Clonaslee was the venue this year for the kaleidoscope of colour and sound that is Fleadh Ceoil Laoise.
The festival has extended to five days and the committee were delighted with the attendance at all the activities they organised. On Wednesday, May 16 a céilí in the Parish Hall drew céilí and set dancers from the locality while the singers enjoyed the wonderful acoustics of the Heritage Centre at the other end of the village.
On Thursday night Tom Cox and Scoil Mhuire, Castlecuffe shared their knowledge of the placenames of Laois and a lively discussion ensued as many members of the audience shared their information with all present Then on Friday night the official opening set the tone for a weekend of music, song and dance.
Although Saturday morning was wet and cold, that did not dampen the enthusiasm of the competitors from the seven branches of Comhaltas in Laois who soon tuned up and gave wonderful performanaces in the Céilí Band and Grúpaí Ceoil competitions. The dancers took to the stage in Clonaslee Community Centre on Saturday evening for the Céilí Dancing and Set Dancing Competitions and a large audience were entertained by the wonderful dancing and colourful costumes.
The Fleadh Mass was held in St. Manman’s church on Sunday morning and the solo competitions commenced immediately afterwards. A wonderful fleadh atmosphere was created as the day went on, by local musicians playing traditional music on the Gig Rig outside the Heritage Centre and Davy Joe playing for open air Set Dancing in the square.
The fine day did justice to the colourful costumes of the marching bands as they paraded from the Green to the Heritage Centre. In keeping with tradition the Mountbolus Pipe Band entertained the crowd and were in fine tune!
The presentation of trophies in the evening was swiftly followed by Radio 3 broadcasting “Coppers and Brass” live from the Heritage Centre where Pádraig Ó Dufaigh gave the winners an opportunity to show just why they will be representing Laois at the Leinster Fleadh in Enniscorthy on July 14 and 15.
Comhghairdeas to everybody who took part in the Fleadh.
Scoil Bhríde, the Fr. Shorthall Room, the Parish Hall and the Heritage Centre proved to be fine venues for the competitions and the Fleadh Committee would like to express their gratitude to the management of each venue for their assistance and co-operation with the running of the Laois Fleadh Ceoil this year. Civil Defence, An Garda Síochána and all our voluntary stewards did a great job of keeping all events running smoothly and local businesses, who sponsored the Fleadh, bustled with business from the crowds attending. A big ‘Go raibh mile maith agaibh’ to everybody who helped to make this year’s Laois Fleadh a success!