RIP Paddy Moloney (1938-2021)

14th October 2021 · 2021, Music

I only had the one encounter with Paddy Moloney, the late leader of The Chieftains. It was in Japan.

They were performing at a music festival in the country’s Sixth-century capital of Nara, alongside Bob Dylan, Bon Jovi, Joni Mitchell and INXS, and I was there for a week in 1993.

The Great Music Experience was staged at a spectacular Buddhist shrine (the world’s largest Buddha, I recall) in a deer park, but we were staying an hour or so away in Osaka.

After we had been there for a day or two Paddy announced delightedly that he had found an Irish bar in the centre of Osaka and arranged to meet us there that very evening.

We had the address written down on a scrap of paper but the taxi driver, whose English was rudimentary, seemed to be saying that street namers are not displayed in Japan as he drove around amid throngs of revellers.

Eventually he dropped us off at what looked like an office block about 25 storeys high. He insisted this was the right place, so we entered the lobby apprehensivley and got into a lift to one of the upper floors.

As we got out, we were sure it must be the wrong address. We were in a long corridor with what looked like office doors stretching as far as the eye could see, and we had not seen a single person since we got into the building.

Eventually we found a door with a number that corresponded to the address we had been given. There was not a sound to be heard from inside.

It did not look like an Irish pub but somebody gingerly turned the handle and opened the door a crack to peer inside. Immediately there was a blast of traditional Irish music, the sound of laughter and clinking glasses, and a cloud of cigarette smoke within.

We were warmly welcomed inside and there, with a drink in his hand and a broad grin on his impish face, was Paddy himself, surrounded by others drinking pints of Guinness.
“How’re ye, lads!” he said as a welcome. “No trouble finding us?”

RIP Paddy Moloney