He was born near St. Johnston, County Donegal, in Ireland. He has been a member of well-known traditional Irish music groups, including 1691 and The Bothy Band as well as performing solo since the late 1960s. He plays in the unique fiddle style of East Donegal.
After moving to Dublin in the 1960s, where he was employed as a Garda (member of the Irish police force), he subsequently moved to County Clare and married Mary Linnane, daughter of Kitty Linnane, long-time leader of the Kilfenora Céilí Band. He now resides in his home village of St Johnston. His daughter Siobhán Peoples is a noted fiddler in her own right.
Tommy Peoples is currently the Traditional Musician In Residence at The Balor Arts Centre, Ballybofey, County Donegal.