Falconry is the use of a trained bird of prey as a tool for catching food. The art form is thought to have first been used in the Far East but evidence of its use has also been found in ancient cities around the world in places like the Arabian Peninsula, Constantinople and Rome.
A little unknown fact is that the Irish Celts were hugely familiar with the use of birds of prey to catch their food, evidence of which can be found in Irish heritage sites such in Newgrange Co. Meath dating back to 2,000BC. The first written reference to falconry in Ireland was relating to The King of Tara who was said to have two hunting Hawks. Which is why In Ireland falconry is seen as a long-standing historic sport of the nobles or “The Sport of Kings”.
In the Middle ages birds of prey were prised possessions and their ownership was seen as a status symbol. Noblemen hired the original dedicated falconers to care for and tend to their birds. This position of a residential falconer came with great praise and esteem. However, with the growth of gunpowder, this skill has seen a steep decline, it was easier to manage a firearm over a highly intelligent animal.
Today Falconers use their experience and knowledge gained over the past 5,000 years to keep the population of these fascinating birds on the rise. Not only are they adept at breading the animals they also take the time and have a deep understanding on how to nurse injured birds of prey back to full health.