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European Waterways’ Celtic Cruises Take Flight with Exclusive Falconry and Birds of Prey Demonstrations

June 7, 2018 River Cruising No Comments Email Email

Eagle eyed European Waterways guests will now be treated to magnificent demonstrations of the art of falconry as part of the company’s exclusive “insider experiences” on hotel barge cruises aboard the Spirit of Scotland and Scottish Highlander in Scotland and Shannon Princess in Ireland. 

The demonstrations feature a striking display of aerial acrobatics from birds of prey that include falcons, hawks, eagles, owls and vultures – set against the backdrop of the Scottish Highlands or the walled gardens of a stately manor in Ireland. Guests are then invited to get “up close and personal” with the birds, as they perch and take off from their arms, swooping high above the countryside.

According to Derek Banks, Managing Director of European Waterways, experiential opportunities like these are driving record bookings for the company this year. Prices start at €3,490 per person or €21,900 for whole boat charters on the Scottish Highlander; €3,690 per person or €37,100 for charters of the Spirit of Scotland; and €3,950 per person or €33,400 for a whole boat charters of the Shannon Princess. All cabin prices are based on double occupancy.

“It’s an incredible experience to watch these amazing birds and interact with them first-hand,” said Banks. “The birds come from all over the world, with many of them on the endangered list. People rarely get to see them in person, let alone hold them. Our guests leave the demonstrations with a greater appreciation for their unique and magnificent beauty and the importance of ensuring their survival.”

Flying Colors

The eight-passenger Scottish Highlander and 12-passenger Spirit of Scotland – one of the newest in the European Waterways fleet – cruise the Caledonian Canal through the celebrated highlands of Scotland, past famous castles, historic battlegrounds, and spectacular wildlife, glens and lochs, including Loch Ness, where the falconry demonstrations take place. In addition to a visit to the private Highland Club, a former 19th century Benedictine Monastery, and the birds of prey experience, guests enjoy a tour and private tasting at the Glen Ord whisky distillery, among other excursions.

The hotel barges drift through many of the renowned Scottish lochs, including Dochfour, Ness, Oich and Lochy. Along the way, guests will also tour Cawdor Castle and gardens, inspiration for Shakespeare’s Macbeth, and the Eilean Donan Castle – filming location for the James Bond thriller, The World is Not Enough. The sweeping beauty of the highlands is a constant source of fascination, punctuated by frequent sightings of the diverse wildlife that calls the region home. Tailored golf, whisky trail, honeymoon and family charters are also available.

The 10-passenger Shannon Princess cruises the River Shannon through the legends and lore of the Irish countryside. Its panoramic windows look out to the rolling green landscape and ancient Celtic landmarks that include historic ruins, castles and grand estates. The falconry demonstrations take place inside the walled garden of Adare Manor, a magnificent estate on the banks of the River Maigue.

Exclusive tours take guests through Portumna Castle, a carefully restored, semi-fortified castle overlooking the river in the town of Galway, and the legendary 6th century Clonmacnoise ruins, an ancient monastic site that was visited by Pope John Paul II while in Ireland in 1979. Guests will also visit Leap Castle, believed to be haunted due to its violent past, which includes murder, deceit and great treachery amongst its former owners and local clans. The cruise also offers an excellent opportunity for fishing and walking and, throughout, a sampling of the “black stuff,” Guinness.

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