Culture Night in Laois was a great success with a variety of events happening in the county on Friday 16th September.
A highlight of the night was a Concert and Craft Fair at the Malthouse, Stradbally with New Road, joined by special guests Leonard Podolak and Cathy Jordan.
This event was made extra special by the atmospheric surrounding of the old malthouse as well as featuring some of Ireland and Canada's finest traditional musicians including Grammy award nominated Leonard Podolak of The Duhks. (review also sent in by Rosa Flannery) Leading up to the concert a craft fair was held in the courtyard area of the venue with an array of beautiful ceramics, pottery art, woodwork and Jewellery on display and on sale to the public.
Another highlight was a Showcase Dance Performance called RE-Connecting by Laois Youth Dance Ensemble at the Plaza, County buildings, Portlaoise. In the open air and under the direction of dance teacher Erica Borges the talented group of young dancers presented very moving contemporary dance performances highlighting the best of their repertoire with some solo performances by two visiting male dancers from Dublin.
Artist Jock Nichol conducted a wonderful “An Plein Air” workshop for landscape artists in the wonderful surroundings of Emo Court Domain and the OPW kindly opened late to give a series of free tours of the house.
The highlight event at the Dunamaise Arts Centre, Portlaoise was the opening of “Hallways of Hope” an Exhibition of Paintings by prisoners of Midlands Prison.
In Portlaoise there was a bi-lingual Bodhrán workshops for beginners with Dale McKay in the Youth Education Centre, Portlaoise.
Events in Portlaoise Library, included a drumming workshop with David Day and a reading by renowned author Anna McPartlin. At An Sean Chistin, in Ballyfin people enjoyed a cultural evening of traditional music, céilí dancing , set dancing, sean-nós dancing, poetry in English & Irish, seanachaí ag rá scéalta, whistling and lilting hosted by Maureen Culleton.
In Spink visitors enjoyed an evening of traditional Irish music, singing, storytelling, and dancing in the beautiful community hall in Spink, home of the regular Comhaltas music classes down through the years. and a late entry to the programme was a cultural evening at the O’Dempseys GAA Centre – an evening of traditional music dance and song for families to enjoy.