'Trad is Fab' for new wave of Laois kids at remarkable Comhaltas concerts in Portlaoise

Branches in Clonaslee, Camross, Mountmellick, Spink, Portarlington, Portlaoise and Ratheniska honoured for their contribution to 1916 celebrations

By Conor Ganly


By Conor Ganly


‘Cheirshing all the children of the nation’ is one of the aspirations in the 1916 Proclamation. 

So it proved on Sunday, March 5, when 148 talented young Laois people came together to stage two remarkable shows during which Laois Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann was honoured for their big contribution to the 1916 Rising Centenary Celebrations.

The Laois County Board Comhaltas Branch hosted the shows to cherish and encourage novices who began classes last September. The organisers said the enthusiasm of the performers and the progress they have achieved in a few months proved the benefits and fun in the Comhaltas system.

Judging by the standard of proficiency on display at the Dunamaise, the Laois branch said "a mighty wave of new talent" will emerge to full strength in the next few years to follow in the footsteps of their older colleagues who coined the slogan ‘Trad is Fab’.

During the concert Laois County Council Cathaoirleach Cllr Tom Mulhall presented each of the seven Comhaltas branches in the county with a framed copy of the Proclamation at a special event for novices at Dunamaise Arts Centre in Portlaoise.

He acknowledged the contribution  of  Comhaltas to the Laois 1916 Rising Centenary Programme which was hosted by last year by Laois County Council. In doing so he praised the ongoing work of Laois Comhaltas with adults and young people.

Promoting Irish culture is the focus of Comhaltas. Laois is very well served with branches in Clonaslee, Camross, Mountmellick, Spink, Portarlington, Portlaoise and Ratheniska.

There are branches all over Ireland and worldwide as far away as Argentina and Japan. Comhaltas says each branch has a unique offering for aspiring musicians. Learners have the option of taking one to one, small group or ensemble classes depending on their location and their willingness to travel.

"We have a welcome for all who want to learn about Irish Culture, not just those born here but all new arrivals too" said County Board Chairman PJ Phelan. Comhaltas is non sectarian and non political. "We enjoy all sorts of music, song and dance but we confine ourselves to teaching the Traditional Arts which give Ireland it’s unique cultural identity".

Mountmellick-based photographer Kevin Byrne was at the big celebration for the Leinster Express.