Frankie Kennedy Winter Music School
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Frankie Kennedy Winter Music School

Scoil Gheimhridh Frankie Kennedy
GenreTraditional Irish
Dates27 December - 2 January
Location(s)Gaoth Dobhair, County Donegal, Ireland
Years activeDecember 1994 - January 2014
Founded byMairéad Ní Mhaonaigh

Scoil Gheimhridh Frankie Kennedy ("Frankie Kennedy Winter School") was a traditional music winter school held annually in Gweedore, County Donegal, Ireland starting December 1994 in memory of Belfast flautist Frankie Kennedy (from Irish folk music band Altan) who died on 19 September 1994.[1] The last session ended in January 2014. It has been succeeded by the "Scoil Gheimhridh Ghaoth Dobhair" ("Gweedore Winter School").[2]


The festival, which ran throughout the end of December until 2 January featured some of Ireland's best known musicians as well as friends of Frankie's from Scotland and further afield. It also presented a unique learning environment for musicians and arrangers. Classes are provided in flute, fiddle, uilleann pipes, tin whistle, bodhrán, button accordion, bouzouki, sean-nós singing, house dancing, and guitar.

In 2008, the festival introduced a new class, Arranging Irish Music and Song, which was taught by traditional music veteran Dáithí Sproule.

In 2007, the festival brought singers such as Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh and Julie Fowlis to perform.[3]

The final Scoil Gheimhridh took place from Friday 27 December 2013 until Wednesday 1 January 2014.[4] On this occasion, Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh (from Irish folk music band Altan), her siblings Anna Ní Mhaonaigh and Gearóid Ó Maonaigh and her nephew Ciarán Ó Maonaigh (Gearóid's son[5]) formed the Irish folk music band Na Mooneys where they performed their first ever show. Na Mooneys released their debut album Na Mooneys on 6 October 2016.

Until the end, the Scoil Gheimhridh Frankie Kennedy was ever-expanding and attendance was still continuing to flourish.


It has become tradition that Kennedy's old band Altan headline every year at the festival, but other well-known musicians have played at the school:[3]


  1. ^ December Festivals in Ireland | Irish YHA E-Zine Article Archived 15 October 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ "About Us | Scoil Gheimhridh". Retrieved 2016.
  3. ^ a b 2007 Festival Brochure
  4. ^ Scoil Gheimhridh Frankie Kennedy homepage
  5. ^ "Na Mooneys to launch CD today". Donegal Democrat. 6 October 2016. Retrieved 2018.

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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