From the Barrow Valley.
With the Editors permission, I would like to start back writing a weekly column for the fancy press, in order to keep people up to speed on what’s been happening in our neck of the woods, for those that are members of the Irish homing union national NFC and in particular the Carlow area, which is situated in the south east of Ireland.
It’s been a while since I’ve written and many things have changed and are continuing to change on a daily basis. The situation as regards this Corona virus epidemic and the implications of Brexit has left everyone in a terrible muddle, the delivery of purchased pigeons into Ireland has been dealt a bitter blow, what with the announcement from Walkers Transport that they have ceased deliveries to Ireland from both the UK and the Continent, hopefully the situation will be resolved by some other up and coming entrepreneur. It would appear that the new routes just launched from Ireland to Dunkirk might just provide the answers, at least for continental delivers anyway, the UK on the other hand could be a different kettle of fish. I hope we don’t have to resort to the tactics that we had to use back in the eighties, lots of people will remember the use of nylon stockings for transporting birds through customs, I can tell you that it made each journey very stressful for both man and birds, not a situation that anyone would be looking forward to, I can assure you.
In the Carlow area, pigeon racing is in a fairly healthy position, we now have five clubs in and around the town. Each one well supported, with four of the five clubs being transported on the one transporter flying in two federations. Nearly all pigeon related activities are supported by all five clubs.
The latest innovation has been a gold ring race, organised by PJ Nangle of Carlow pigeon supplies, Athy Road, Carlow. Open to the members of all five clubs in the area, at €10 per ring, max ten rings per member. Over three hundred rings were sold in the first month and with a closing date of February 1st, those who have not purchased rings yet would want to be getting a move on.
This scheme follows on from a highly successful champion young bird event held in 2020, also organised by Carlow pigeon supplies, Athy Road, Carlow, in which the eventual winner was Alan o Neill from Tullow who races in the Carlow & Dist RPC. Alan’s bird took the maximum 30 points from Fermoy 1st club 743 birds, 1st Club Cork city 421 birds, 29 points for 2nd club Fermoy 554 birds and an extra 7 points from the young bird national from Valentia in the last race of the season, to end the competition on 96 points, a very worthy winner of this inaugural event securing €500 first prize for his owner, well done Alan.
Carlow Pigeon Supplies, Champion Young Bird 2020. Bred and Raced by, Alan o Neill. Tullow, Co Carlow.
In second place with a total of 92 points was Bogdan Stroe of the Carlow & Dist club,
3rd with a total of 83 points and also from the Carlow & Dist club was Shane Stronge, a great club performance from the members of the oldest club in the town.
While I’m at it I will enclose a couple of photos of Carlow Pigeon Supplies, PJ provides a good selection of pigeon food & accessories, and deserves to be supported, especially by those fanciers that benefit from his organisation of the above events, which is all of us.
Products available in Carlow Pigeon Supplies.
If allowed I will also include a few bits about my other endeavours, which include trying to reintroduce some partridge in our area, they have been absent now for a number of years, I’m lucky that I have the backing of some of the farmers in our area who own quite a lot of land which is ideal for partridges, some of the fields are up to 120 acres in size and used to hold a lot of hares and other wildlife, however with over coursing and the proliferation of Buzzards in Ireland, its seldom we see any hares now. I’m hoping I’m not fighting a loosing battle against the buzzards in my attempts to reintroduce the partridge.
Another improvement I’ve noticed in the last couple of years is the amount and quality of the photos of racing pigeons that are available now in Ireland, Eddy Barry in Dublin and closer to home Thomas Hore in Wexford are turning out some beautiful photos of peoples champions and favourite birds, be it stock or racing birds, the last time I had some photos taken I had to bring my birds to the Blackpool show to have them photographed, and although I was delighted with the way they turned out, there is no doubt that if I need any more photos taken, I will be keeping my business local.
I am also wondering if the same shop local ideals are going to apply to the purchase of pigeons, over the years and particularly the last few, an awful lot of pigeons have been imported into this country, so much so that we have eventually started to export some of the quality birds that are being bred here, maybe if there was a slow-down in imports it might give the birds that are already in this country a chance to prove themselves under the conditions that we fly under, some people state that we should not stand still, however, I’m not sure that the constant introduction of new bloodlines is as important as people make out.
Bloodlines that go back 45 years, to McCabes of Newry. a Thurso Winner in 2012 for Billy Brooks, of Carlow. nearly 14 Hrs on the wing.
Thomas Moores Thurso National Winner 1972. Bred from Joe Magner, Drogheda x Alfie Gregg, Dromore pigeons that had previously proved themselves from Nantes. 45th & 46th Open.
Before this all started Irish pigeons were quite capable of flying over five hundred miles, both north and south, but with all the introductions over the years and the dilution of the old established bloodlines, particularly of north road pigeons, it is now nearly impossible to find consistent long distance pigeons.
Mr & Mrs Frank Archbold, were clocking the old Barr Bros, Ballymena pigeons, from Frazerburgh, Thurso and Lerwick regularly, back as far as 1974 and are still racing today.
The Lerwick Hen - Record holder into Carlow for Mr & Mrs F Archbold, 534 miles from Lerwick on the day, 4th Open INRNFC.
Anyway that will do for now, here’s hoping that everyone can stay safe in these strange times and that we will get racing this year.