John Doherty - Ar Leirg na Gaoithe

Image of John Doherty holding a fiddle with a young girl beside him.

Ciarán Ó Maonaigh and Eoghan Mac Giolla Bhríde have made a wonderful documentary film for TG4 on one of our County's most revered fiddle players.  John Doherty (1900 - 1980) is regarded as one of the greatest traditional musicians ever to come out of Ireland. He was a tinsmith by trade and a fiddle player by night. He travelled the whole of southwest Donegal, from Ballybofey to Fintown, to the Glen of Glenties, Ardara, Glencolmcille, Teelin, Dunkineely, etc. mending pots, pans and pandies by day and entertaining house dances by night.

This hour long film follows another great fiddler, Ciarán  Ó Maonaigh as he celebrates John’s life and music. Ciarán interviews Paddy Glackin, Dermot McLaughlin and Danny Meehan who share their memories of John and his music.  John developed a highly personal style of playing, which although very much Donegal in essence was also uniquely his.  He was the youngest of 9 children. The Dohertys' lifestyle was that of a travelling family moving from place to place doing tinsmiths work, playing music and camping or accepting local hospitality wherever they could, then moving on. When the children were young the family would travel as a group with a donkey and cart to carry their needs with them.  When John got older he travelled on his own carrying his belongings and his tinsmith tools with him. As seems unusual to us nowadays, this great fiddle player's belongings did not include a fiddle as almost every house in these parts had one. 

This beautiful film was made in its entirety in Donegal by Éabhlóid, and it includes a huge amount of never before seen archive of Donegal in the 40's and 50's in full HD!