The Poetry of Alex Doherty

Alex DohertyAlex Doherty was one of the old school of journalists. He wrote a weekly column about life in Rosses Point for the Sligo Champion. No event was too small for Alex to cover no person to unimportant to deserve a mention.

During the 1970's and 80's he documented the minutiae of village life; births and deaths, marriages, the coming and goings of ships and sailors, summer visitors and winter winds, and he never had a bad word to say about anybody.

Alex Doherty was born in Legnthraw, County Donegal, on February 23rd, 1900. The greater part of his life was spent in Rosses Point, a village he adopted as his own.

He wrote under the nom de plume Watchman, and his column Through the Lens was eagerly awaited by Rosses Point people around the world. I bought my copy of the Champion on Friday morning at the Archway Tube Station in North London. Others read his words in New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Sydney and everywhere that the wild geese gathered to raise a jar.

His reports from the village were always prefaced by some homespun philosophy in the form of a poem. He later described it as: Original thinking over a long number of years for your Reading, Entertainment and Study, applicable to Youth and Age.

And when I returned to the Point exhausted from my travels abroad as a television producer we would sit at the Stanley Range in Alex's kitchen overlooking the Greenlands and put the world to rights over a bottle of beer or a dram of whiskey.

In 1981, at the age of 81, Alex Doherty's thoughts and visions found themselves in print again. He dedicated his book Through the Lens to: My wife Mary, My Guide and Inspiration for over Sixty Years.

Through the Lens had a limited circulation and copies are difficult to find, but I often told him during our conversations that his words and thoughts deserved wider circulation.Click on the image to enlarge

Alex and Mary Doherty have been dead for many years now, but his photograph still hangs on the wall in Mary Hackett's bar.

Now, I live in his cottage overlooking the Greenlands where WB Yeats wrote The Stolen Child. Writers and journalists still sit around the Stanley Range in a very different world.

But the new technology of this new world has meant I can fulfill one promise to Alex and bring his lifetime's work to a far bigger audience than he ever could have imagined.

Kieran Devaney,
Rosses Point,
County Sligo,
November, 1989

Through the Lens

Poems and Ballads