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08 Dec 2021

IN PICTURES: Liam O'Maonlaí joins over 100 young musicians at Laois Tionól festival

Laois hosted a wonderful trad music weekend of harping and piping for young players from all over Ireland last weekend.

Irish music legend Liam O'Maonlaí joined the host of skilled musicians for Music Generation Laois’ annual Tionól over the Halloween weekend in Portlaoise and Stradbally.

Scroll through our gallery of photos by Alf Harvey. 

Young people from eight counties came to Laois to play at Tionól, which means gathering, enjoying music workshops, performances and a busy social schedule.

On Friday afternoon, after a series of music workshops, the teaching team performed for students in the hall of the Dunamase College Campus on Tower Hill, including Michael Rooney, Catriona McKay, Siobhan Buckley, Niamh O’Brien, Jill Devlin, Deirdre Ní Bhuachalla, Grainne Hambly and William Jackson on harp, and Pádraig McGovern, Joseph Byrne, Alain Carroll and Leonard Barry on uilleann pipes. 

Saturday was another busy day of workshops that culminated with a live-stream concert coming from The Malt House, in Stradbally. The livestream concert showcased new harp music by Music Generation Louth, Waterford, Laois, Clare and Mayo composed in collaboration with Catriona McKay, Artistic Director of the Tionól ’21 Harp Programme.

Young pipers from Waterford, Sligo, Tipperary and Laois performed arranged music they rehearsed  and developed with guest piper from Co. Monaghan, Pádraig McGovern. Pipers and harpers also came together and performed a beautiful rendition of ‘The Eagle’s Whistle.’

The livestream concert also included collaborations with Liam Ó Maonlaí  of the Hot House Flowers and double bassist Martin Brunsden, joined by Music Generation Laois percussionist Ros O’Meara. A very special part of the Saturday evening concert included a performance of Liam Ó Maonlaí’s ‘Worry Not’ accompanied by over 30 young harpers. 

Sunday 31 October marked the final day of Tionól ‘21. The festival ended with a series of closing parties, a student closing party in the Hall of Dunamase College Tower Hill campus, featuring Catriona McKay on harp, Leonard Barry on pipes who were joined by the wonderful Shetland fiddle player,  Chris Stout.

The trio took to the stage once again on Sunday evening for a Tionól ’21 Closing Party in Andy Bergin’s bar, bringing Tionól ’21 to a brilliant musical finalé.

Participating Music Generations in Tionól ‘21 included Louth, Mayo, Waterford, Clare, Sligo, Tipperary, Donegal and Laois. 

Rosa Flannery is the Music Development Officer with Music Generation Laois.

‘Tionól 2021 has been a most magical weekend. We kept Tionól going by moving online in 2020, and I think that really helped sustain our connection with young harpers and pipers across Ireland. We are delighted to say that over 110 young people took part in Tionól 2021,’  Rosa said.

Tionól Harp and Pipes ’21 is supported by the Music Generation/ Arts Council Partnership Creativity and Collaboration Fund. Music Generation is Ireland’s National Music Education programme, initiated by Music Network, and co-funded by U2, The Ireland Funds and The Department of Education. Locally Music Generation Laois is part of Laois Offaly Education and Training Board, and supported by Laois County Council. 

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