Chieftains founder Paddy Moloney laid to rest

Paddy Moloney.

Founding member of The Chieftains Paddy Moloney died last week and his funeral took place on Friday 15 October.

From Donnycarney in Dublin, Moloney was born in 1938 and grew up in a musical family.

A piper, tin whistle player and composer, he formed The Chieftains in 1962 and led the band to international recognition, including six Grammy awards.

The big names Moloney collaborated with over the years included The Who’s Roger Daltrey, tenor Luciano Pavarotti, Paul McCartney, Dolly Parton and Stevie Wonder.

He died suddenly on Tuesday 12 October at the age of 83.

President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins consoles Rita Moloney, after the funeral of her late husband Paddy Moloney at St Kevins Church in Glendalough, Co. Wicklow.

President Michael D Higgins led the tributes saying: “Paddy, with his extraordinary skills as an instrumentalist, notably the uileann pipes and bodhrán, was at the forefront of the renaissance of interest in Irish music, bringing a greater appreciation of Irish music and culture internationally.

“He brought a love of Irish music not just to the diaspora, but to all those across the world who heard his music and appreciated it for its own sake as it transcended all musical boundaries.

“His legacy will remain with us in the music which he created and brought to the world.”

Taoiseach Micheál Martin thanked Mr Moloney for his “massive contribution to the life of our nation”.

He said: “The term ‘legend’ is regularly overused, but it’s hard to think of any other way to describe this giant of Irish music and culture.”

Irish Tourism Minister Catherine Martin said Moloney’s music was “a source of pride and inspiration for all of us”.

She said: “With the passing of Paddy Moloney, we have lost a giant of the national cultural landscape.

“Through the Chieftains, he brought the joy of Irish music to a global audience. His music was a source of celebration and pride for all of us.”

The musicians to pay tribute to Moloney included Mick Jagger, Van Morrison, ballad singer Frances Black and Imelda May.

Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger wrote: “Sad to hear of Paddy Moloney’s passing – the greatest uilleann piper on the planet.”

Grammy award winning singer-songwriter Van Morrison tweeted: “So sorry to hear of the passing of fellow Irish Musician Paddy Maloney.

“He was a great musical talent, we shared many laughs together and his legacy will endure.”

Singer Imelda May said Mr Moloney “made us all so proud of our heritage and brought such joyous energy.

“He was ours, wasn’t he? I’m honoured to have known and worked with not just a legend but a thoroughly lovely man.”

“The mechanics of the music disappeared and my heart went into it. I got the shivers up my back.”

Singer-songwriter Colum Sands said: “He was such a huge influence in Irish music in giving it international confidence.”

Irish musician Frances Black posted on social media that she was “deeply saddened to hear of the passing of the Great Paddy Moloney”.

“What a lovely talented gentle man. We’ll miss his wonderful playing always, Sleep well Paddy,” she said.

Paddy’s funeral was held at St Kevin’s Church in Glendalough, Co Wicklow, but the ceremony was also livestreamed to fans worldwide online.

At Friday’s service Paddy’s son Aonghus told mourners that Paddy’s life “faded” when he could no longer play music to audiences.

Aonghus, said: “Our dad loved doing what he did. In March last year, Covid brought about abandoned and then cancelled tours.

“For the first time in 70 years, Paddy Moloney couldn’t play music to an audience. Paddy died last Tuesday, but with the thing he loved most taken away from him, Paddy’s life faded from last March.

“Paddy’s life was The Chieftains. Music was his life. He lived for that moment when he would walk out on the stage and say, I’m Paddy Moloney from Dublin, Ireland, the greatest city in the world’.

“He never went anywhere without his ‘win thistle’ as he called it and always let his music do his talking.”

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