Solo and ceili instruction for children and adults, from beginner through championship.

San Francisco • South San Francisco • Burlingame • Los Gatos • Tiburon • Sacramento


In August 2010, The Whelan-Kennelly Academy was born. Patricia Kennelly, Sharon Whelan MacSweeney and Sheila Whelan Gallagher with great pleasure joined their abilities and are now a combined force and blending of talents and opportunities. The three women have worked together and been triumphant in many roles over the years. These women have danced in the same class together, performed on the concert stage, been teacher and students together, friends and colleagues, have been co-chairs many times over and all endeavors have proven to be huge successes. Combining their talents, the Whelan-Kennelly Academy provides a nurturing environment for students to learn and celebrate the culture and heritage of this great art form of Irish dance that Patricia, Sharon and Sheila love so much!

Patricia Kennelly, ADCRG

Patricia began teaching for her parents at a very early age. The Kennelly School started in 1959 and Patricia assumed the role as director in 1975. The Kennelly School is proud to have won titles in solo, ceili, figure and drama categories at the North American Championships, All Ireland, European, Great Britain, British National, and All Scotland Championships, and her students have also placed on the podium at the World Championships. In addition to participating in competitive events, students have many opportunities to perform. From private receptions for Irish dignitaries to major musical events in arenas like the Hollywood Bowl or dancing with great bands such as the Chieftains, DeDannaan, Eileen Ivers, Arcady, Danu, and so many more, the school has a rich history in performing and the promotion of traditional Irish music. Over the years, Sharon and Sheila’s parents, JJ and Vera Whelan, have been tremendously encouraging and supportive to the school. Patricia plays the button accordion and was taught by Joe Cooley from Co. Galway. She is an adjudicator and grade examiner with the Irish Dancing Commission. Patricia is committed to excellence in a fun and enjoyable atmosphere of learning. She enjoys sharing the love of teaching and combining talents with the Whelan sisters.

Sharon Whelan MacSweeney, ADCRG and Sheila Whelan Gallagher, TCRG

Sharon and Sheila began their dancing career at a young age for the Kennelly School under the direction of John and Maureen Kennelly, and remained loyal members of the Kennelly School under Patricia’s guidance throughout their dancing careers. Sharon and Sheila opened the Whelan Academy in 1995. Their school has achieved many successes; including winning North American, European, All-Ireland, and World medals. The Whelan Academy has performed with such world renowned groups as Danu, Mary Black, Dropkick Murphy, and Flogging Molly. They have also performed for many dignitaries such as the President and Taoiseach of Ireland. They proudly claim numerous St. Patrick’s Day Parade titles. Sharon is currently a grade examiner and the elected representative from the Western Region to An Coimisiun le Rinci Gaelacha. The Whelan sisters enjoy bringing their love of dancing and combined skills and creativity to the Whelan-Kennelly Academy.


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