20 Jan 2022

IN PICTURES: Bodhrán players drumming up a storm in Laois schools

Laois schoolchildren across seven schools are getting the chance to learn a beloved traditional Irish instrument, the bodhrán.

Among the young musicians enjoying lessons with Dale McKay from Music Generation Laois are the 4th and 5th class boys at Scoil Phádraig Naofa in Mountmellick. 

Scroll through this great gallery of the boys getting lessons, taken by Alf Harvey. 

Drumming teacher Dale is also a keen beat boxer, and was featured on the RTE Home School Hub in 2020, sharing his beat boxing techniques with children across the country.

"I really enjoy coming to Mountmellick every Monday to teach bodhrán. The bodhrán is a great instrument and the boys have really taken to it. This programme will hopefully develop the boys interest in Irish traditional music too,” he said.

His busy schedule has him teaching bodhrán in six primary schools and one secondary school in Laois weekly – Scoil Phádraig Naofa, Arles National School, Tobar an Leinn Raheen, The Rock NS Mountmellick, Rath National School, Clonaslee National School and Portlaoise College. Dale also teaches weekly bodhrán classes in Laois Music Centre.

Staff in Scoil Phádraig Naofa are very pleased with the bodhrán programme.

Helen Conroy is one of the teachers.

"It’s been a great experience for our pupils to take part in the programme with Dale. They have really embraced the bodhrán, and love Dale’s weekly classes," she said.

Scoil Phádraig Naofa is a DEIS status school, qualifying for supports through the Creative Ireland Laois and Music Generation Laois ‘Music-Rich’ schools programme, to further subsidise their music classes to ensure as many children as possible get to access music, without financial barriers. 

Music-rich Schools is supported by Creative Ireland Laois as part of the Creative Ireland Programme (2017-2022) in partnership with Laois County Council.

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. 

To find out more about Music Generation Laois, see

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