Frankie Kennedy

Frankie Kennedy, born in Belfast in 1955, became one of Ireland's best known traditional flute players through his work with the band Altan which he managed and founded with his partner Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh. Frankie and Mairéad set the seeds for Altan with their ground breaking album Ceol Aduaidh on the Gael Linn label.

Frankie, a naturally gifted teacher and communicator, was part of a robust wave of young Northern flute players who came to the fore in the '70s and '80s. Like his contemporaries, Frankie drew inspiration from the older generation of Ulster musicians and singers.


"On first meeting Frankie, I felt that I had met a kindred spirit." -Matt Molloy

"Frankie Kennedy was an exceptional flute player, one of the masters of the instrument...not simply due to his in-depth understanding of the instrument, his excellent phrasing and tone or his fluency in complex Donegal fiddle tunes but primarily because his own style was so personal to him, so distinctive." -Harry Bradley

The School

Scoil Gheimhridh Frankie Kennedy was established in December 1994 following Frankie's untimely death from cancer in September of that year. The school's vision is to continue his huge contribution to Irish traditional music, especially the music and song of Donegal. This year's Scoil Gheimhridh will take place from Tuesday 27th December 2011 until Sunday 1st January 2012. All the events will take place in Gaoth Dobhair, Co. Donegal. We will be using 4 principal venues during the school, Ionad Cois Locha (Dunlewey Lakeside Centre) in Dunlewey, Errigal Hostel in Dunlewey, Ionad Naomh Pádraig in Dobhair, and Teach Huidí Beag in Bunbeg.

Classes will be provided in the following: flute, fiddle, uilleann pipes, tin whistle, bodhrán, button accordion, bouzouki, sean nós singing, house dancing , concertina, and guitar. We will also be providing classes in both music arrangement and composition as well as songwriting in the Irish language. Unfortunately these classes are not suitable for absolute beginners.

In order to maximise the gain from classes, there will be 10 places available in each class so early booking is advisable. All bookings will be on a first come first served basis. We want to make sure that you get the most benefit from Scoil Gheimhridh Frankie Kennedy.

Students are encouraged to bring recording devices to the class.


Scoil Gheimhridh Frankie Kennedy wishes to thank the following sponsors who help make the school happen:


"Frankie Kennedy was an excellent flute player with his own unique style. His treatment of slow airs and difficult Donegal fiddle tunes was highly impressive." -Paul McGrattan