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Chieftains founder Paddy Moloney always looking for Celtic converts

Paddy Moloney, leader of the Chieftains - Ireland's most famous folk music group - has a home in Naples where he and his wife are staying between gigs. Pictured is the guest book from when Moloney received the National Arts Club's Medal of Honor. Lexey Swall/Staff

Photo by LEXEY SWALL

Paddy Moloney, leader of the Chieftains - Ireland's most famous folk music group - has a home in Naples where he and his wife are staying between gigs. Pictured is the guest book from when Moloney received the National Arts Club's Medal of Honor. Lexey Swall/Staff

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  • Paddy Moloney, leader of the Chieftains - Ireland's most famous folk music group - has a home in Naples where he and his wife are staying between gigs. Moloney has just received the National Arts Club's Medal of Honor. Lexey Swall/Staff
  • Paddy Moloney, leader of the Chieftains - Ireland's most famous folk music group - has a home in Naples where he and his wife are staying between gigs. Moloney has just received the National Arts Club's Medal of Honor. Lexey Swall/Staff
  • Copy photos show Irish-American astronaut Cady Coleman in space Paddy Moloney's pennywhistle and Matt Molloy's 100-year-old Irish flute. Paddy Moloney, leader of the Chieftains - Ireland's most famous folk music group - has a home in Naples where he and his wife are staying between gigs. Moloney has just received the National Arts Club's Medal of Honor. Lexey Swall/Staff
  • Paddy Moloney, leader of the Chieftains - Ireland's most famous folk music group - has a home in Naples where he and his wife are staying between gigs. Moloney has just received the National Arts Club's Medal of Honor. Lexey Swall/Staff
  • Copy photos show Irish-American astronaut Cady Coleman in space Paddy Moloney's pennywhistle and Matt Molloy's 100-year-old Irish flute. Paddy Moloney, leader of the Chieftains - Ireland's most famous folk music group - has a home in Naples where he and his wife are staying between gigs. Moloney has just received the National Arts Club's Medal of Honor. Lexey Swall/Staff
  • Paddy Moloney, leader of the Chieftains - Ireland's most famous folk music group - has a home in Naples where he and his wife are staying between gigs. Moloney has just received the National Arts Club's Medal of Honor. Lexey Swall/Staff
  • Paddy Moloney, leader of the Chieftains - Ireland's most famous folk music group - has a home in Naples where he and his wife are staying between gigs. Pictured is the guest book from when Moloney received the National Arts Club's Medal of Honor. Lexey Swall/Staff
  • Paddy Moloney, leader of the Chieftains - Ireland's most famous folk music group - has a home in Naples where he and his wife are staying between gigs. Moloney has just received the National Arts Club's Medal of Honor. Lexey Swall/Staff
  • Paddy Moloney, leader of the Chieftains - Ireland's most famous folk music group - has a home in Naples where he and his wife are staying between gigs. Moloney has just received the National Arts Club's Medal of Honor. Lexey Swall/Staff
  • Copy photos show Irish-American astronaut Cady Coleman in space Paddy Moloney's pennywhistle and Matt Molloy's 100-year-old Irish flute. Paddy Moloney, leader of the Chieftains - Ireland's most famous folk music group - has a home in Naples where he and his wife are staying between gigs. Moloney has just received the National Arts Club's Medal of Honor. Lexey Swall/Staff

Even after almost 50 years, the Chieftains’ music is still out of this world. Literally.

In December, NASA astronaut Cady Coleman took her place on the space station. Two instruments belonging to members of the acclaimed Irish folk music group went with her — the pennywhistle of Chieftains founder Paddy Moloney and the 100-year-old Irish flute of Chieftains flutist Matt Molloy.

Then, on St. Patrick’s Day, Coleman recorded a video of herself playing them.

Watching that video was incredible enough, says the 73-year-old Moloney, who lives in Naples part time with his wife, Rita. But then, Coleman also called Moloney on his cell phone from the space station to chat more about her performance.

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