The leader and founder of The Chieftains, six-time Grammy-winners and the world’s most popular Irish traditional music group, grew up in Donnycarney, Co. Dublin and inherited his love of music from his parents. His first instrument was a plastic tin whistle. He later graduated to the uilleann pipes learning to play from the great pipe master Leo Rowsome. The Chieftains will tour exclusively in the U.S. in 2011. In the near future Paddy will link up for a whistle and flute duet with astronaut Cady Coleman who took one of Paddy’s whistles with her to the International Space Station.
Your earliest memory. Well, that’s a long time ago but I remember my parents packing a suitcase to travel to my grandparents’ home in County Louth for Christmas. I recall my mother packing an old worn brown suitcase and one thing she put inside the case was a square of ‘Jelly’ from Dublin. I was in the back seat with the suitcase at my feet and after we arrived, my grandmother remarked that a mouse must have gotten into the suitcase and eaten some of the Jelly. Of course I overheard this and knew I was the mouse, but I never admitted to it.
Your perfect day. Lunch with my grandchildren in Annamoe, in the Wicklow mountains.
Your favorite extravagance. A bottle of Lynch Bages red wine (old).
Your prized possession. Tin whistle that went into space and is currently at the International Space Station.
Your idea of happiness. A bottle of Lynch Bages red wine (old).
What’s on your bedside table? A book by Shirley MacLaine. In this particular book Shirley mentions some of her experiences surrounding Peter Sellers’ death. I also had a remarkable episode that surrounded Peter Sellers’ death. I never seem to finish a book, but a few pages is an ideal match for my morning cup of tea.
Hidden talent. I love to answer birds and the birds seem to enjoy when I repeat their songs. After a time they tend to fly off in frustration.
Movie that you will watch again and again. The Godfather.
Your favorite quality in friends Those who don’t discuss music.
Your motto. Nil aon tintean mar do htintean fein (basic translation – there’s no place like home).
Best opening line in a book or piece of music. Mozart’s horn concerto.
If you weren’t doing what you are doing what would you do? I originally thought about accounting, but I really love being in the garden.
Favorite painter. Scotsman John Bellany.
Favorite composer. Mozart.
Favorite hero in real life. My wife Rita who is a hero for putting up with me.
Your present state of mind. Calm.
What question do you wish someone would ask you? When are you going to retire?
Three million people in the world are descended from one Irish High King