About Us

The Irish Ballooning Association is affiliated to the National Aero Club of Ireland, the Federation Aeronautique Internationale and the Commission Internationale d' Aerostation. The CIA is the international governing body of ballooning.

As the representative body for hot air ballooning in Ireland the IBA handles the selection process for International competitions and supervises the National Ballooning Championship which has now been running for over 40 years.

In the late 1950's there was a revival of hot air ballooning worldwide. The development of lightweight manmade fabrics and the introduction of bottled liquid petroleumgas made the manufacture and flying of balloons more practical. It wasn't long before some keen aviators explored the possibilities of bringing this new aviation experience to Ireland.

In June 1968 a group of Irish aviation enthusiasts founded the Dublin Ballooning Club which acquired its first balloon in 1970 and undertook the training of balloon pilots. As the sport developed and the number of balloons increased, it became necessary to set up an independent representative body for pilots and balloon owners and so the Balloon and Airship Association of Ireland was formed. Over time this became the Irish Ballooning Association which is now the governing body for all sport ballooning activities in Ireland.

An ideal opportunity to demonstrate a hot air balloon to the general public arose when the Rothmans Air Rally was scheduled to take place at Ballyfree, Co. Wicklow in June 1968.

Christopher Martin, a member of the Irish Aviation Club made arrangements to bring a balloon over from England for the event. The balloon, an AX6 "Bri ghton 65" registered G­-AWJB owned by Malcolm Brighton, was flown at Ballyfree by American balloonist Bill Malpas on 2nd June 1968. 

Chris Martin then placed an advertisement in the National newspapers inviting anyone interested in forming a ballooning club to attend a meeting at Wynn's Hotel in Dublin on 14th June 1968. This small gathering of about thirty people resulted in the formation of the Dublin Ballooning Club.  

The new ballooning club immediately set about acquiring a balloon. The main obstacle was the shortage of finance and it was two years later when Lyons Tea were persuaded to contribute £1,000 in sponsorship. The shortfall of  £1,500 required to purchase a balloon was loaned by David Synnott who was then the club secretary. And so, ballooning in Ireland began.