The Magic of Millie … Ashford Castle, Ireland

One of the fabulous things about travelling, of course, is the chance to try new things.

Such was the case in Ireland last spring during our stay at  beautiful Ashford Castle.

Lloyd’s daughter, Claire, is an exotic bird trainer in Australia, so I suggested to him it might be fun if he took advantage of access to Ireland’s School of Falconry located on the castle grounds and go on a Hawk Walk. He didn’t need much prodding excited, as he was, at the thought of being able to share his experience with his daughter.

Like daughter like father, I suppose, because he was a natural and thoroughly enjoyed it. Millie, a Harris Hawk who regularly entertains the castle’s guests with her aerobatics and impressive wing span, was Lloyd’s flying partner while I had fun capturing the moment.

During the hour-long Hawk Walk through the gardens and woods of the castle, Lloyd’s instructor educated him on the basics of falconry and Millie performed her magic, winging with speed and agility, swooping and flying between trees and from the trees to Lloyd’s gloved fist. Watching this impressive bird in flight was truly a sight to behold, as was the joyful expression on Lloyd’s smiling face.

Needless to say, Claire was thrilled that her dad would take the opportunity to try something she loved — their shared joy made possible by the magic of Millie.

Copyright Aimwell Enterprises 2012

Ashford Castle I

Being a romantic with a taste for the ancient, when I learned we were going to Ireland I knew we just had to stay in a castle.

We actually had the opportunity to stay in three castles, and one of them was beautiful Ashford Castle on the shores of Lough Corrib in County Mayo.

We enjoyed two fabulous nights at this splendid hotel, which afforded plenty of time to relax and wander its grand gardens by day.

Naturally I put on my shutter-bug hat.

This photo depicts an old gate approach which is no longer in use.

Because it was early spring tree branches were still bare. This, and the muted light of a slightly overcast morning, gives the gate an etheric quality which transports my mind back in time and to imagining ghosts. I imagine the clatter of horses hooves on gravel and dirt and the jingling of harness; the voices of guards and the unlocking of the gate.

Did lovers kiss under this arch?

Ooh, if these walls could talk …

Copyright Aimwell Enterprises 2012