Finbar Furey was born on 28 September 1946 in Ballyfermot, Dublin, Ireland. Finbar's well-known musician father, Ted started him on the Uilleann pipes while he was very young. By his teens, he had won 3 All Ireland Medals, The Oireachtas, and many Feisanna – in fact he was the only piper ever to win the All Ireland, the Oireachtas medal and the 4 province titles in the same year. Finbar is an Irish Traveller.
Finbar popularized the pipes worldwide while on tour with his brother Eddie in the 1960s. In 1969, Finbar and Eddie began touring as backup musicians for the influential Irish folk group, The Clancy Brothers. Finbar played the pipes, as well as the banjo, tin whistle, and guitar with the group live, on television, and on recordings. The Furey brothers left the group the following year and began performing as a duo again. Many bands followed in their wake, but Finbar and Eddie were awarded best Single of the Year by John Peel in 1972 entirely because of the unique sound the Uilleann pipes and whistle made, in the context of what was, at that time, a modern pop sound. They received many other accolades because they were the spearhead of contemporary music of that time.
When the younger brothers Paul and George joined the band, several years later, success and appeal remained as strong as ever and The Fureys soon reaped their reward and enjoyed a string of best selling records all over the world. These gems, with Finbar as lead singer of The Fureys, included When You Were Sweet Sixteen, Leaving Nancy, Tara Hill, Green Fields of France, Red Rose Café and The Lonesome Boatman. In Britain, they became one of the first Irish folk groups to play on Top of the Pops.
In 1997, after nearly thirty years as The Fureys' front man, Finbar decided the time was right to follow his own path as a singer songwriter. He decided to step aside and pursue his solo career, to present his definitive one-man show and to explore new pastures as a singer, producer and writer.
In the early 2000s, Finbar began an acting career. His first appearance was in the Martin Scorsese film Gangs of New York. He has also appeared in 2004's Adam & Paul, 2007's Strength and Honour, 2010s short Paris Sexy, and the RTÉ Television series 'Love/Hate.
In 2011 he released the album Colours on Dolphin Music. The album featuring guest performances from Mary Black and Shayne Ward is being released in North America in 2012 on the Valley Entertainment record label.
In August 2013, Furey appeared on the Irish television show The Hit. He recorded a single pitched by a songwriter, Gerry Fleming. The single, "The Last Great Love Song", charted at number one in the Irish charts against Mundy's song "Jigsaw Man" written by Mark Walsh which charted at number five. The song was performed again with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra in the final and came first place in the public vote earning the title "The Ultimate Hit".
His son, Martin Furey, currently performs with the Irish folk band, The High Kings.