by Joe Nevin
When I was 26 years of age I was working in Telecom Eireann. One rainy day I was
working in the Wicklow mountains. Myself and a workmate called Tom got talking about
wild birds and plants.
I decided to build a cage and get a pair of Zebra finches. Later on I also got two
pairs of Bengalese Finches after increasing the cages to 10ft by 2 ft. Over the next year I
bred about 50 birds.
I was at the pet shop one day and seen some budgerigars. As we say in the
hobby I became hooked and I decided to give up the finches. My first venture into
budgies was to visit an aviary in Rush owned by Mr. Donovan and I bought three pairs of
budgies. I divided the cages into three, but over the next six months the birds didn't go
into the nest boxes. The reason, I now know, I was living in an apartment and the
conditions were not great. Over the next couple of months I got rid of the budgies.
I then went to England and purchased three pairs of Cutthroat finches. I put them
in the three cages I had built. The three pairs, all had young but let them die. I realized I
was not giving them the right diet.
While this was going on I bought a site from Dun Laoghaire Corporation and built a
Early the following year I had my first aviary built. The size was 26 ft by 6 ft and the
flights were 20 ft by 20 ft containing a water pond and shrubs. I got a lot of native birds
and foreign finches, but at the back of my mind were show budgies. I released all the
native finches and one evening as I was reading the paper I read this add. It was a stud
of show budgies for sale in Malahide, it belonged to Paddy Hughes. I went out the next
evening and bought the lot.
I put down six pairs and bred three chicks. One of the birds was a light green pied
hen, a lovely bird but the ring on its foot was too tight. I decided to take a day’s holiday to
take the ring off. Bought a hack saw and spent a number of hours getting the ring off (If it
was today I would have it off in five seconds.). The three birds I bred were only for the pet
My first bird show was the South County Dublin Bird Show. It was held for many
years in Dun Laoghaire Town Hall. The man who won that day was Matt Roberts from the
Navan Road. I introduced myself and asked him had he any birds for sale. Matt said I
could have two pairs of budgies for £60, a lot of money at the time 40 years ago). Off I
went to visit Matt's aviary and saw the best birds I had ever seen. I bought a light green
cock, an opaline grey hen, a cinamon light green cock and grey green hen. I paired the
light green cock to the grey hen and the other two together.
Then I joined the Eire Budgerigar Society and that was my venture into Show
Budgies. The following year the E. B. S. held their show in the Polio Fellowship of Ireland at
Stillorgan, Co Dublin. I brought two of the chicks I bred from the grey green hen.
They were a grey green cock and a grey green hen. The grey green cock won the Best
Beginner Breeder and the grey green hen won Best Opposite Sex Breeder. That same day
Harry Harrison introduced himself to me and we have remained friends ever since.
I then started to make inquiries about getting some English Stock, but was unable
to get information as it was a closed shop. I went to England as a beginner and "Boy, was
I taken to the cleaners!" I got to know a man in Blackpool named Ron Easter and I got
some birds from him which I was happy with. The following year Harry Dixon, Brian Kelly (a
great expert of birds, but is no longer in the hobby), John Berkeley, who since has
emigrated to Australia, and myself. Harry Dixon bred a grey out of Ron's birds and the
following year Harry won Best Champion Breeder at Dublin B. S. Club Show (this Club has
since disappeared). I then stepped into Novice. Harry Harrison and myself had right
battles, but we have always had great respect for each other whoever won "Harry, when
are you returning for more battles?"
Then I went onto Intermediate Class. Harry bred a Lutino hen which in my opinion
was unlucky not to take Best Breeder at the B.S. Show. Harry won Best Intermediate, Best
Intermediate Breeder and Best Opposite Sex Breeder. The first E.B.S. member to win and
we were delighted for him.
Then I went on to Champion Breeder Section and I am very happy with what I
At the time I was after a Opaline grey that was wining a lot in England. I got it
after two years, I was over the moon, when three weeks later the bird died. That's the
The E.B.S. tried to have an event on in Ireland and it was going very well at the
time when the troubles in Northern Ireland got very bad and it fizzled out.
We then got members from North and South of Ireland to try and have a show for
all fanciers and it went well for about four years, and that also fizzled out, a great loss.
A tip to all fanciers: When you accept losing you enjoy your win much better.
At the same time an Englishman named Eddie Robinson came on the scene.
Unfortunately, through ill health Eddie had to give up the Hobby and without doubt Eddie
would have been one of the best breeders in the British Isles. I have enjoyed many years
of competition and friendship with Eddie. Up until this day Eddie would still phone and
come and visit my aviary and is as interested as ever and I look forward to Eddie's visits
and enjoy his company very much.
Terry Knott I would call my number one fancier. Terry has always filled every show
cage he has to support the Eire B. S. Annual Show.
When I became champion I started going to England more often. Firstly to Amos
Thurnwood, Arthur Bracey, Terry and Claire Pilington, Gordon and Sylvia Hallan, then Barry
Wild, Gerald Binks and Brian Byles who has become one of my best friends. There are
highs and lows in all hobbies. For me the lowest was when I paid big money for birds
which died shortly after returning home. The highest was when I won Best Spangle
Breeder in 1992 at the B. S. Club Show, Best Breeder 1993 and of course Best in Show at
Blackpool 1996. .
These days I enjoy the hobby as much as ever, but there is always room for
1. There should be a show for all fanciers North and South, e.g. Irish Budgerigar
2. There should be an annual diner for club members and presentation of awards.
3. There should be a show for new member only.
4. Beginners should take on Intermediate Champion on a points basis.
In more recent years a lot of my stock comes from Alan, Chris from the Huxley Marchant Stud and also from Richard Wayne John Bowker Stud. I am very satisfied with the chicks from these studs.
The Exhibition Budgerigar Socirty Ireland was set up by a group of Exhibition Budgerigar Breeders and is going from strength to strength. A number of months ago RTE invited Terry Knott and myself to give a talk on Exhibition Budgerigars, the name of the programme was Pet Island. The highlight for me is to compete at B.S. World Show every year held at Doncaster. This will be my 30th year visiting the show. (a treat for all Budgerigar Fanciers) and also 2011 when I was invited to judge B.S. World Show at Doncaster. It is a wonderful hobby of which myself and my wife Bernie have made many friends over the years.
One thing I also feel very strongly about is the encouragement of beginners. Any
newcomers are more than welcome to contact me at home or by phone at the number
given. As I have now retired I have more time to assist anybody that is considering taking
up this hobby.
I would like to thank my wife Bernie and my family who have supported me over the years.
Frawley & Flynn (FF1) - Darragh Frawley & Brian Flynn
The Frawley & Flynn Partnership was formed in Germany on a trip to a well known German breeder. When we arrived home we started actively working together to mix our lines and work as one. Brian had some fantastic blue series birds that always took preference in Brian's eye, his birds had better feather qualities and overall size and I had certain head features, depth of mask and spot that we both thought would complement each others birds with the end goal of bringing both birdrooms forward and gain consistency throughout both birdroom's.
As an Intermediate partnership we had our reasonable share of wins on the show bench. But the highlight was in the open show of 2014 which was by far the highlight of the formation of the partnership.
Sadly Brian was not with us for the highlight of our partnership but "FF1" will continue as Brian wanted!
Thank You for reading my profile.
Well 2015 is upon us and breeding season is in full swing, and the show season is about to start. This season is special for me because its a move into novice on the show bench for me and a challenge to come up to the the high standard of fellow novices. The standard of the show bird today is very high and ever changing, I would like to share some December late breds 2015 youngsters. Robbie Lawlor.