In the ages past, the musician was and still is, a prominent figure in Irish society; whether he be a harpist, a fiddler or a multi-instrumentalist musician like Paddy Moloney, they all took their places in society, including the royal households of the Irish nobility. Centuries ago they called them minstrels.
It is a widely accepted fact that the traditions of music and storytelling in Ireland are among the most original and earliest forms of communication in Europe. The one thing that has always united the many differing factions in Ireland is our love of and deep respect for music. Music unites, gladdens and crosses all of the invisible barriers; it knows no boundaries, borders or walls and is color blind and deaf to prejudice of all stripes. It transcends politics, war, fear, hatred, sectarianism and the many other ‘isms’ that attempt to divide humanity. The Irish connection with music started, with a race of people who inhabited Ireland in the ages past named the ‘Tuatha De Danann’ and who bequeathed us with the gift of poetry and song.
Irish musician Paddy Moloney personified the traits of the minstrel perfectly and his mission was solely to unite all. He lived and breathed music and wanted only to fill the world with his deep sense of pride as an Irishman through his music. This he did beautifully and continues to bring that sense of pride, not only to his own people, but to the whole, wide world. Paddy did more to unite Ireland with his gift of music, a gift he passed down to all future generations, more than a thousand wars could ever do.
More so than many other cultures, who use their music for listening pleasure only, music is hardwired in the Irish synapses, it’s embedded deep in our DNA. It is as much a part of us as the color of our eyes or the sound of our voice and coupled with its sister art of storytelling, has accompanied us on the never-ending journey worldwide, on our singular mission of unity. Whether it be a harp slung over the shoulder, a fiddle tucked under an arm, or a set of pipes leading us into battle, wherever we go, our music and song goes too and Paddy Moloney continues to lead the way.
Thank you Paddy, we owe you more than we can ever repay.
The old adage describing Ireland as the “Land of Saints and Scholars’ should, in my opinion, be amended to read “Land of Saints, Scholars and Minstrels.”
© John A. Brennan 2022. All Rights Reserved.