John Brennan & Karen McGillivray

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Frequently Asked Qusetions

Irelandís 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 Ďhands oní 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.

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 lots 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, (3.30pm in the depths of winter!). 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?

We are located within the grounds of Ashford Castle Hotel and are situated approximately a 5 to 10 minute walk from Ashford Castle car park. 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.

Our GPS co-ordinates are:- Latitude 53.533 Longitude -9.2931

How many hawks will we fly?

Most Hawk Walks are conducted with 2 hawks or very occasionally 3 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, two hawks flying loose together requires a lot of concentration and thought and correct timing with little margin for error. Three hawks is usually too much for most people, and we never fly three hawks with children as it is always too much for them.

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.

The decision of whether to fly 2 hawks or 3 hawks is always at our discretion as it is extremely important to us that the hawks are handled & looked after well. If your group is deemed eligible for 3 hawks your Falconer will give you the choice and talk you through the proís & conís of 2 hawks versus 3 hawks so that you can make an informed decision. Does that explain things? or is it now as clear as mud!!! If it is a case of the latter please feel free to email us and we will be more than happy to explain in more detail if you like.

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 with us we only have a certain number of Hawk Walk 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 to accompany a participant throughout their Hawk Walk. All of our Hawk Walks are private experiences so it is not possible to spectate somebody elseís 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 Hawk Walk participants refrain from doing so during the early part of the Hawk Walk so you can give your hawk your full attention and concentrate solely on learning to handle & fly the hawk correctly, as well as have time to just enjoy being with your hawk first. Your Falconry Instructor can assist with taking photos and advise when it is okay to do so during your Hawk Walk.

John Brennan & Karen McGillivray

Read Falconry Ireland reviews on Trip Advisor