THE PRESIDENT of Ireland Michael D Higgins has paid tribute to musician and scholar Dr Mick Moloney after the announcement of his passing, aged 77.
Born in Limerick, Moloney was a member of the folk group The Johnstons, and had been honoured by the US government with a National Heritage Award and by the Irish Government for his services to music.
He began playing tenor banjo at 16 years of age and as a teenager he listened to American folksingers and especially enjoyed the music of the Weavers and Burl Ives.
He moved to the USA in 1973 and combined his careers of professional music, teaching and advocacy.
With a Ph.D. in folklore and folklife from the University of Pennsylvania, he taught ethnomusicology, folklore and Irish studies courses at the University of Pennsylvania, Georgetown University and Villanova University and was a Global Distinguished Professor at New York University in the Irish Studies Program and the Music Department. In 2008, he won the Golden Dozen Award for teaching excellence at NYU.
"Dr. Moloney was an admired Global Distinguished Professor at Glucksman Ireland House, New York University, as part of their Irish Studies Programme and Music Department," the president said.
"His passing is a loss to the musical heritage of Ireland, to Irish America and to Irish music worldwide."
He spoke about how he was pleased to present Dr Moloney with a Presidential Distinguished Service Award for his exceptional contribution as a folklorist, musician and scholar in 2013.
"Mick made his love of music an integral part of his life’s work and his generosity of spirit in sharing his talents and passion for Irish music and culture will live on as part of his deep legacy.
"Sabina joins with me in sending our deep condolences to his family, friends, fellow lovers of music and his students at this sad time.
"Suaimhneas síoraí dá anam," the president finished.