Scoil Gheimhridh Frankie Kennedy

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Scoil Gheimhridh Frankie Kennedy
Genre Traditional Irish
Dates 27 December – 2 January
Location(s) Gaoth Dobhair, County Donegal, Ireland
Years active December 1994 - January 2014
Founded by Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh

Scoil Gheimhridh Frankie Kennedy ("Frankie Kennedy Winter School") was a traditional music winter school held annually in Gweedore, County Donegal, Republic of Ireland starting December 1994 in memory of Belfast flautist Frankie Kennedy 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] 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]