Cathaoirleach Eileen Mannion of the Galway County Council officially launched the 2017 Irish National Hot Air Balloon Championships which is taking place again in County Galway from September 24 to 29.
At the launch event in Claregalway Castle, she said; "I am delighted to be able to launch this event coming back to County Galway that there will be 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."
Speaking at the launch last 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.
"Teams visited up to 15 schools when they could not fly, bringing their balloon and showing children all the aspects about ballooning which went down so well with both teams and schools.
"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 also at the launch said; "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 planned mass launch of all balloons, night glow, and schools visits.
The championships are held in various locations in Ireland in conjunction with local authorities and the 47th championships have been handed over again to County Galway in conjunction with Galway County Council - Made in Galway.