From Scotstown in Co. Monaghan, Thomas began learning the uilleann pipes and whistle at an early age. He has enjoyed successes on both instruments at All-Ireland level, and with extensive experience in giving private tuition, teaching workshops and adjudicating, he is a much respected uilleann pipes and whistle tutor. Thomas graduated from the BA Irish Music & Dance at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, University of Limerick in 2006, and was subsequently awarded a place on the University’s Advanced Scholars Programme.
He is currently working on a doctoral thesis entitled The Bloom of Youth which has as its broad subject, the experience of Irish traditional music, by music teachers and students, in the context of the post-primary music curriculum. The focus of this study is the process of transmission of Irish traditional music within the music classroom, the connection between classroom and ‘community’, and the attitudes, perceptions and specific practices of participants in their approach to this particular musical genre in this educational setting. Thomas’ research is supported by the Irish Research Council for the Humanities & Social Sciences (IRCHSS) and The Teaching Council. With tuition from renowned musicians such as Majella Bartley, Micky Dunne, Mick O’Brien and Tiarnán Ó Duinnchinn.
Thomas has developed his own unique musical style over the years. A soloist with The National Youth Orchestra of Canada in their performance of Bill Whelanֳ, The Seville Suite, his playing has also featured prominently in major international touring dance productions, including Rhythms of Ireland, as well as on the European and Canadian folk festival circuit with appearances at Celtic Connections (Glasgow), Tonder Festival (Denmark), Haapavesi Folk Festival (Finland) and the Canturbury Folk Festival (Ontario, Canada). Thomas has collaborated with many other musicians and has toured widely with performances in the UK, Australia, Tasmania, Germany, France, Luxembourg, Belgium and the USA. Most recently in May 2010, he travelled to New York to perform in Carnegie Hall as part of Discovering Abilities, a performance workshop by the Sidney Lanier School Music Ensemble.