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08 Aug 2022

Birds, bees, bats, planes and portraits in Portlaoise for heritage week

Birds, bees, bats, planes and portraits in Portlaoise for heritage week

Biologist and broadcaster Eanna ní Lamhna in Portlaoise as part of Laois Heritage Week.

The people of Portlaoise are spoiled for choice for Laois Heritage week this August 13 to 21, with special events including talks on birds and bees, aviation, art local books, female Laois heritage pioneers and a guided tour of the historic town.

You can meet beloved Irish broadcaster, biologist, author and environmentalist Éanna Ní Lamhna for a free, no-nonsense but humorous talk on the importance of local biodiversity and wildlife in Laois.

This talk will take place in Portlaoise Library, on Wednesday the 17th of August at 6pm. This is a free event, but places are limited, so booking is essential. Contact portlaoiselibrary@laoiscoco.ie or 057 8622333

A very special flag is coming home to Laois as part of the week.

Fitz and the Famous Flag, happens at the Midlands Park Hotel on Saturday, August 20, 3 to 4pm.

There will be a presentation to Laois County Council by Mr B. Ross MacMahon of a US Flag which was presented to Col James Fitzmaurice during the tour of the United States undertaken by the three aviators following their successful first crossing of the Atlantic from Europe to America, in April 1928, in the Bremen aeroplane. Col Fitzmaurice grew up in Portlaoise.

This priceless artefact is a tangible link to the enormous celebrations all across the US following the flight, which opened up air traffic between Europe and the US.

The presentation will be followed by a talk on Fitzmaurice and the US Tour by Teddy Fennelly, Chair of the Col Fitzmaurice Commemoration Committee.

The event will also feature the launch of the Col Fitzmaurice Digital Archive, featuring original archive material collected by Teddy Fennelly, conserved and digitised with the help of Heritage Council funding, and now made available online through the Laois Local Studies Digital Archive https://laoislocalstudies.ie/

The flag will no doubt form part of a permanent exhibition of Portlaoise's groundbreaking aviation history, planned in the future, which includes the restored Portlaoise Plane, the first plane built in Ireland.

Find out about the violent military beginnings of Portlaoise town, in a free guided tour on Sunday, August 14.

It will be led by Michael Parsons from Laois Heritage Society who is also the former chair of the Heritage Council of Ireland. Meet at JFL statue at County Hall, R32EHP9.

Described as a walking tour at a gentle pace, it will be weather dependent. Contact ccasey@laoiscoco.ie for more.

A fascinating talk on two Laois women who were pioneers of sustainable heritage in Ireland, will be held in Portlaoise library on Thursday, August 18.

It will be given by local historian and former Laois Historian in residence Regina Dunne, who will tell all about the lives of Helen Roe of Mountrath and Lucy Franks from Castletown. Contact Portlaoise library.

At the Dunamase Arts Centre, visitors can enjoy an exhibition of portraits celebrating older people of Laois, created by local artists. The opening of the Fadó exhibition is free to all, on Thursday, August 18 at 7pm.

Bats about Rooks is a guided walk through the People's Park by Laois Offaly Wildlife Trust's crow expert Ricky Whelan, and Kildare Bat Group's Anna Collins, on Friday August 19 from 8.30pm to 10pm.

There are over 40 events across Laois over the week of August 13 to 21. 

See the full schedule of Laois Heritage Week events across the county in a free brochure also available online via the council's website www.laois.ie

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