Dancing in the streets in Portlaoise for New Year's Eve

News Portlaoise Accordion Band to ring in the New Year in Market Square

Dancing in the streets in Portlaoise for New Year's Eve
By Lynda Kiernan lynda.kiernan@leinsterexpress.ie @laoisnews

Portlaoise Market Square will be filled with festive live music to welcome in the New Year, thanks to Portlaoise Accordion Band.

The band is reviving its popular long held tradition of holding a recital of the Rosary by the Portlaoise clergy, followed by festive tunes for pub goers and residents to enjoy as they ring in the New Year.

"We did it for donkey's years, we always get a big crowd. People love the band, they come out of the pubs to say the Rosary and then dance on the street," said Bandmaster Peter Smith.

They will perform at Our Lady's Shrine, which is maintained by the band.

While the Downtown Portlaoise traders group maintain the festive lights along Main Street, the accordion band has been proudly looking after the lights and the crib at Our Lady's Shrine in Market square for the past forty years.

This year they invested €1,000 of fundraised money into new lights and stars for the trees, explained Peter.

"We took over the lights from Irish Worsted Mills when it closed down, as a lot of members in the band had worked there. We are proud to do it, it's something we want to put back into the community," said Peter.

They also fund the blue halo over Our Lady all year round.

"That halo was put up by our Chairman Paddy 'Slim' Collins, now aged 94," said Peter.

Last Sunday Christmas Day they put on their traditional performance at St Peter & Paul's church.

The Portlaoise band is preparing to celebrate its 60th year in February, with a Civic Reception to be held at County Hall.

“We had our first march out on Easter Sunday morning in 1967 to the church, and we have been doing that ever since,” said the bandmaster.

The band is free to join, with their smart uniforms also provided free. They welcomed three new young members in 2016 from Comhaltas, while anyone interested in learning to play the accordion is invited to join.

For queries call Peter on 085 7167788.