Ireland's Surprising Wild West, Where Eagles Soar

There are many surprises to be found in Ireland's "Wild West," and one for me that was completely unexpected was to see eagles and other birds of prey flying above the countryside in County Sligo.

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,

Tell us why YOU want to experience the ‘Wild West’ of Ireland, and you might win a free 9-day trip there, courtesy of Wild West Irish Tours and WOW Air. Get the details!

Views: 558

Tags: Animals, Connacht, Sligo, Tourism, Travel, Wildlife

Comment by Joe Gannon on May 29, 2015 at 10:33am

"My wife and I went here during our trip in June of 2013. A very interesting show they put on, and it's very "hands on" with the birds too (as you can see here), if you are so inclined.

Comment by Bit Devine on May 29, 2015 at 12:18pm

I've had the privilege of experiencing this centre first hand, as well as the one at Ailwee Caves in County Clare. Each has worked hard to present the birds at their best


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