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Willie Blair of Ballymoney, Ireland
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Willie Blair on the left, pictured with Jimmy Greer, holding the birds that won 1st & 2nd Open INFC Kings Cup Messac in 2004


Willie Blair on the left, pictured with Jimmy Greer, holding the birds that won 1st & 2nd Open INFC Kings Cup Messac in 2004 Willie Blair on the left, pictured with Jimmy Greer, holding the birds that won 1st & 2nd Open INFC Kings Cup Messac in 2004

Another fancier who comes to mind for this series, a fellow Irishman from the town of Ballymoney is that of Willie Blair. Willie raced for years with much success into the little town in County Antrim in the north of the island. So much so that his name and image came to mind over the years as one perused the weekly results in the old reliable Ireland's Saturday Night newspaper.

The origins of the Blair pigeons according to certain sources were the old Irish Neill and Locke strains. The latter fanciers were considered greats of the Irish pigeon fancy and their records are second to none in the minds of the older members of that fancy. Apparently Blair had raced the Neill strain for decades while his Locke stock derived from the great Alfie Greenwood of Cullybackey, an outstanding pigeon breeder and racer. Fanciers who were certain to become world wide in reputation if they were racing today especially with the modern media of communication in vogue. But because of the geographical reality of the island of Ireland and the inferior communication arising from that isolation those earlier greats were parochialised.

It was no surprise to see under the name of Willie Blair in the pigeon and sporting press 1st, 7th, 8th club, 3rd Section, 12th Open in the NIPA races from Britain such as Bude or Okehampton (Cornwall); or 1st, and 7th club, 6th Section from Penzance on the larger island, crossing the Bristol Channel and the Irish Sea on their flight. Or including another water obstacle the English Channel from Dinard (France) 2nd club, 3rd Section, 12th Open; Le Sables 1st club, 25th Section, 30th Open. A small example taken at random of Blair's many successes.

Apparently a very modest person there is no doubt that he was one of the best flyers of the racing pigeon into Ireland and deserves this brief tribute. I should add that the Blair pigeons won the prestigious French Diploma for the best average from the Old Bird Derby and Irish National. This was in 1981 and to cap it all Willie, that year, also became the Irish Fancier of the Year.Yes, a fine fancier and a gentleman!



Liam O Comain  -
by: Liam O Comain

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