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Hot air balloons over the Irish Lakelands

4th May 2011 Print
Hot Air Balloons

For a memorable May weekend getaway, visit the Irish Lakelands where you’ll find plenty of events and attractions to entertain, with easy access for UK visitors by plane or ferry to Dublin, just a short drive away.

If you’re looking for something quirky that’s sure to enchant visitors of all ages, the 41st Irish Hot Air Balloon Championships take place from 25th to 30th May in Birr, with a host of events throughout the week at Birr Castle, an impressive historic estate which belongs to the Parsons family; inventors of the steam turbine engine amongst other things.

As well as enjoying the magnificent spectacle of the balloons overhead, visitors will find an incredible array of flora and fauna in the vast grounds of this 124 acre estate, as well as the Great Telescope, which was the largest in the world for 70 years, and the imposing castle itself, which remains the family home of the Earl of Rosse.

Stay at Wineport Lodge, a boutique retreat on the banks of Lough Ree, just half an hour’s drive from the festival, to make it a truly memorable weekend. You’ll enjoy organic and locally-sourced cuisine in the famed restaurant of this food and wine-themed hotel, as well as breathtaking lakeside views from each and every room.

A haven of tranquility, you may not want to venture far from the hotel itself but you won’t be short of things to do. Take a walk through the surrounding countryside using the guides provided, hop on a river boat up the Shannon to Athlone for a spot of shopping and a pint in Europe’s oldest pub, or simply indulge in some serious pampering at the hotel’s Treatment Suite, topped off with a soak in the rooftop hot tub.

Wineport Lodge is offering two nights in a deluxe lakeview room with breakfast in bed each morning and one dinner for £125 per person per night, based on two sharing. For bookings visit:

Fly to Dublin from a choice of 20 UK departure airports, with fares from just £19.99**.

*Price based on arrival Saturday 21st May 2011
** See

For ferries to Dublin visit:

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Hot Air Balloons Wineport Lodge