The Ailwee Caves and Birds of Prey Centre is a popular tourist attraction located in the Burren region of County Clare, Ireland. This attraction combines the natural wonder of ancient limestone caves with the excitement of a birds of prey centre.

Aillwee Cave

History and Geology:

  • The Aillwee Cave was discovered in the 1940s by a local farmer who followed his dog into the cave.
  • The cave is estimated to be over a million years old, formed by glacial meltwaters eroding the limestone bedrock.
  • Inside the cave, visitors can see impressive formations such as stalactites, stalagmites, and underground waterfalls.

Tour Experience:

  • Guided tours are available, offering a fascinating insight into the geology and history of the cave.
  • The tour typically lasts about 30 minutes and is suitable for all ages.
  • The cave maintains a cool temperature year-round, so visitors are advised to dress warmly.

Birds of Prey Centre

Collection and Conservation:

  • The Birds of Prey Centre houses a diverse collection of raptors including eagles, hawks, owls, falcons, and vultures.
  • The centre focuses on conservation and education, aiming to raise awareness about these magnificent birds and the importance of protecting their habitats.

Demonstrations and Experiences:

  • Daily flying displays allow visitors to see these birds in action, showcasing their natural hunting and flying behaviors.
  • Visitors can also participate in "Hawk Walks," where they can experience the thrill of handling and flying a trained hawk.

Additional Activities

  • The Burren Experience: The Ailwee Cave is located in the Burren, a unique karst landscape known for its rocky terrain and rich biodiversity.
  • Farming and Heritage: The site includes a farm shop selling local produce, as well as a cheese-making facility where visitors can learn about traditional cheese production.

Visiting Information

  • Opening Hours: The Ailwee Cave and Birds of Prey Centre are typically open year-round, but it's best to check their website or contact them directly for the most up-to-date information on hours and availability.
  • Accessibility: The cave tour is accessible for most visitors, though it involves some walking and stairs. The Birds of Prey Centre is more easily accessible.
  • Location: Ailwee Cave, Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare, Ireland.

This combination of natural beauty, educational experiences, and interactive demonstrations makes the Ailwee Cave and Birds of Prey Centre a must-visit attraction in Ireland.