irish Hot Air Ballooning Championship is usually referred to as 'The Irish Meet'. It is the longest-running national ballooning event in the world.
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 over 40 balloons and has been held in places like, Boyle, Co Roscommon; Kilkenny City; Waterford City; Athlone; Trim, Co Meath; Kells Co. Meath, Birr Co. Offaly, Killenkere, Co Cavan and Drumshambo Co. Leitrim.
Balloonists from UK, USA, France, Holland, Belgium, Chile and Ireland are regular attendees for 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 depending on the wind for direction.
This year, these balloonists will spend the last week in September in the Birr, Co. Offaly
We aim for the balloons flights to take place twice each day, weather permitting, at approximately 7:30am and 6:00pm.
The status and location of these flights will be updated on the official Irish Hot Air Ballooning Championships Facebook page throughout the event (although our main launch site will be the Birr Castle Gardens, this may have to change depending on the weather and/or ground conditions).
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 Birr 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!).
Please note, for castle entry fees and parking information head to www.birrcastle.com – the Irish Ballooning Association operates the Irish Hot Air Ballooning Championships as a private event therefore a fee may be payable to Birr Castle for castle entry on the day/ launch.
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.
Each pilot attending the Championships wants to be in the air as much as you want to see us in the air however, safety must come first and, if the weather isn’t suitable, unfortunately we have to stay on the ground.