Trim Hot Air Balloon Fiesta / Ireland

In November 2009, we received an email through our website from Malcolm White from Trim, inviting us to Ireland's first special shape balloon meeting, which was to be held in Trim over the Easter weekend 2010. And as Matthias already has a long-time fancy for Ireland, apart from the fact that we always like crazy ideas, we accepted Malcolm's offer.
Elfi and Martin, two friends of us from Rosenheim near Munich, and our Belgian friends Sabine, Luc and Bram from Deinze, were just as enthusiastic about the idea as we were, and so, in early April, we boarded two planes bound for Emerald Isle.

The baskets for our model balloons had been sent by standard mail already some days before, the envelopes, being the far more valuable items, we took with us in the plane. At Dublin Airport, we rented a 7-seater, and off we were, fighting our way through some funny experiences with left-hand traffic and right-hand drives, to the small town of Trim in County Meath.

The balloon meeting itself took place on the fields near Trim Castle, an impressive medieval fortress which had already been featured in the award-winning movie "Braveheart" as an important part of the set. The weather was "typically irish" - sun, clouds and rain rapidly changing - but we made the best out of it. Matthias even managed to have a spectacular short free flight with the Penguin - maybe the first free flight of a model balloon in Ireland at all, but certainly the fastest ever! ;-)

Guest of Honour to the Trim Balloon Fiesta was Brian Jones, the first man to fly around the world in a balloon together with Bertrand Piccard in 1999. As you can see on the photos, he even shared some of his propane with us - an incredibly nice act of friendship, given the fact that Mr. Jones must surely have a trauma on being out of fuel after that flight with Breitling Orbiter 3... ;-)
Despite the rough weather (well - at least for us, the Irish seemed to feel far more confident with it), over 70,000 people visited Trim that weekend, a quite impressive number for a town with only 3,500 inhabitants.

The concluding highlight of the event was a medieval banquet held at Trim Castle Hotel, where all guests showed up nicely dressed - even we did, though all the clothes brought us even closer to our baggage limit. Apart from a delicious dinner, the evening featured an extraordinary Irish Dance performance and a wonderful medieval band, which made us dance the night away until the wee hours of the morning.
After a visit to Dublin on Easter Monday, we returned home after four unforgettable days - with the promise to certainly return sometime... :-)

We want to thank from the bottom of our hearts for this fantastic experience: Pauline Baker and Malcolm White for the invitation and organisation, Trish from the "Beechwood Lodge" for our excellent accomodation, and Martin Eutermoser, Luc De Wulf and Gillian McEnteggart for the wonderful photographs.

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