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Obituary - Canon Patrick Doherty


I WAS so very sorry to hear of the passing of Canon Patrick Doherty who died peacefully at his home in Killarney on the 21st July at ninety years of age.

He was one of the most important people in the great work that was done in Ireland in the 1970s/80s to preserve the Irish Red & White Setter from extinction. But more than this, he was a lovely man: a friend to everyone who owned one of this breed, or who wanted to learn more about them - each summer there was a constant stream of old and new friends who went to visit and talk about dogs and people and all were made very welcome.

He grew up in Inch on the West coast of Ireland and entered the seminary as a very young man, being ordained when he was 23. His parish work brought him to England, where he lived for some time in Lancashire and during these years he developed his interest in rough shooting and owning Irish Setters of working lines.

He was fluent in Gaelic and loved Irish history and it was not surprising that he eventually became so interested in what was a true Irish dog. In the early seventies there was rising interest in preserving the old Irish breeds and it had been noticed that the occasional Setter litters bred by the Canon often had a lot of white patches and he was asked if he would help in the efforts to reproduce the old red & white dogs which were in danger of being lost forever. This he gladly did and bred several of the early litters. He owned the first two champions made up in Ireland. These were Ch Meudon Blaze and Mounteagle Belle.

From the dogs he bred in this period all of our current lines are descended and of course are now spread around the world.

I have many happy memories, as others will also have, of wonderful parties at his home in Rathmore during the week of the Irish Show circuit. Everyone who was there with an IRWS was very welcome. He was devoted to the breed and counselled us all to preserve the working qualities and beautiful colours of the dogs which made them so precious to him and to us. Even in his last years the visitors were still coming regularly to take the opportunity to learn from him and enjoy his company.

He will be very much missed by many people. The breed owes him a great deal and we will not forget him.

Pat Brigden


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