JIMMY Deenihan TD Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht officially launched Kingdom Falconry on Sunday last at 2pm. This is a new business which is based at Crag Cave here in Castleisland.
Kingdom Falconry provides an opportunity for visitors to the area to view majestic and awe inspiring birds of prey, such as hawks, falcons and owls.
The two-man company will also provide owl encounters which is aimed particularly at younger children with the objective of providing an extra element to birthday parties at Crag Cave's indoor play area, Crazy Caves; and 'Hawk Walks' - where a limited number of guests are taken on an hour long walk through the local countryside with a hawk that can follow them on from tree to tree and glove to glove, with a falconer.
This new initiative, which was jointly part funded by North and East Kerry Development Partnership, will provide flying displays of various birds of prey - currently six different owls, hawks and falcons that will be flown free while others will remain on static display.
"Since becoming Minister with responsibility for Heritage I have had the opportunity of seeing some of these birds up close and they are extremely impressive and occasionally a little daunting in their awesome splendour. My department is undertaking and supporting important work to add to our country's living heritage through projects such as the reintroduction of eagles to our landscape," said Minister Deenihan in advance of Sunday's launch.
With the coastal environment in Kerry identified as being the most suitable area for the re introduction of the White Tailed Eagle, the first trials were reintroduced in Kerry in 2007 and since then more eagles have been released into the wild in the county.
"I am delighted that, while visiting Crag Cave, Kingdom Falconry will offer this unique opportunity to learn fascinating facts about the ancient art of falconry, which has been recognised by UNESCO as part of our collective, intangible cultural heritage" added Minister Deenihan.