LAOIS is fast becoming a centre for musical entertainment with the Leinster Fleadh held last year in Portlaoise and Electric Picnic having its home in Stradbally but, according to Clonaslee native Peter Hogan, who is president of Laois Comhaltas, “there is nothing to match the atmosphere of the County Fleadh in Clonaslee”.
The Laois Fleadh is being extended to five days this year and is being held from Wednesday May 16 to Sunday May 20. The fleadh’s official launch will be held in the Heritage Centre on Friday May 11 and will be followed by a trisco, where musicians young and old will be dancing to traditional music.
The fleadh begins on Wednesday May 16 with a céilí in the community centre and there will be trad singing in English and Irish by the open fire in the parish hall at 9pm. On Thursday, Tom Cox from Abbeyleix Heritage Centre who will give a talk about the Cultural Heritage and history of Laois County in the Heritage Centre in Clonaslee at 8pm. Friday sees the official opening of the Laois County Fleadh in the Heritage Centre.
Competitions for ensemble groups begin on Saturday in Scoil Bhríde. There will be groups of up to 20 in each age category, including over-18, and this will be followed by the céilí band competitions. Later on Saturday evening there will be set dancing and figure dancing competitions. Individual singers and musicians will be catered for on Sunday at venues throughout the village. The gig rig will feature on Main Street, with competitors invited to perform on the gig rig after their competitions. Musicians from all over are expected to congregate and doubtless some will perform on the gig rig.
A dance board will be erected for set dancing and céilí dancing displays on Main Street. A bouncing castle, face painting and session competition on Main Street will be just some of the activities available on the day. Entries are open to all residents of Laois and should be with Bairbre Uí Theighneáin, Hon. Sec. Fleadh Laoise, “Áit Aoibhinn”, Garryheather, Clonaslee, Co Laois by Friday, April 20. The Laois County Board of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann wishes to emphasise that the fleadh is for everybody, with admission for the day costing €3 for adults and €2 for children while street entertainment is free.