05 Jul 2022

Laois children set for extravaganza of FREE Cruinniú na nÓg FUN

Cruinniú na nÓg

Launching Cruinniú na nÓg Laois which is being held on the 11th June next are senior infants at Rath NS with Jeca the clown. Picture: Alf Harvey.

Cruinniú na nÓg returns in 2022 with a big menu fun for children and families right around Laois on Saturday, June 11.

Local organisations and agencies have teamed up to work with Creative Ireland in the county to engage children and young people in a variety of experiences and participatory workshops.

Pop-Up Dance is a Dance Ireland project which aims to connect with young people who want to dance. The pop-up performances will take place on the Knockmay Estate, Portlaoise with Laois Youth Dance Ensemble collaborating with Treo Nua Centre and Portlaoise Family Resource Centre. Laois Youth Dance Ensemble, Ohr Dance Company and Laois Dance Academy curated by director, Erica Borges present new work reflecting the art of dance within communities and experiences.

Irish Street Arts, Circus and Spectacle Network (ISACS) is hosting a full range of online tutorials and 5,000 juggling balls will be given away so that young people can develop their circus skills at home. Pick up your set by registering at and receive 4 online tutorials in ball juggling.

Youth Theatre Ireland and Laois Arts Office host introductory theatre workshops from ages 12-18, facilitated by Pauline Dunne (Laois Youth Theatre) in both Portarlington and Rathdowney. The aim of youth theatre is to explore creativity in a fun and supportive environment, build confidence, meet like-minded people and share positive experiences. Places are limited, booking essential at / 085 788 7303.

Across Laois Cruinniú na nÓg making, creating and doing activities and events will take place in Portlaoise, Rathdowney, Clonaslee, Durrow, Portarlington, Borris-in-Ossory, Abbeyleix, Mountrath, and Stradbally.

Laois Libraries are brimming with fun and creativity for Cruinniú na nÓg with a programme of activities including: African Drumming - Mountrath Library, ages 8-12yrs, 10-11am; Createschool Stop Motion Animation with Lego - Portarlington Library, ages 10-12, 10-11.30am; Robot Workshop - Mountmellick Library, ages 8-10, 10.30-11.30am; Clay workshop - Durrow Library, ages 4-10, 11-11.45am; Gymboree Music & Play - Stradbally Library, ages 0-6, 11.30am-12.15pm; African Drumming - Abbeyleix Library, ages 8-12yrs, 12noon-1pm; Createschool Stop Motion Animation with Lego - Portlaoise Library, ages 10-12, 12.30-2pm, and Rainbow Magic Storytelling - Portlaoise Library, ages 5-8, 3-4pm. Places are limited, booking essential through your local libraries.


Pictured: Launching Cruinniú na nÓg Laois which is being held on the 11th June next are senior infants at Rath N.S. with Ann Lawlor, Creative Ireland Laois; Laura Kavanagh, teacher; Erica Borges, Laois Youth Dance Ensemble; Cllr Conor Bergin, Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council.

Dunamaise Arts Centre, Portlaoise, Sat June 11 – Thurs June 30.
Visit our Cruinniú na nÓg Laois Series: Sense of Place art exhibition by young people in Laois, inspired by their collective sense of place and identity. Young people across the county were invited to creatively respond to the idea of place and the locations in Laois that mean the most to them through painting, sculpture, print, collage, photography, mixed media, Lego, graffiti and more. The exhibition will feature five 1st prize artworks and five high recommended artworks. The 1st prize winners will have their artwork included in a limited series of postcards available for free to the public.

Dunamaise Arts Centre, Portlaoise, 12pm & 3pm.
Young people aged 6+ and their families are invited to the delightful performance of Lúminaria where there is an emergency in the village of Lúminaria and only Lúna can save them. Join Lúna on an adventure into the sky as she tries to find the light to protect her mother and the villagers from darkness. With an array of wonderful characters played by three amazing actors, colourful puppets and original music, Lúminaria brings the audience on a whimsical journey into the unknown. As Lúna faces her deepest fears, we learn about courage, love and finding light in the darkest of moments. Lúminaria is by Fionnuala Gygax and directed by Maisie Lee. Booking is essential at Lúminaria is a Backstage Theatre production supported by Arts Council Ireland with development support from Creative Ireland and Roscommon Arts Centre.

Laois Music Centre, Portlaoise, 1-4pm
Music Generation Laois (MGL) and Laois Integration Network (LIN) celebrate new communities in Laois. Join us for a jam packed afternoon of early years music, MGL Ukulele Circle, MGL Bodhran/Drumming Circle, Cúinne Gaeilge and ‘Beat Goes On’ body percussion workshop. Experience the colourful and interactive performance by Afro-Brazilian Dance Company Criola Dance, African Drumming, and so much more alongside the Music Generation Laois Bandwagon House Band. All details and family programme available at www.musicgenerationlaois. ie. Supported by Creative Ireland, Local Live Performance Support Scheme, Conradh na Gaeilge, and Laois Partnership and Laois County Council.

Knockmay Estate, Portlaoise, 1-4.30pm
Cruinniú na nÓg comes to Knockmay Estate for an exciting afternoon of dance! As part of Dance Ireland’s Pop Up Dances project, Laois Youth Dance Ensemble will host dance workshops (1-2pm) and an outdoor dance performance (2.30-3.30pm) in collaboration with Ohr Dance Company, Laois Dance Academy, Bubble Lock and Nadette Zumba Kids.
In addition, there will be a mini dig workshop with The School of Irish Archaeology, ‘Beat Goes On’ body percussion workshop, musical statues with spot prizes, face painting, and so much more. For more information and/or to book a workshop: Erica -Treo Nua Centre, 057 868 6145 or Joan - Portlaoise Family Resource Centre, 057 868 6151. This family event has been created in collaboration with the young people and their families of Knockmay Estate, Treo Nua Centre and Portlaoise Family Resource Centre, with support from Dance Ireland, Laois Youth Dance Ensemble, Laois Arts Office and Music Generation Laois.

Heritage House, Abbeyleix, 10am-2pm
Discover your inner artist with an Acrylic Painting Workshop for ages 12-15 facilitated by artist, Pat Byrne. All materials will be supplied by Abbeyleix Heritage House. Participants will learn to paint a landscape in acrylics on canvas in a direct painting application using brushes and palette knife; however there will be times when indirect application will be used, such as glazing. Places limited, booking essential at managerabbeyleixheritage / 057 873 1653.

Clonaslee Parish Hall (Times TBC)
Join us for 'Beat Goes On', a workshop for ages 8-13 specialising in STOMP-style Body Percussion and Afro-Brazilian Percussion. Ollie Tunmer, who will lead these workshops is a former cast member of the hit show STOMP and their sister show 'The Lost & Found Orchestra'. Ollie has appeared on CBeebies, BBC Children In Need and has delivered Body Percussion workshops all over the world. Places limited, booking essential at / 057 868 1782. Further Cruinniú na nÓg Clonaslee programme details will be available soon at

Makeport, Portarlington, 12-1.30pm and 1.30-3pm
Virtual Reality and Podcast demos at Makeport makerspace for ages 8-12 and 13-18 showcasing how VR technology works with Oculus Rift headsets and also an introduction to making your own podcasts utilising green screen technology. There will be an opportunity to try out the Oculus headsets and make your own short podcast! These workshops are in collaboration with the Makeport Team and LOETB’s Local Creative Youth Partnership. Places limited, booking essential at

The Square, Rathdowney (Time TBC)
Rathdowney Arts Group present Cruinniú na nÓg with an extravaganza of activities for children, young people and their families including: 'Try an Instrument' with local musicians; Art & Wellness workshop; Upcycling workshop /showcase; African Drumming; Youth Theatre taster session; Youth Singing taster session; a performance with Tallulah the Long-Haired Hare from Liverpool for ages 5+ and their families, and so much more. Further Cruinniú na nÓg Rathdowney programme details will be available soon at and Helen at 089 408 1693.

Borris-in-Ossory and Abbeyleix (Times TBC)
Tallulah the Long-Haired Hare from Liverpool is a mad cap adventure that plays fast and loose with the original fable, The Tortoise and the Hare. The Storyteller accused, by the imagination manager, of being a spy for the “Boring Brigade”, must entertain his way out of trouble. With wild imaginings, a lion taming tortoise, a giant angry bee and a hare obsessed with winning, the storyteller weaves a bonkers tale with an unexpected twist in the tail. This exciting performance by John Aspill from Wexford Studio is for ages 5+ and their families.

For a full listing of all activities and information on how to join in for Cruinniú na nÓg – go to and also to the national website

More below picture.

Catherine Martin TD, Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, recently announced details of Cruinniú na nÓg 2022, the day of free creative activity for young people: 

"Since 2018, Cruinniú na nÓg has become a key date in Ireland's cultural calendar. It has provided wonderful opportunities for Ireland's 1.2 million children and young people to try something new like circus skills, animation, perform at live music gigs, explore contemporary dance, showcase new work through youth theatre and so much more. We are so thrilled that the restrictions of the last two years are behind us and that this year everyone can join together to be creative, express themselves and have fun. All events are free."

Cruinniú na nÓg 2022 is a collaboration between the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, the Creative Ireland Programme, local authorities and RTÉ and is the only event of its kind in the world

The Creative Ireland Programme is a culture-based, all of Government initiative which places creativity at the centre of public policy, and is designed to promote individual, community and national wellbeing. The core proposition is that participation in cultural activity drives personal and collective creativity, with significant implications for individual and societal wellbeing and achievement. It is built around five pillars, one of which is Creative Youth - enabling the creative potential of every young person in Ireland.

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