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May 1, 2023


When it comes to Irish folk music, Finbar Furey is a legend. His music is fiery and captivating, drawing listeners in with its raw emotion and incredible talent. In this guide, we’ll take a journey through the life and music of Finbar Furey. From his beginnings as a child prodigy to his status as one of the most revered musicians in Ireland, we’ll explore what makes his music so special.

1. Early life

Finbar Furey was born in Dublin in 1946. He grew up in a musical family, with his father, Ted, and brothers, Eddie, George, and Paul, all musicians. Finbar began playing the uilleann pipes at the age of six, and by the time he was a teenager, he was already a seasoned performer.

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2. The Furey Brothers

In the 1970s, Finbar and his brothers formed a band called The Furey Brothers. They quickly became popular in Ireland and beyond, with hits like “When You Were Sweet Sixteen” and “The Green Fields of France.” Their music was a mix of traditional Irish folk and original songs, all with the signature Furey sound.

3. Solo career

In the 1980s, Finbar left The Furey Brothers to pursue a solo career. He continued to release albums and tour extensively, cementing his reputation as one of the greatest Irish folk musicians of all time. His solo work includes songs like “Sweetest Summer Rain” and “The Lonesome Boatman.”

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4. Collaborations

Finbar has collaborated with many famous musicians over the years, including Van Morrison, Bono, and Sinead O’Connor. His collaborations have produced some incredible music, such as “Irish Heartbeat” with Van Morrison and “Goodnight Irene” with Sinead O’Connor.

5. Instruments

In addition to the uilleann pipes, Finbar is a talented multi-instrumentalist. He plays guitar, banjo, mandolin, tin whistle, and bodhran, among other instruments. His versatility allows him to create unique and diverse soundscapes in his music.

6. Legacy

Finbar Furey’s music has left an indelible mark on Irish culture. His fiery music and incredible talent have earned him a place in the pantheon of Irish folk legends. He continues to inspire younger generations of musicians with his music and his dedication to preserving Irish folk traditions.

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7. FAQs

Q: What does “uilleann” mean in “uilleann pipes”?

A: “Uilleann” means “elbow” in Irish, as the uilleann pipes are played using the elbow to pump air into the pipes.

Q: What other instruments are commonly used in Irish folk music?

A: Other instruments used in Irish folk music include the fiddle, accordion, concertina, and harp.

Q: How many albums has Finbar Furey released?

A: Finbar has released over 20 albums throughout his career.

Q: Has Finbar Furey won any awards?

A: Yes, Finbar has won multiple awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2018 RTÉ Radio 1 Folk Awards.

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Q: What is Finbar Furey’s most famous song?

A: “The Lonesome Boatman” is one of Finbar’s most popular and well-known songs.

Q: What is a bodhran?

A: A bodhran is a traditional Irish percussion instrument, similar to a drum, that is played with a stick called a tipper.

Q: Has Finbar Furey written any books?

A: Yes, Finbar has written a memoir called “The Last Great Love Song” about his life and career in music.


Finbar Furey is a true icon of Irish folk music. From his prodigious talent as a young uilleann piper to his status as a respected elder statesman of the genre, his music has touched the hearts of millions. Whether you’re a longtime fan or a newcomer to Irish folk music, Finbar Furey’s fiery and unforgettable music is sure to leave an impression. So put on your dancing shoes and let the music carry you away!

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