Patrick ‘Paddy’ Reilly, Irish folk singer and guitarist, is born in Rathcoole, County Dublin, on October 18, 1939. He is one of Ireland’s most famous balladeers and is best known for his renditions of “The Fields of Athenry,” “Rose of Allendale,” and “The Town I Loved So Well.”
Reilly has two sisters, Jean and Linda. Linda sadly dies at the young age of 26, when he is still a teenager. His father works in the Swiftbrook Papermills, the main employer for the area, and whose claim to fame is to have produced the paper on which the 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic was printed. His mother is a homemaker and both are fond of a singsong, especially at house parties.
Reilly releases his version of “The Fields of Athenry” as a single in 1983. It is the most successful rendition of this song, remaining in the Irish charts for 72 weeks.
For years a solo performer, Reilly joins The Dubliners in 1996 as a replacement for long-time member Ronnie Drew who had left the group to embark on a solo career. He leaves the group in 2005 and is replaced by Patsy Watchorn. He then moves to New York City where he owns a number of pubs, including Paddy Reilly’s on 29th Street and 2nd Avenue. After living in New York for several years, he returns to Ireland.