Paddy Moloney

Paddy Moloney (Irish: Pádraig Ó Maoldomhnaigh; born 1 August 1938) is an Irish musician, composer, and producer who is the founder and leader of the Irish musical group The Chieftains[1] and has played on every one of their albums.

Paddy Moloney
Background information
Born (1938-08-01) 1 August 1938
Donnycarney, Dublin, Ireland
GenresTraditional Irish music
Occupation(s)Musician, composer, producer
InstrumentsUilleann pipes, tin whistle, button accordion, bodhrán
Years activeEarly 1960s–present
LabelsWith The Chieftains: Claddagh Records, Shanachie Records, Mercury Records, RCA Victor, Hear Music
Associated actsCeoltóirí Chualann, The Chieftains

Early life

Paddy Moloney was born in Donnycarney, Dublin, Ireland. His mother bought him a tin whistle when he was six and he started to learn the Uilleann pipes at the age of eight.

Musical career

In addition to the tin whistle and the Uilleann pipes, Paddy Moloney also plays button accordion and bodhrán.

As a band musician

Ceoltóirí Chualann

In the late 1950s he met Seán Ó Riada and joined his group Ceoltóirí Chualann in the early 1960s.

The Chieftains

Along with Sean Potts and Michael Tubridy, Paddy Moloney formed the traditional Irish band The Chieftains in Dublin in November 1962. As the band leader, he is the primary composer and arranger of much of the Chieftains' music, and has composed for films including Treasure Island, The Grey Fox, Braveheart, Gangs of New York, and Kubrick's Barry Lyndon.

As a session musician

He has done session work for Mike Oldfield, The Muppets, Mick Jagger,[2] Paul McCartney, Sting, Don Henley, and Stevie Wonder.

As a producer

Together with Garech de Brún (anglicised to Garech Browne) of Luggala, he founded Claddagh Records in 1959. In 1968 he became a producer for the label and supervised the recording of 45 albums.

Personal life

He is married to artist Rita O'Reilly and has three children, Aonghus Moloney, Padraig Moloney, and actress producer Aedin Moloney. He is a fluent speaker of the Irish language.

Selected discography

  • Paddy Moloney and others - The Drones and Chanters: Irish Pipering (1971)
  • Paddy Moloney and Sean Potts - Tin Whistles (1974)
  • Silent Night: A Christmas in Rome (1998)
  • John Montague & Paddy Moloney - The Wild Dog Rose (2011)

Awards and honours

On 13 September 2012, Moloney received Mexico's Ohtli Award, the country's highest cultural award.[3][4]

On 4 August 2018 he was named a Commander of the Spanish Order of The Civil Merit.


  1. Hinckley, David (16 March 1997). "Beyond Tara's Halls The Nomadic Chieftains Fuel The Boom in Irish Music". The Daily News.
  2. Gary Moore"Celtic Champs Chieftains Take to the Road". Retrieved 2010-12-16.
  3. Lawrence, Joe (13 September 2012). "The Chieftains' Founder Paddy Maloney Honoured With Mexico's Highest Cultural Award". Irish Independent. Independent News & Media. Retrieved 13 September 2012.
  4. "Chieftain Founder Paddy Moloney Honoured by Mexican Govt". RTÉ News. RTÉ. 13 September 2012. Retrieved 13 September 2012.
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