Falconry is legal in both jurisdictions in Ireland, but a completely different set of laws and restrictions apply.
To make a start you should first contact the government agency with responsibility for falconry and tell them that you are interested in becoming a falconer (Refer to Legislation Section).
You must understand all of these regulations fully before going any further. You should try to contact a falconer living in your area who is willing to help you – the IHC will try to assist you. Even experienced falconers value the help of other falconers - beginners above all need that help.
Beginners should read extensively about falconry. Learn from other peoples mistakes, not just your own. Go into the field on hunts with your experienced falconer. Dedicate at least a year to observation and reading only. If you are still convinced that you want to become a falconer, go through the final phase and apply for the relevant licenses, build your mews and weathering area, and acquire equipment with care and before acquiring a hawk.
It has been said that falconry is a sport for the very rich or the unemployed! The key point here is that it requires a significant amount of time. For any falconer to do justice to his/her bird, they need to be able to dedicate a significant amount of time to training, flying and hunting their bird. If you do not have time, you are likely to spoil your bird of prey. You can still enjoy falconry as a spectator and member of the Irish Hawking Club.
People who intend to keep a falcon or hawk as a pet, should be discouraged from taking up falconry. Hunting is important for both the physical and mental well being of the bird. In order to hunt with a bird of prey, one will need to ensure that they have adequate access to suitable hunting land, with sufficient numbers of quarry species (i.e., rabbits, crows,etc.). Each species of bird of prey has evolved and is finely tuned, over thousands of years, to pursue different types of prey species through a variety of hunting and flying styles. Therefore, an appreciation of the natural habitat and behaviour of wild birds of prey provides a good foundation.
BEFORE GETTING A BIRD YOU SHOULD
Before you obtain a bird, though, you will need to ensure that you -
The IHC has produced a beginner’s leaflet and guidance on the housing of birds of prey, which can be made available on request from the Treasurer when making your application for membership.