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Monday, November 9, 2020

Hawk Walk At The Aillwee Caves - County Clare, Ireland

 


Our fifth day in Ireland might be the day we reminisce about the most when we relive the memories we made during the week we spent in The Emerald Isle with my sister, Sandie and BIL, J.T.  We had been waiting for the day when we would interact with hawks ever since the day we put the Hawk Walk at Aillwee Caves on our itinerary.  We were excited and a little apprehensive at the same time!

The day was finally here but first we made a pit stop to Gregan's Burren Geosite on Corkscrew Hill.  This is one of a few places to get a great view of the Burren.  The landscape and terrain of this area was very interesting mostly because it was so different from rolling green hills that we were getting used to seeing.  


The Burren means "great rock" and that's exactly what this region looks like.  It is actually made of limestones created when most of Ireland was covered by a tropical sea over 300 million years ago.  The grey stone covers acres and acres of northwestern County Clare.


The Aillwee Mountains, where our hawk walk experience was awaiting us, was not far from this Burren viewing area and we made it there in time for our scheduled visit.  We went into a small gift shop to check in and were told that there was a group ahead of us and that we could go right outside the shop to see a collection of eagles, falcons, hawks and owls.


All the birds here were born in captivity so wouldn't survive in the wild.  They were injured or sick and rescued from their captives and being cared for by the Birds of Prey Centre.


Our instructor for the day, Clodagh, greeted us while we were bird watching and told us it was time to become falconers for the day. 


Before we went on our hike with our birds she led us into a room where she gave us an informative introduction to falconry and the Harris Hawks.  J.T. volunteered to help demonstrate how we would wear the glove that the hawks would land on.


Clodagh, then led the four of us and two hawks, Juan and Al, into Hazel Woods.  The birds stayed close but most of the time we couldn't see them as we hiked along the limestone pavement of the Burren.  Every so often we would all stop walking and Clodagh would call out to one of the birds.  If it was your turn to have a bird land on you, you would hold out your gloved arm.  It was pretty scary because you couldn't tell where they were coming from.  They would suddenly be swooping in from behind you or even more intimidating was when they were coming right at you.


But after a short time, it became so much fun and the birds were so adorable, that I couldn't wait for it to be my turn again.


The hour went so fast.  None of us wanted to part with the hawks, or Clodagh.  She made the day very special with her patience, knowledge and friendliness.  She was nice enough to take one last picture of the four of us with our new feathered friends.


We walked back, with Clodagh, after our hawk walk, to the Birds of Prey Centre.  We got back in time for a flying display.  The birds showed us how well they responded to the trainer's commands.


We saw our instructor, Clodagh, change hats easily to become Clodagh the demonstrator.  She didn't have a lack of volunteers wanting to be a part of the show.


After the very informative display we were off to the Aillwee Cave.  Soko, Sandie and J.T. registered to go on the next guided tour of the underworld of the Burren.  Because of my claustrophobia, I waited in the gift shop/waiting area.  I saw some great pictures of the Burren's most accessible cave when they got back.


We had a full day of  adventure on Aillwee Mountain and actually stayed until it closed at 5:00.  Now it was time to take the short 30 minute drive back to the Atlantic View Cottages, our home for the week.

We freshened up a bit before heading out to have dinner at one of the two pubs in Doolin.  We walked 20 minutes, using the quieter back roads, to the small town.


We were all starving and ready for another delicious Irish dinner.  McGann's Pub's selections were authentic Irish and it was very hard to make a choice with everything sounding very delicious.


We had another day full of adventure in Ireland.  After walking up the hill and back to our cottage we were ready to relax for a short while before calling it a night.  We had to get up at the crack of dawn to be on time to catch the ferry that would bring us to our next stop, Aran Islands.




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16 comments:

  1. Wow! How cool that you got to interact with the hawks like that! My husband would have loved that.

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    1. It was really a unique experience. We thought we heard that something like this doesn't exist in the US but I just researched a bit and found somewhere in NY to do this. I hope you and your husband will get to have this adventure one day.

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  2. Enjoyed seeing your pics! I would not have been brave enough to hold the hawks :) Thanks so much for linking up with me at my #UnlimitedMonthlyLinkParty 18, open until November 26. Shared.

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    1. I closed my eyes when it was my first turn to have the hawk land on me. That worked. After I found out how gentle they were I couldn't wait for another turn!

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  3. Thanks for sharing this wonderful journey and thanks for pinning my post...

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    1. Thanks for visiting. I don't think this was the first of your recipes that I pinned and I am sure it won't be the last!

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  4. What a wonderful excursion! The hawks are such magnificent birds.

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  5. ********************************************************
    Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. Pinned and shared. Have a lovely week. I hope to see you at next week’s party too! Please stay safe and healthy. Come party with us at Over The Moon! Catapult your content Over The Moon! @marilyn_lesniak @EclecticRedBarn
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    1. Thanks for pinning and for stopping by. I will be at your wonderful party soon!

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  6. What a wonderful experience to see these beautiful birds and creation up close and touch them. Our JULIE has chosen your post to be featured in our next Blogger's Pit Stop.
    Kathleen

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    1. I am so excited and thankful for the feature! And, yes, it was an experience we will never forget!

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  7. Beautiful photos and you can tell just how much your enjoyed the trip. Thanks for sharing. #HomeMattersParty

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    1. Thank you for stopping by and for hosting your nice party every week!

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  8. Absolutely beautiful pictures!!
    Thanks so much for taking the time to visit!! I really appreciate your kind words!!! Many other bloggers do Christmas bedding and other linens in their bedrooms...i just do Trees!! LOL!!
    Hugs,
    Debbie

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    1. Thank you for stopping by and thanks for letting us into your always lovely home!

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