James, the son of Eohgan Lyons and Catherine Gildea was born and reared at An Gaineamh, Gleann Cholmcille. James learned his trade of shoemaking from his father, while also looking after a small farm at An Gainneamh where he and Catherine raised five of a family. James was of the older generation of fiddle players in Gleann Cholmcille and it is likely that he heard and was influenced by the playing of John Mhósaí McGinley. He also passed his music to the next generation of Glen fiddlers such as Dominic McNelis, formerly of An Baile Ard but now resident in California and Paddy Phroinsias McGinley, Gort an Luain, who played a jig named after James. In his younger days James played for weddings in Gleann Cholmcille and often rode on a sidecar while entertaining newly married couples on their way to the wedding party.
‘Lyons’ Favourite Jig’ performed by Paddy Phroinsias McGinley