TRADITIONAL Irish musician Paddy Moloney has been honoured with Mexico's highest cultural award.
At a ceremony to mark the tribute, The Chieftains' founder hinted that Hollywood A-lister Liam Neeson is sizing up a new freedom-fighter film role.
Moloney said his Oscar-winning friend wants to play the part of a legendary Irish-Mexican army commander who fought US invasions in the 19th century.
The musician made the claim as he was honoured with Mexico's Ohtli award at the country's embassy in Dublin for his work promoting the country's culture and historical ties to Ireland.
His love of Mexico was sparked in the late-1980s when he discovered Irish involvement in the war against the US.
"I came across this intriguing, fascinating untold piece of history called the St Patrick's Battalion ... the Irish soldiers who joined forces with the Mexican side during the Mexican-American War of 1846 to 1848," Moloney said.
Inspired by the international links, he went on to record the album San Patricio in 2010.
He collaborated with a number of artists on the record, including Neeson who declared an interest in playing army commander John Riley, leader of St Patrick's Battalion.
"I've known Liam for years, it goes back a long way. I thought his voice was just spot on for this. I called him up and told him the story and he was fascinated by it," Moloney said.
"The comment from him was 'If you make a movie of this, I want to be John Riley, the commander'."
Mexico's Ohtli award was originally bestowed for contributions to the empowerment of Mexican-American communities in the US. Ohtli, meaning "path" in the Nahuatl language, is now given to a civilian outside Mexico for promoting the country's culture.
Two Irish academics were given the award last year.
- Joe Lawrence
The Chieftans’ founder Paddy Maloney honoured with Mexico’s highest cultural award - Music, Entertainment - Herald.ie