John Brennan & Karen McGillivray

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Frequently Asked Qusetions

Ireland's School of Falconry

What if the weather is bad?

If the weather is very bad (solid rain all day) we would recommend that you call us to see if the Hawk Walks are cancelled or not. It is rare for us to cancel Hawk Walks due to weather, but the hawks do not fly well in prolonged heavy rain. Showers are no problem at all.

How old do children have to be to fly a hawk?

We usually recommend that children are aged a minimum of 7 years old to fly a hawk. Younger children are able to accompany you throughout your Hawk Walk, but will not be able to fly a hawk. Because our Hawk Walks are very much 'hands on' it may be worth noting that very young children are unlikely to get a lot out of our type of Hawk Walk experience. For instance, we are nothing like a petting zoo and the hawks are not able to be touched or stroked. Just something to keep in mind.

How many hawks will adults fly?

Most adult Hawk Walks are conducted with 2 hawks. Interestingly, the Hawk Walk experience is not at all enhanced by flying more hawks, in fact it is often detrimental as it is too chaotic and overwhelming. The more hawks on the go, the less time there is to watch each flight of each hawk, to pause and enjoy them and to take photos or video. As it is, managing two hawks flying free together requires a lot of concentration and correct timing with little margin for error.

We do occasionally fly three hawks but three hawks is usually too much for most people. Flying too many hawks can take a lot of the fun out of the Hawk Walk because of the extra levels of concentration, correct timing and co-ordination that is required. There are a lot more do's & don'ts & rules that we have to enforce when flying 3 hawks as opposed to 2 hawks, and the taking of photos & video is much harder and may not be allowed for some of the Hawk Walk

How many hawks will children fly?

Young children (aged approximately 7 to 11 yrs) will fly one hawk between them. This is the best option for introducing young children to hawks and gives them the opportunity to learn the sensitivity and skills needed to handle the hawks correctly.

What is the best time of day to fly the hawks?

Interestingly, there is no particular better or worse time of day to fly the hawks from the hawks point of view. We have a lot of hawks and they all usually fly twice daily, once a.m. and once again p.m. and this is the system that they like the best and that is best for them. So whatever time suits you (within our booking timeframe (see below question) is fine with the hawks.

What times are Hawk Walks available to book?

Our earliest possible Hawk Walk appointment is at 9.30am and our latest possible Hawk Walk appointment is at 4pm each day. Any time within that timeframe, either on the hour or half past the hour, is bookable each day subject to availability.

It may be worth noting that 4pm is our latest possible time for beginning a Hawk Walk and this is due to the quite strict feeding times of the hawks, so it is not possible to arrive late for a 4pm Hawk Walk unfortunately, just something to bear in mind.

How long does the Hawk Walk last?

The Hawk Walk lasts for one hour. We do also offer an Extended Hawk Walk which takes 90-minutes but the vast majority of our Hawk Walks are one-hour.

Directions/GPS co-ordinates?

To find us, you should drive in through the main entrance for Ashford Castle, (spectacular views!), and park in the castle visitor car park which is signposted. We are approximately a 5 to 7 minute walk from there and we are signposted (on foot only) through the castle grounds. We ask that you only follow GPS directions to the Castle, and not to Ireland's School of Falconry, as we have no parking facilities here at the school. From The Lodge at Ashford Castle we are approximately a 15 minute walk. From Cong village we are approximately a 15 to 20 minute walk. From Galway we are approximately one hour.

GPS co-ordinates for Ashford Castle are:- Latitude 53.534084, Longitude -9.285250

Do you have to be staying at Ashford Castle or The Lodge at Ashford Castle to book a Hawk Walk?

Although you do not need to be staying at Ashford Castle or The Lodge at Ashford Castle to book a Hawk Walk we only have a certain number of spaces available, each day, for non-resident guests, and these do tend to fill up quickly during the busy summer months.

What is the cancellation policy?

There is a 24 hour cancellation policy in place.

Are spectators allowed to accompany the Hawk Walk?

There is no charge for a small number of spectators who are accompanying friends or family throughout their Hawk Walk. All of our Hawk Walks are private experiences so it is not possible to spectate somebody else's Hawk Walk.

Is it possible to take photos and videos during the Hawk Walk?

Although it is possible to take photos and videos during the Hawk Walk, we usually request that participants refrain from doing so during the early part of the Hawk Walk. This is important so that you can give the hawk your full attention and concentrate solely on learning to handle & fly the hawk sensitively and correctly. It is nice to have time to just enjoy being with your hawk at first. Your Falconry Instructor can assist with photos and advise when it is okay to do so during your Hawk Walk

Will the hawks catch anything?

During your Hawk Walk we do not do any intentional hunting. Having said that, the hawks themselves are always on the lookout and they do occasionally catch small prey.

John Brennan & Karen McGillivray

Read Falconry Ireland reviews on Trip Advisor