Trying your hand at falconry in Ireland ranks high on the list of activities in many Ireland vacation itineraries. And there are quite a few amazing places to try falconry in Ireland. But one of the most unique experiences we had took place at Adare Manor in County Limerick with Willie Forde, owner of Adare Country Pursuits.
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Falconry at Adare Manor
While no one can deny the incredible rush that comes with watching a bird of prey swoop down to your gloved hand, there is so much more to falconry.
The first reference to falconry in Ireland was made in the 7th century in reference to the King of Tara owning two hunting hawks. 12th century Norman laws restricted falconry to the upper classes, truly making it the ‘Sport of Kings’.
Willie and his team at Adare Country Pursuits follow in the tradition of the Royal Falconers, providing day to day care and training for the wide variety of birds in their mews. From Tiny, the adorable White Faced Scopes Owl, to Caelin, the massive Golden Eagle, each bird is weighed, fed, and exercised daily. It’s definitely a sport that requires passion and patience!
The crew at Adare Country Pursuits graciously share their passion with visitors to Adare Manor, as well as at events throughout the Shannon region.
Not Just a Hawk Walk
Most falconry experiences in Ireland offer interaction with a single bird, usually the Harris Hawk. This is the bird you will fly at Adare Manor, as well.
But before that you have the opportunity to meet a few other birds. Maybe Oscar, the huge Eurasion Eagle Owl will grace a perch near Podge, a wee Western Screech Owl, while Flash, the Peregrine Falcon sits quietly hooded near Felix, a Harris Hawk.
Gently your falconer will remove each bird from their perch in turn and bring them to meet you. After learning everything you ever wanted to know about that bird it’s time to don the glove and hold it. It’s amazing how even the largest birds feel so light! And the tiniest birds barely feel like they are on your hand. This is photo-opp time so be sure to have a couple cameras handy- or know who you are handing your camera to- because you definitely want shots of yourself holding these amazing birds!
Soon it will be time to fly the Harris Hawk. There is nothing quite so incredible as feeling a bird of prey focus directly on you and watching it fly directly for you, only to have it land gently on your gloved hand and take the food you offer. It’s amazing!
Your falconry experience doesn’t have end after flying the hawk! A flight display with eagle or owl (or both) is also available. You’ll be amazed at how silently owls fly! And being so close to such a large bird of prey is simply incredible.
|Note: our falconry experience was at the invitation of Willie Forde..||Pin to Your|
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Stay nearby at Fitzgerald’s Woodlands House Hotel.
Booking a Falconry Experience at Adare Manor
If you are staying at Adare Manor or the villas on the estate, the hotel will be happy to book the experience for you.
If you aren’t staying on the property. bookings are taken directly on the Adare Country Pursuits website.
Other Country Pursuits at Adare Manor
For a full ‘Irish Country’ experience add archery or an Irish Gundog experience to your time on the estate. Both are offered by Adare Country Pursuits.