Hello, thanks for dropping by. My name is Andrew Doherty. I publish this free-to-access blog on the last Friday of each month. In October 2017 I published my first book, Before the Tide Went Out. My second book Waterford Harbour Tides and Tales was published by the History Press in September 2020. My next book; The Prong, Curious Craft of the Three Sister Rivers will be published in 2024.
I was born in 1965 and I have lived in the Cheekpoint area all my life. My mother’s people were fisherfolk, my fathers were seafarers and although they were both from the village they met and courted in London. They returned in 1965 to Cheekpoint and were married. I’m the eldest of six and now the father of three.
When I completed my schooling in 1983 I turned to fishing, as seafaring was in decline. In the 1990’s restrictions and government policies started to impact on the fishing practices in traditional villages such as Cheekpoint, and at the same time that my first child was born, 1996, I started to seriously look at alternatives. In 2006 the principal fishery, salmon drift-netting closed. In 2008 I wrote a dissertation on the plight of my community as a consequence of the closure.
In 2012 I started writing a blog, as a means of gathering my thoughts, particularly on the social situation in my own community and specifically on government inaction on preserving or supporting traditional fishing communities to remain viable. My means of expression in the blog also reflected the values, ethos and practices that I had grown up with. No one seemed very interested in what I had to say, or perhaps how I was saying it. I wondered if rather than banging on about how bad our situation was, perhaps people might respond better to a different type of message.
Fishermen are born competitors and pulling together doesn’t always come naturally. But we can and do pull together at times; an example of what we have done in the community it this event as part of the Ireland Newfoundland exchange of 2005, filmed by my friend Brian Walsh of Hi lite TV.
Through my blog I now hope to create an awareness, appreciation and perhaps an appetite for the preservation of the way of life I have grown up with. I explain it and share some of my ideas and stories here. I also hope that in reading my thoughts, people might be encouraged to come visit with us here, and perhaps pay a small stipend towards seeing the area through a fisherman’s eye. In the last few years we have hosted many visitors and walking parties to learn about our community, the history, heritage, flora, fauna and wildlife. I can’t claim to be making any major inroads into reversing my communities fortunes, but I can say at least that I am trying to do something positive. Friends like Mark Power at Waterford Epic Locations certainly help.
I’m happiest researching and writing about our way of life and more fully understanding the history and heritage that surrounds us here. I love to get readers’ feedback, ideas for stories, or specific information they may have or come across about the harbour area. My blog is Waterford Harbour Tides & Tales and it’s published on the last Friday of each month.
Much of my work has been voluntary, but in 2023 I took a leap of faith and started to work full time on the project. I’ve completed a piece of research since on the John’s River for Waterford City & County Council and I have completed numerous walks, talks and other pieces of work. Its tough going, but in 2024 I will commence on the Heritage in Schools panel where I hope to be invited into national schools to guest present on traditional fisheries and maritime history.
I can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org