I happened upon Ireland's Raptor Research Centre after visiting the monument to the New York "Fighting 69th" Irish regiment in America's Civil War. Just south of the monument in Ballymote I saw a sign for the raptor centre and decided to stop. I was very glad I did, because it was another memorable experience that you can come upon just wandering around in the Emerald Isle.
The Irish Raptor Research Centre is a privately run sancuary for more than 100 birds of prey, including eagles, falcons, hawks and vultures. While it has an internationally known research program, it is open to visitors who want to learn more about these magnificent creatures. Besides being able to see these beautiful and powerful birds of prey, visitors can actually see the birds in flight, sometimes perilously close. I can admit to feeling some hairs raised on the back of my head as an eagle swooped down to within a few feet of me. It was as scary and exhilirating as the fasted roller coaster ride I've ever taken. For those traveling with teenagers, this has to be a must stop.
To find out more about the Irish Raptor Research Center, including opening times and admissions, go to their website, www.EaglesFlying.com.
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