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On the fly 'Cheeky' racing pigeon 'Lady Ann' hitches ride home to Ireland on trawler

'Lady Ann' flew off course during a race from France due to bad weather

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'Lady Ann' in the wheelhouse of the Alannah Reilly fishing trawler 180 miles off the west coast of Ireland

'Lady Ann' in the wheelhouse of the Alannah Reilly fishing trawler 180 miles off the west coast of Ireland

'Lady Ann' in the wheelhouse of the Alannah Reilly fishing trawler 180 miles off the west coast of Ireland

A racing pigeon who got lost flying home from France and landed on a fishing trawler in the Atlantic ocean has been returned to her owner.

The owner of 'Lady Ann' thought she had been lost forever when bad weather made her fly off course during a 405 mile race from France to her home in Drogheda, Co Louth.

However, the pigeon landed on a trawler fishing for prawns 180 miles off the west coast of Ireland and stayed with the crew for two weeks.

Skipper of the 'Alannah Reilly' boat, Patrick Diver, said the crew grew very attached to the pigeon and hoped she would stay with the boat until their return to Ireland where they could make sure she got home safely.


Donegal native Mr Diver described Lady Ann as "very cheeky".

"We are based out of Castletownbere and there were nine of us out on a 26-day fishing trip for prawns, about 180 miles from the coast," he said.

"The pigeon landed on the boat and was quite cheeky in that she'd make her way inside the wheelhouse anytime she'd see the door open.

"We grew very attached to her and just wanted to make sure she got home.

"I've a friend, Steve O'Dea in Gweedore, who races pigeons so I got in touch with him to see if we could find the owner from the pigeon's leg tags.

"If we could hold onto the pigeon and she didn't fly off in those two weeks she was with us, we said we would do everything to get her home.

"So when we landed back in Cork, I drove home to Gweedore with the pigeon where Steve checked the tags and got in contact with another pigeon racer, Graham Reilly in Ardee, who contacted his owner Jack Reilly.

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Lady Ann reunited with her owner Jack Reilly in Drogheda after hitching a ride with a boat 180 miles off the west coast of Ireland

Lady Ann reunited with her owner Jack Reilly in Drogheda after hitching a ride with a boat 180 miles off the west coast of Ireland

Lady Ann reunited with her owner Jack Reilly in Drogheda after hitching a ride with a boat 180 miles off the west coast of Ireland

Mr Reilly told LMFM's Late Lunch that Lady Ann was doing great and he hoped she would be racing again soon.

"Lady Ann has raced seven times this year and has put in great performances," he said.

"She has about 1,334 miles under her belt at this stage and always landed home safely apart from this time - when she got a lift.

"She was let out in Saint-Malo in Brittany at 11am on June 27, on a day when there wasn't great visibility across the English Channel.

"The journey from France should've taken up to 10 hours so I knew something was wrong when she hadn't returned by that evening.

"She missed Ireland, flew to South England and kept going but missed Wexford.

"She eventually spotted a trawler to land on and the skipper and crew, to whom I extend my huge gratitude.

"I was delighted to get her back and she will race again, but I'll ease her in slowly."

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