Scoil Acla announces Artist in Residence for their 2023 Summer School 

Coiste Scoil Acla is pleased to announce that fiddle maestro, Fergal Scahill, will join Scoil Samhraidh Scoil Acla this year as their Artist in Residence.

Fergal Scahill is a virtuoso musician whose journey in the industry spans over two decades. At the tender age of two, he discovered his love for music and began playing the bodhrán. By the age of five, he was already taking the stage with the Siamsa show in Galway and performing in front of captivated audiences.

Over the years, he has accumulated an impressive list of accomplishments, including multiple All-Ireland titles on the fiddle, bodhrán and guitar accompaniment, as well as many group competition wins. At 18 years of age, Fergal took his talent to the professional stage and has since performed in several shows, including Ragus and Celtic Legends. He has a rich discography, including five solo projects, two albums with his band Freewheel and seven albums with his current band We Banjo 3, which has also received numerous awards including the Traditional Album of the Year award from the Irish Times, the Album of the Week accolade from RTÉ Radio 1 and best folk album at the 2018 RTÉ Folk Awards.

Fergal’s social media project, “Fergal’s Tune a Day,” showcases his musical prowess and collaboration skills, as he has recorded over 750 different tunes and worked with hundreds of artists. Fergal’s musical reach extends beyond borders performing in over 30 different countries across all continents. He has shared the stage with a diverse array of musicians, including Mairtín O’Connor, Wallis Bird, Gerry O’Connor, Mick Flannery, Máiread Ní Mhaonaigh, Sharon Shannon, Bela Fleck, Sam Bush, Billy Strings, Sierra Hull, and Brittany Haas. In 2020, he was honoured with the Male Musician of the Year award from the American Celtic Listener Supported Radio Awards and in 2021 he received the Album of the Year award for “One Day : November Woods.”

Speaking on his appointment, Fergal Scahill said “I feel truly privileged to have been asked to participate in Scoil Acla 2023 as Artist in Residence. I am really looking forward to the chance to immerse myself in the vibrant tapestry of this wonderful festival. Most importantly, I am excited about the prospect of collaborating with the students, imparting upon them the valuable tips and tricks I have gathered during my 20 plus years as a touring musician and taking some time to pen some new music inspired by the beautiful rugged landscape of Achill Island.”

Cathaoirleach of Scoil Acla CCÉ, Sarah Calvey said “2023 is the Year of the Fiddle and we are delighted that Fergal Scahill will join us this year to head up our annual Artist in Residence programme. Fergal follows a host of famous artists Scoil Acla has attracted over the years. Fergal’s relaxed, yet powerful style is well known in Traditional Irish music circles through his involvement with We Banjo 3 and his innovative tune a day initiative on social media. We look forward to seeing him engage with students throughout the course of the week and hearing him play at the many events we have lined up in this year’s programme.”

The Scoil Acla Artist in Residence programme allows students to meet professional musicians in an informal setting to discuss all aspects of being a traditional musician and its role and function within our wider lifestyle. The aim is to illustrate and make students more aware of the wider context of the music which is being taught in class which reinforces and consolidates students’ interest in music. It encourages and compliments their interest, and in the longer term gives them confidence in pursuing their interest professionally or otherwise in their particular instrument.

Past musicians who have taken up residency for Scoil Acla Summer School include John E. Lavelle, Joe Burke, John Carty, Liam O’Connor, Mary Bergin, Laoise Kelly, Catherine McEvoy, Micheál Ó’Raghallaigh, Mick O’Brien, Treasa Ní Cheannabháin, Breanndán Ó Beaglaoich, Eileen O’Brien, Kieran Hanrahan, Noreen O’Sullivan, Paul Dooley, Edel Fox, Padraig McGovern, Des Cafferkey and most recently, Derek Hickey – many of whom have joined Scoil Acla as tutors over the years.

Scoil Acla Summer School 2023 runs from July 23rd to 29th. Book online today to secure a generous Early-bird discount before 30th June, please note some classes are now fully subscribed with others filling up fast. 

For more information, please visit, email or phone us on 085 881 9548. Don’t forget to keep up-to-date with Scoil Acla on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram!