Cronin was born in Ré Buí near Gneeveguilla, County Kerry. He was taught fiddle by Padraig O'Keeffe. In 1949, Seamus Ennis recorded him on acetate disc for Radió Éireann. Later that year (1949), after making these recordings, he left Ireland and emigrated to Boston in the United states. During the 1950s, he continued to record, becoming very well known through the seven 78rpm discs he made for the Boston record label, Copley.
In the early 1970s he went on to record an LP, "Music In The Glen", for the Fleetwood label, followed by "The House In The Glen" for Talcon. 1n 1975, Paddy released The Rakish Paddy LP with Fiddler Records of Seattle, and in 1977 released Kerry's Own Paddy Cronin with Outlet records of Belfast.
In 2007, Cronin was awarded the prestigious Gradam Saoil, or Lifetime Achievement Award, by the Irish Gaelic-language television station TG4, in honour of his contribution to Irish Traditional Music over six decades.
- Hickey, Donal. "Traditional music mourns the loss of fiddle virtuoso Paddy Cronin, 88". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 2014-03-21.
- TG4 - Irish language television channel - Teilifis Gaeilge - Music - Gradam Ceol TG4
- Paddy Cronin; Kerry's Own (1977); Ceol Alainn