We’ve been studying the Middle Ages for history and we’re absolutely fascinated by birds of prey.
We took a fun trip to Ireland for my birthday!
We primarily went to Ashford Castle for the falconry school.
It was the highlight of our trip to Ireland!
The kids and I had a great time with the Harris’s Hawks and Aaron took pictures.
Our guide, Jamie, graciously took this family shot of us!
Alex got two turns, so don’t let his scowl fool you. He was disappointed our time was over!
And, as you can see, it started raining pretty hard right about then, so it was good we were finished.
We made an appointment for our hawking at 9:30 AM and walked over to the Falconry School on the grounds of Ashford Castle. It’s also open to the public; you don’t have to stay at the castle to do the falconry activities.
Jamie, our instructor, introduced us to all their important birds: Dingle the owl, some of their special hawks, and two beautiful falcons. We even got to witness their oldest hawk, retired now, come in for a landing after his morning flight.
Each hawk has its own perch and a bathtub within the enclosure. They are tethered to it and that’s their territory. Each bird is weighed every morning.
Dingle the owl and the retired hawk have larger, private enclosures.
After all that excitement, Jamie brought out brothers, Chico and Aztec, for our session.
Liz and Chico met their match in orneriness. Chico liked trying to help with his ties and bands, but it just tightens them. He thinks he’s so smart. Teenagers.
Alex liked the calmer Aztec, Chico’s brother.
Liz and Alex had their turns first and got to walk out of the gates with hawks on their arms.
He was SO careful walking with the hawk on his glove. He propped up his hand to steady it.
The hawks are much lighter than you’d expect and will not touch your face, so there’s no fear of that. As much as we want to, we shouldn’t pet them because it interferes with their oil production which helps keep them waterproofed.
During our hour-long walk around the woods, our guide told us all about Harris’s Hawks. We even got to see them perform a few tricks.
Alex was giddy with the taking off and landing.
He just knew to open his palm to feed him the bit of meat, before Jamie even told him.
In a few minutes, he was acting like a pro!
The girls loved it when it was their turn!
The kids all love animals and this was a wonderful experience for them to interact with hawks.
I think the hawks like posing for pictures too.
Tori was a little nervous at first, but soon got the hang of it.
The hawks feel most comfortable on the glove with the thumb turned up, otherwise they start to climb up your arm.
She knows she wants to work with animals when she grows up. She thinks she might want to intern as a falconer or be a marine biologist.
Tori and Katie got to walk the hawks back inside the gate and to their napping room.
Chico doesn’t produce enough sebum to be water-proof so they blow-dry him.
We all had so much fun learning about and flying the hawks.
€80.00 for one participant
€65.00 each for two participants
€55.00 each for three participants
€50.00 each for four to ten participants
Reductions apply for larger groups and families and there is no cost for spectators who accompany a participant.
We got a family rate of €135.00.
Our time with these Harris’s Hawks was the highlight of our trip to Ireland!
Check out the Falconry School at Ashford Castle.