LAOIS is fast becoming a centre for musical entertainment with the Leinster Fleadh being held last year in Portlaoise and Electric Picnic being held in Stradbally, but there is nothing to match the atmosphere of the County Fleadh in Clonaslee according to Peter Hogan from Clonaslee who is President of Laois Comhaltas.
The Laois Fleadh is being extended to five days this year and is being held from May 16 – May 20 which is earlier than usual. The Official Launch of the County Fleadh will be held in the Heritage Centre this Friday May 11 and everyone is welcome.
On Wednesday May 16, a céilí in the Parish Hall will kick off the events of Fleadh week. The singers will enjoy singing traditional songs in English and Irish starting at 9pm in Heritage Centre, Clonaslee on the same night. On Thursday night we learn a little more about our placenames from Tom Cox from Abbeyleix Heritage Centre who will give a talk about the cultural heritage and history of Laois county, contained in our placenames. This talk will take place in the Heritage Centre, Clonaslee at 8pm, Thursday May 17.
Friday May 18 sees the Official Opening of Laois County Fleadh in the Heritage Centre at 8pm. The ensemble competitions will be held on Saturday in the Community Centre commencing at 11am. Grúpaí Ceoil - groups of up to 20 in each age category, including over-18s, will demonstrate variety and skill by presenting arrangements of traditional tunes featuring all instruments. This will be followed by the Céilí Band Competitions. Dancing competitions will commence at 7pm in the Community Centre on Saturday evening. This includes set dancing and figure dancing competitions with a high standard expected as dancers from Laois regularly feature in the All-Ireland competitions.
On Sunday May 20, all the Solo competitions for individual singers, lilters, whistlers and musicians will be held at venues in Scoil Bhríde, the Parish Hall and the Heritage Centre. The Comhrá competition will be held in the Heritage Centre where Ionad na Gaeilge will be based as we mark Blian na Gaeilge. Comhaltas has dedicated this year to promoting the Irish language and Clonaslee is marking this by increasing the amount of Irish used at the County Fleadh.
The Marching Band Competition will also be held on Sunday – look out for them marching from the Green to the Gig Rig. The Gig Rig will feature prominently on Main Street on both Saturday and Sunday, with competitors from all the competitions invited to perform on the Gig Rig after they have competed in their competitions. Musicians from all over are expected to congregate and doubtless some will perform on the Gig Rig. Ceol agus Craic are expected!!!
On Sunday a dance board will be erected for set dancing and céilí dancing displays on Main Street. Face painting will be free for all and will add to the festive atmosphere on the day. Come along and enjoy the ceol, caint agus craic! Call in to Ionad na Gaeilge to practice your cupla focal! There is something for everyone at Fleadh Laoise and Peter Hogan insists that the weather will be good!