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Dan Kenneally - The Irish Record Holder
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I would bet if I was a betting man that there are not many fanciers even in Ireland who would know about the subject of this piece yet apparently he is the Irish distance record holder at 640 miles from Lerwick (North Road Racing) to the City of Cork. This magnificent achievement took place in 1961 and although Anthony McDonnell's (Coleraine, County Derry,) Bann King won and set the record in The Irish National Flying Club's National from Les Sables (France) in 1963 Kenneally's flight is still the greatest piece of endurance in Irish pigeon racing history. Of course this is not a slight on the win of Bann King whom I have an everlasting respect for. In fact when I compare the win of McDonnell's champion with other winners of the Irish South Road National they fade in comparison to the great Bann King. For as it is well known I am a great believer in the belief that to win into the north west of Ireland (and in this case the extreme south of Ireland) outstretches by far those however worthy winners from elsewhere.

From 1930 Dan Kenneally was a pioneer in the long distance flights into the south of the island. Thus when a decision was made to organize a race from Lerwick Kenneally was one of the first who made a decision to participate. As a result his courageous blue checker hen arrived on the 3rd day to finish 3rd National, beaten by two birds flying approximately 150 miles less. Of course what would one expect from a fancier who brought a natural scientific approach to management. For example Kenneally fed his birds according to their weight. That is he varied the food to put on or take off weight. Interestingly the Lerwick Hen weighed fifteen and a half ounces departing for the race and upon her return weighed eight ounces. Being 8 days in the basket and 2 days on the flight home.What a difficult flight she must have had and indeed a courageous example of love of home, etc,.

Dan Kenneally always remembered pigeons as part of his life for when there were not many clocks about in private hands he remembers acting as a runner for his uncle. In 1924 however he started on his own with stock from a Rev. J. H. McKenzie, whose Shearing- Logans were to be his base. He always flew a consistent bird, for example, Thurso (504 miles) 5 sent, three timed; 4 sent, 3 timed. Another interesting aspect of his management was the fact that in an age with heavy emphasis upon high protein he always fed about three quarters maize A forerunner of the continental revolution in pigeon feeding, perhaps.

I found my research into this subject quite interesting for I vaguely remember across the decades of time hearing about the record setting event when in a conversation with Harry Hunter of the Limavady RPS he brought it to my notice shortly after it took place. Until now it had removed itself from my memory. However I am glad to present this tribute to an outstanding fancier and of course to the great Lerwick Hen.


Liam O Comain  -
by: Liam O Comain

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