Portlaoise enjoys an eventful Heritage

John Tierney ( Eachtra Archaelogical Project )  at Portlaoise Parish Centre for his  talk- " Laois Graveyard and Memorial Recording " , during Heritage Week .    Photo: Michael Scully - no reproduction fee .
Heritage Week this year has been the biggest and best ever with over 50 events all over the county, ranging from graveyard talks and wildlife walks, to interactive theatre and kids archaeology digs.

Heritage Week this year has been the biggest and best ever with over 50 events all over the county, ranging from graveyard talks and wildlife walks, to interactive theatre and kids archaeology digs.

The Architecture of Laois Series at Portlaoise Library has been drawing big crowds throughout the months of July and August, and in the final talk in the series, architectural historian Kevin Mulligan spoke about the history and restoration of Ballyfin House to a packed audience.

The fascinating presentation gave an insight into the attention to detail required to conserve and restore the architectural details of a house of this importance. Mr Mulligan commented on the key role played by religious communities in Ireland in protecting some of our large country estates since the foundation of the State.

He cited the Patricians in Ballyfin and the Jesuits in Emo as examples of this careful custodian role, and commented that the people of Laois are lucky to have so many large country houses not just surviving but still set in the landscape with their demesnes intact. In addition to Ballyfin and Emo, Abbeyleix and Stradbally Hall are examples of surviving Demesne landscapes.

The Dunamaise Arts Centre hosted a dance workshop with a difference as a group of children stepped out under the guidance of Maureen Culleton learning about Sean Nós and brush dancing. The relaxed and fun atmosphere contributed to a great learning experience and everyone had mastered a great range of steps by the end of the morning.

Check out Laois Heritage Forum on Facebook (www.facebook.com/laoisheritageforum).