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06 Jul 2022

Lots of Laois fun in Portlaoise at Laois Le Chéile – Laois Together

Lots of Laois fun in Portlaoise at  Laois Le Chéile – Laois Together

 Great fun was had on Saturday last, 11th June when Laois Integration Network and Music Generation Laois organised a joint initiative for this year’s ‘Cruinniú na nOg’ celebrations in Laois. 

The event was called ‘Laois Le Chéile – Laois Together’ and it was held at Laois Music Centre on Church Avenue, Portlaoise on Saturday, June 11.  

‘Laois Le Chéile – Laois Together’ was an inaugural event and invited all Laois communities, new and existing to acknowledge our diversity through creativity and culture.

The events saw the vibrancy and myriad of cultures within Laois and will include an extravaganza of music, dance, comhrá, and creative making.   

  • An early year’s music performance with children from the Montague Direct Provision Centre and the Hibernian Direct Provision Centre; 
  • African Drumming with Laois Africa Support Group; 
  • Workshops with Music Generation Laois Ukulele Circle and Bodhran/Drumming Circle; 
  • Exciting rhythms of Beat Goes on a STOMP-style  body percussion workshop with Ollie Tunmer.  
  • Laois Comhaltas joined the fun and young people participated in the Ciorcail Gaeilge and created a fusion with trad music and so much more.

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Afro-Brazilian Dance Company - Criola Dance who have performed at All Together Now, Electric Picnic, Body & Soul, Culture night, Five Lamps Festival and more raised the temperature with their high octane – interactive performance.  

Laois’s own Music Generation ‘Bandwagon House Band’, fronted by well-known Laois singers James O'Connor and Nuala Kelly, kicked off the afternoon's entertainment! The Bandwagon House Band was made up of Ros O'Meara on drums, John Davidson on fiddle, Siobhan Buckley on harp, David Harte on bass and Tommy Fitzharris on flute and concertina. 

These musicians are well-known in music circles in the midlands, and as Musician Educators with Music Generation Laois and Laois School of Music.  The Bandwagon, a mobile music venue, first shot to prominence when it appeared in Trailer Park in Electric Picnic in 2019, to festival-goers delight.  Since then, the musician collective known as The Bandwagon House Band have performed at events all over County Laois. MORE BELOW PICTURE

Karen McHugh is Chairperson of Laois Integration Network (LIN).

“Laois Le Chéile – Laois Together’ was a welcome opportunity to bring music and integration to the heart of Portlaoise. We were thrilled to be part of Cruinniú na nÓg - a day dedicated to the creativity and talent of young people in Laois, underpinned with the dynamic richness of Laois’s new communities: young people and their families.

"Portlaoise is one of the most culturally positive and diverse towns in Ireland with one in five Portlaoise people being non-Irish and 94 nationalities living in Laois speaking 57 languages. Laois Integration Network is proud to be part of this dynamic cultural milieu, with opportunities to interact with others – creating bridges to trust, respect, and understanding across cultures.   We had a jam-packed afternoon of celebration and cultural exchange”, commented Ms McHugh.  MORE BELOW PICTURE

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

“Music Generation Laois were delighted to celebrate Criunniú na nÓg 2022 on the grounds of Laois Music Centre with a range of music and arts workshops, and live music and dance events. Working in partnership with Laois Integration Network was very exciting. We wanted to ensure all young people in Laois and their families had the opportunity to celebrate Criunniú na nÓg – a national day of creativity for children and young people”, commented Ms Flannery.

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Aga Wypychowska is Laois Partnership's Community Development Officer.

“Laois Partnership was delighted to once again support young people to acclimatise to their new home of Laois through creativity and culture at Laois Le Chéile – Laois Together. This was a fantastic initiative by Laois Integration Network and Music Generation Laois to forge a new cultural event in the county and I hope it will become a regular occurrence for the  exploration and platforming of the unique talents of young people whist providing opportunities to create, make and experience a wide range of new activities”, said Ms Wypychowska. 

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Laois Le Chéile – Laois Together was a collaboration between Laois Integration Network and Music Generation Laois and was supported by the Creative Ireland Programme in partnership with Laois County Council, Local Live Performance Support Scheme, Laois Partnership Company, and Conradh na Gaeilge.

Ireland is the first and only country in the world to have a national day of free creativity for children and young people under 18.  ‘Cruinniú na nOg’ is a flagship initiative of enabling and encouraging the creative potential of children and young people.

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