A pigeon from Banbridge has been jet-setting round Ireland, and may even come home with a new language.
On his way home from Cornwall, the bird was last week picked up by Portadown girl Jordan Currie who is currently living on Inis Meáin in the Aran Islands.
A recognised Gaeltacht, perhaps the island will have taught the northern bird some Irish while he’s away.
He was also spotted on neighbouring island Inis Mór before he found his way to Jordan - a real whistle stop tour. Being found by someone who is admittedly ‘terrified of birds’ maybe wouldn’t have seemed like the biggest stroke of luck but Jordan’s local knowledge helped to track down his owner.
“I noticed one of his tags had a phone number beginning with 028 which I recognised,” she said.
“As we were trying to read the number the bird kept walking away from us but he wouldn’t fly. We didn’t want to lift him as we presumed a wing was injured. After following this bird around on our hands and knees like two crazy people we finally got the whole number. Normally I wouldn’t have taken an interest but as it was from home on the island I thought it was worth a shot to ring the owner.”
Once pigeon fancier Brendan McGrath had been tracked down, Jordan learned the bird had stayed with a chef for a night on Inis Mór. Lucky not to have been served up with some spuds, the bird would make his own way home, Brendan hoped.
However, back on the island, he seemed to be enjoying his five star treatment.
“I left it in work overnight in a box with food and water as I was too scared to bring it home,” said Jordan. “The next day we brought it outside and it wouldn’t leave! We saw him flying around the island over the next few days.
“Some of the women in work think he recognised my northern accent and felt at home!”
Owner Brendan then sent a message to indicate he could get the bird collected but, already let free to try and find its own way north, the pigeon was out of the box.
“I didn’t see him yesterday so maybe he has ventured on home or to the next island, Inis Oirr,” said Jordan.
As of Sunday night, there was still no sign of the stray bird back at the coop in Banbridge. If you’re stopping off at any Irish landmarks this week, keep an eye out for the twittering tourist.