Paula Dowling from Castlecomer, Co Kilkenny, now living in Borris-in-Ossory, Co Laois, has been playing music since the age of four. She was taught by her father, Joe Dowling, and played as part of the family group of seven for many years. She had the opportunity to learn many instruments, but in later years chose to concentrate on flute, accordion and concertina.
Paula and her sister Karena were part of the original members of the Brú Ború group where she worked as a musician for eighteen months. It was here that she met her husband Francis McDonald, Irish step dancer and one of the founder members of the Moneen Céili Band from Roscrea.
Paula and her family have a long association with Spink Comhaltas.
She enjoys listening to her pupils playing in sessions, concerts and competitions where they have had great success particularly in solo and Ceíli Band competitions in Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann. One of her most memorable moments was when one of her bands became All-Ireland Champions in the 15-18 Céili Band competition. Paula has also coached U12 Céili Bands and U18 Grupa Cheoils to All-Ireland Fleadh finals.
Paula’s music has given her the opportunity to perform throughout Europe, America, Canada, and even as far away as Africa. She has appeared on many radio and TV shows – “Up for the Final”, “The Rich and Rare Land“, and “The Bibi Baskin Show“.
Paula now enjoys playing music with her own four children – Clióna, Éabha, Cian and Ailíse. They are the fifth generation of musicians in her family and love music just as much as she does.