Finbar Furey was born in Dublin in 1946 into a musical family.
His father, Ted Furey, a renowned tenor banjo and fiddle player, taught him to play the Uilleann pipes, which he excelled at, becoming a master piper, and winning All Ireland Medals and Feiseanna during his teenage years in the 1960s.
Finbar left Ireland in 1967 to tour with his brother Eddie, bringing Irish music, songs and stories all over the world.
In 1968, Finbar and Eddie joined ‘The Clancy Brothers’ and spent the next two years touring, performing and recording with them. Finbar and Eddie then went on to tour and perform as a duo.
Finbar’s playing was recognised by BBC’s John Peel in 1972, when he was awarded Single of The Year for the original sound of the pipes and the whistles on ‘Her Father Didn’t Like Me Anyway’ by Gerry Rafferty.
In 1976 Finbar and Eddie joined up with their younger brothers, Paul and George, and banjo player Davey Arthur recording and touring as ‘The Fureys and Davey Arthur’. As a band they achieved international success with songs such as 'The Green Fields of France’, ‘The Lonesome Boatman’ and ‘When You Were Sweet Sixteen’.
During this time Finbar designed a new whistle with Bernard Overton, producing the whistle, known as a 'low whistle', and now played in bands worldwide.
After nearly twenty years as ‘The Fureys’ front man, Finbar decided the time was right to pursue a solo career and follow his path as a singer songwriter.
Finbar embarked on his acting career with a role in Scorcese’s ‘Gangs of New York’ (2002). He appeared in the boxing film, 'Strength and Honour’ (2007) where he shared credits with Patrick Bergin, Vinnie Jones and Richard Chamberlain. In 2010 he had a main part in the award winning Scottish short film, ‘Paris/Sexy’, followed by a character role in the RTÉ series, ‘Love/Hate’ (2011). He appeared in ‘The Wild Goose Lodge’, (2016) for which he wrote the music.
In 2022, Finbar featured in the award winning film, ‘My Sailor, My Love’ directed by the Finnish film director Klaus Härö.
Finbar was honoured in 2015 to receive the accolade of the Lord Mayor's Award presented by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Christy Burke, and in 2022 he was proud to receive an honorary doctorate of literature from UCD.
His 2013 album, ‘Colours’, reached the top of the Irish Charts featuring Gerry Fleming's beautifully written ‘The Last Great Love Song'. In 2018 BMG released ‘Don’t Stop This Now’ CD & live DVD from Vicar St. followed by an Irish & UK Tour.
In 2020, Finbar released the single, ‘Blue Jewel in the Sky’, a track from his forthcoming new album, ‘Moments in Time’ due for release 29 September 2023, to coincide with his 77th birthday.
'Finbar Furey proves that he is not just a massive force in Irish music's heritage, he is a massive force in shaping it's future as well'.
- Shane MacGowan
‘Only someone as tough as Finbar Furey can sing songs this tender. Only someone who has lived all the lives Finbar Furey has lived, can stop us in the busy street of our own life and still us into focusing on one very real soul in a song like ‘Annabelle’. We believe him when he sings of the lost and losing faith. We trust him with our own doubts, but strangely, with such balladry he gives us more faith and courage to go on’.
‘Finbar Furey, even his name sings defiantly. It's worth living long enough to hear that defiance and wisdom deepen, soften, yet never bend. It's so great to see him. Whenever I do I'm reminded of the promise I made to myself: stay the road, stay true to yourself and your song. This man has it in spades’.
- Glen Hansard
‘Finbar is the jewel of Ireland. A rough cut, perfectly polished, precious, invaluable treasure of ours. He lives and breathes every word of every song he writes and performs. It feels like he sings every one just for me. Watch him, he mesmerises. With each gesture, each movement, each expression, he draws you in with his unmistakable, deep, dulcet, husky and yet sweetly soft, intimate, often delicately vulnerable, voice. With every song he sings I am convinced he can see inside my heart and I into his. He is the master. This is an icon at his best... so far’.
- Imelda May