Paddy Moloney lived for music, mourners at his funeral were told.
The president of Ireland Michael D Higgins attended the funeral mass at St Kevin’s Church in Glendalough, Co Wicklow, for the founder of The Chieftains.
The Dublin musician, who played a key role in the revival of traditional Irish folk music, died this week aged 83.
Other members of The Chieftains attended the funeral along with Moloney’s widow Rita, his children Aonghus, Aedin and Padraig, and his grandchildren.
Fr Eamonn Crosson told mourners that Moloney had admirers all over the world and that his music would live on.
His son Aonghus told the service that his father had played for the Pope as well as opening for The Rolling Stones.
He said: “A special thanks to The Chieftains. Paddy would always have wanted it that they would have the final note.
“Paddy’s life was The Chieftains. Music was his life. He lived for that moment when he would walk out onto that stage and say: ‘I’m Paddy Moloney from Dublin, Ireland, the greatest city in the world.’
“He always let his music do the talking.
“Above all, Paddy was devoted to Rita. There was a 60 years-plus love affair.
“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. When the thing he loved most was taken away from him, Paddy’s life faded from last March.”
During the funeral a set of uilleann pipes and a tin whistle were brought to the altar, and a photograph of a young Moloney was placed on his coffin.
Moloney founded The Chieftains in 1962 and led the band to international recognition, including six Grammy awards.
Originally from Donnycarney in north Dublin, Moloney was the band’s main composer and played a variety of instruments, including the uilleann pipes, tin whistle and bodhran drum.
Tributes to Moloney have been paid from all over the world.
Mick Jagger tweeted: “Sad to hear of Paddy Moloney’s passing – the greatest uilleann piper on the planet.”
President Higgins said this week that he was an “extraordinary” musician.
“Paddy, with his extraordinary skills as an instrumentalist, notably the uilleann pipes and bodhran, was at the forefront of the renaissance of interest in Irish music, bringing a greater appreciation of Irish music and culture internationally.
“His legacy will remain with us in the music which he created and brought to the world.”