Pigeon Racing is being transformed by big money, surging interest from Asia and a bloodstock industry in Belgium. But where does the sport in Ireland feature in this world? We race with Dubliner John O'Brien towards the release of his pigeons. (2016)
In 2016, Dubliner John O’Brien emailed saying we should make a documentary about pigeon racing? We agreed. But we didn’t expect to find a world of Chinese businessmen, million dollar races and a champion pigeon named Bolt, racing the sport’s grassroots in Dublin.
In ‘Bolt and my Belgian Blue’ we follow John, a fast talking pigeon fancier, and a host of colourful Irish characters as they compete over the summer season.
We open the door on lofts in Clondalkin, discover new dimensions in Moore Street and follow the sport to Belgium, where student-like brokers do deals with Asian millionaires.
With perceptions shifting dramatically we race with John towards the release of his, and 9000 other pigeons on a pivotal morning at Pilmore Beach in Cork.
Where will his birds come? What conclusions lie in wait?
And has the race for the soul of pigeon racing already been run?
Produced and narrated by
John O’Brien, Salim Khan, Eugene Fitzgerald, Ian Somers, Mick Warner, Johnny Organ
Brendan Dunne, JJ, Donna and Robyn O’Brien
The Cinematic Orchestra - Arrival of the Birds & Transformation
First Broadcast Saturday 17th September at 2pm
Repeated Sunday 18th September at 7pm
An Irish radio documentary from RTÉ Radio 1, Ireland - Documentary on One - the home of Irish radio documentaries.