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'great pal' Finbar Furey first met Chieftains star Paddy Moloney while busking on a train

"I first met Paddy when I was only 13 or 14, and I was with my father and busking on a train at the time."

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Finbar Furey. Photo: David Conachy. 19/01/2017

Finbar Furey. Photo: David Conachy. 19/01/2017

Finbar Furey. Photo: David Conachy. 19/01/2017

IRISH folk and trad music legend Finbar Furey today recalls his lifetime friendship with Paddy Moloney - and says The Chieftain's legacy will be carried on by a bright and passionate new generation.

Sweet Sixteen singer Furey also reveals that he first met Moloney while busking on a train as a teenager - and their friendship was cemented when Paddy gave him "a ten bob tip."

In an exclusive interview with the Sunday World, Finbar recalls that one of the highlights of his career was playing the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City with The Chieftains during the 1994 Fifa World Cup in America.

"Ireland were doing great in the World Cup at the time. I was with The Furey Brothers & Davey Arthur and we were brought over to America to do a big gig with The Chieftains at the Taj Mahal (hotel and casino) in Atlantic City to tie in with the World Cup," Finbar remembers.

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Paddy Moloney

Paddy Moloney

Paddy Moloney

"I think there were 5,000 people at the gig that night. We went on first, myself and the brothers and Davey Arthur. We had a great set, and then Paddy and The Chieftains came on and blew the place apart.

"When The Chieftains were finishing up they brought us on stage, we had our instruments ready, so we sat down and had a right bash the whole lot of us together. I always remember going up in the lift afterwards with Sean Keane and Paddy, the three of us in the lift with the pipes, and we were killing ourselves laughing at the session we'd just had on the stage.

"But that was only the start of the night, as the instruments only really came out then and we had a session until all hours.

"It was a great few days with Paddy and the rest of the guys. We couldn't have been in a better place as there were televisions everywhere and we were watching Ireland playing in the World Cup, and it was a great time."

Remembering his initial encounter with Moloney, Finbar says: "I first met Paddy when I was only 13 or 14, and I was with my father and busking on a train at the time. We were on our way up to a football match in Boyle to do a bit of busking at the match.

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Paddy Moloney (Niall Carson/PA)

Paddy Moloney (Niall Carson/PA)

Paddy Moloney (Niall Carson/PA)

"Paddy was sitting in one of the carriages on the train, and he gave me a ten bob tip. Then we sat with Paddy. He was a wonderful man and he became a great pal of mine. I loved him very much.

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"Paddy was such a great ambassador for Irish culture. He put it out there into the four corners of the world with The Chieftains. They played places like China and Malaysia where Irish music had never been heard.

"Paddy was amazing. He had a great head, great brain on him that he could introduce Irish music to people from other cultures and get somebody to play their culture with him.

"Paddy was a fine arranger of music and all the different bands he worked with loved him."

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Paddy Moloney's funeral at St. Kevins Church and Cemetary in Glendalough.

Paddy Moloney's funeral at St. Kevins Church and Cemetary in Glendalough.

Paddy Moloney's funeral at St. Kevins Church and Cemetary in Glendalough.

Finbar also paid tribute to Tony McMahon, another giant of trad music who died recently.

"I had many a tune with Tony and his brother, Brendan, down the years when I lived in Dunmore East, Waterford."

Finbar said the legacy of Moloney and McMahon will live on through modern day players.

"Irish music is in great hands now at the moment with the young kids out there," Finbar says. "It was our time and now we have to hand this music over to the young kids and let them take it…and by the way, no better kids.

"The Irish kids playing music at the moment are unbelievable. I'm listening to young kids play the pipes, both boys and girls, and I've never heard anything like them. So Irish traditional music is in great hands with the new generation."

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