aLL roads lead to Clonaslee this weekend for the Laois Fleadh which will be held in the village from May 16 to May 20.
This year’s festival is stretching over five days and is sure to attract big crowds as the cream of the crop gather to perform both in competitions and throughout the streets.
The fleadh was launched in the Heritage Centre in Clonaslee last Friday May 11 and events get underway tonight, Wednesday May 16 with a céilí in the Parish Hall. There will also be an evening of traditional singing from 9pm in the Heritage Centre.
On Thursday night people can learn a little more about placenames from Tom Cox from Abbeyleix in the Heritage Centre at 8pm.
Friday, May 18 sees the official opening of the Laois County Fleadh in the Heritage Centre at 8pm. The ensemble competitions will be held on Saturday in the Community Centre commencing at 11am.
Grúpaí ceoil groups will be performing, followed by the céilí band competitions. Dancing competitions will commence at 7pm in the Community Centre on Saturday evening. This includes set dancing and figure dancing competitions with a high standard expected as dancers from Laois regularly feature in the All-Ireland competitions.
On Sunday May 20, all the solo competitions for individual singers, lilters, whistlers and musicians will be held at venues in Scoil Bhríde, the Parish Hall and the Heritage Centre. The Comhrá competition will be held in the Heritage Centre where Ionad na Gaeilge will be based as Blian na Gaeilge is marked.
The marching band competition will also be held on Sunday – audiences can look out for them marching from the Green to the Gig Rig.