Welcome! I am an Irish Traveller, Singer and Storyteller

My name is Thomas McCarthy and I come from Birr in County Offaly in Ireland. My family are the McCarthys who settled there generations ago. I come from a long line of old traditional singers and musicians who kept the tradition of singing strong. I've been named the Traditional Singer of the Year in the Gradam Ceoil Awards 2019.

Buy my Albums

Buy my Albums

Showing people the richness of my heritage is important to me. My latest album is 'Jauling the Green Tober' that I made with traditional Cornish singer Viv Legg. Other albums include 'Round Top Wagon' and 'Herself and Myself'.

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Gigs and Talks

Gigs and Talks

I love to share the old songs at concerts and folk clubs. I am also passionate about advocating for the Travelling people's rights at conferences and demos. I also enjoy working in schools too.

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My Family and Background

My Family and Background

Find out about my mother Mary McCarthy, my grandfather Johnny McCarthy and the rest of my relatives who taught me songs and stories. Learn more about the hidden world of traveller culture.

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Peta Webb, Singer and Organiser of the Musical Traditions Club, London

It's a rare delight these days to come across a singer like Thomas,  who has grown up within oral tradition, learning songs in the old way directly from his family and the interlinked families of the travelling community in Ireland and England. Thomas' intricate ornamented style, with his passion for the songs and deep feeling for their history, reconnects us with centuries of oral culture.
What People Say About Thomas McCarthy
2018-11-11T13:57:30+00:00
It's a rare delight these days to come across a singer like Thomas,  who has grown up within oral tradition, learning songs in the old way directly from his family and the interlinked families of the travelling community in Ireland and England. Thomas' intricate ornamented style, with his passion for the songs and deep feeling for their history, reconnects us with centuries of oral culture.

Mark Radcliffe, The Folk Show, BBC Radio 2 – http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio2/

Tremendous traditional singer from a long line of traditional singers and musicians. This, you could say, is the real deal. He is deeply connected to the traditional music of Ireland.
What People Say About Thomas McCarthy
2018-11-11T13:54:05+00:00
Tremendous traditional singer from a long line of traditional singers and musicians. This, you could say, is the real deal. He is deeply connected to the traditional music of Ireland.

John Belshire, Headteacher, Preesall Fleetwood’s Charity School

Thomas used his storytelling skills with a class of 7-9 year olds to take them to a mysterious world beyond their experience. The children loved the session and used his ideas to enhance their own storytelling at school.
What People Say About Thomas McCarthy
2018-11-11T13:54:53+00:00
Thomas used his storytelling skills with a class of 7-9 year olds to take them to a mysterious world beyond their experience. The children loved the session and used his ideas to enhance their own storytelling at school.

Ron Kavana, Respected Irish Singer/Songwriter

I was immediately blown away by his beautifully controlled yet profoundly moving performance.
What People Say About Thomas McCarthy
2018-11-11T13:55:16+00:00
I was immediately blown away by his beautifully controlled yet profoundly moving performance.

Joe Power, Na Conneries Singing Club, Waterford

The greatest Irish traditional singer in fifty years.
What People Say About Thomas McCarthy
2018-11-11T13:55:34+00:00
The greatest Irish traditional singer in fifty years.

English Dance & Song magazine, EDFSS

Listening to Thomas McCarthy's album is rather like looking at a precious multi-faceted jewel. You have to live with it for a considerable time before you are able to appreciate the beauty of each aspect… The majesty and control of his singing here is something to ponder on. It is full of the high decoration that we associate with the best of the Irish tradition and then on held notes he employs an easy vibrato. Technically, it is singing of the very highest quality.
What People Say About Thomas McCarthy
2018-11-11T13:56:15+00:00
Listening to Thomas McCarthy's album is rather like looking at a precious multi-faceted jewel. You have to live with it for a considerable time before you are able to appreciate the beauty of each aspect… The majesty and control of his singing here is something to ponder on. It is full of the high decoration that we associate with the best of the Irish tradition and then on held notes he employs an easy vibrato. Technically, it is singing of the very highest quality.

Robin Gillan, Musician, Singer and Organiser of the Black Fen Folk Club

Tom has an outstanding voice, he sings from the heart, as if he were living the story. He stands apart from most modern day folk singers in that he is not a folk revivalist trying to fit into a tradition. He sings both traditional songs passed down from his family and friends in the travelling community and also his own superbly written songs.
What People Say About Thomas McCarthy
2018-11-11T13:56:38+00:00
Tom has an outstanding voice, he sings from the heart, as if he were living the story. He stands apart from most modern day folk singers in that he is not a folk revivalist trying to fit into a tradition. He sings both traditional songs passed down from his family and friends in the travelling community and also his own superbly written songs.

Eileen Mullervy, Lead Teacher, Lancashire Ethnic Minority/Gypsy, Roma & Traveller Achievement Service

Thomas builds a real rapport with groups. He doesn’t just sing and tell stories. He engages children in discussion and understanding around Traveller culture.
What People Say About Thomas McCarthy
2018-11-11T13:54:31+00:00
Thomas builds a real rapport with groups. He doesn’t just sing and tell stories. He engages children in discussion and understanding around Traveller culture.