Ireland's School of Falconry - Cong
Ireland's School of Falconry is located on the grounds of the historic Ashford Castle, in County Mayo in the west of Ireland. Falconry is the oldest known sport, and has been practised in Ireland for thousands of years. The first recorded activity dates to the 12th century when they used hunting hawks. This school is the oldest established Falconry School in the country.
The goal of the Hawk Walk is to let visitors participate in the enjoyment and excitement of falconry. Hawks are chosen because they are well known for their docile temperament and remarkable sociable nature. During the experience visitors will get the chance to fly a Harris hawk around the castles spectacular grounds during a one hour private Hawk Walk. There is an introductory lesson and shortly afterwards visitors will have a hawk on their glove before setting off to fly their hawk or hawks in the gardens and woodlands that enclose Ashford Castle, under the guidance of the instructor. Throughout the walk the instructor will tell visitors all about the history of falconry, about the hawk's incredible eyesight, their speed and agility and how they were trained by them. Visitors won't forget the moment when the hawk dives down from above and lands on their gloved fist. Visitors will also get to handle or fly some of the other birds of prey that reside here, they include, owls, eagles and falcons. There is also a simulated hunt which, is fascinating to watch. There is no experience necessary as the handlers are with visitors throughout. The walks cater to all those aged over seven and is a great family activity. Each hawk walk is a private experience for visitors.
They are truly majestic birds and you can't but be in awe of their abilities.
Flying a hawk is an incredible experience and definitely something to do in your lifetime.
As the walks take place under the shelter of the mature woodland, this activity can be enjoyed all year round regardless of the weather. Be sure to take a camera as there will be plenty of photo opportunities.