Portlaoise Parish Centre was transformed into a sea of yellow red and green last week as the Laois Lithuanian community welcomed their Ambassador to Co Laois.
Ambassador Egidijus Meilūnas travelled to Laois on Wednesday March 28th to meet with the Laois Lithuanian community and to recognise their valuable contribution to the county.
His visit was marked with a celebration event in the Portlaoise Parish Centre hosted by Mes Is Laois and supported by Laois Partnership Company.
The night was a colourful showcase of Lithuanian culture in Laois featuring performances from the Laois Lithuanian national dancing group, poetry, songs, kickboxing and a special performance from the children of Dancing Jewels Ballet School led by renowned Lithuanian ballerina Sviesa Joha.
Peter O’ Neill Chairperson of Laois Partnership Company welcomed Ambassador Meilunas to Laois.
He spoke about the close working relationship that Laois Partnership Company share with the Lithuanian community and expressed his desire to continue and develop this support for the community going forward. He noted that Laois is fortunate to have such a strong and vibrant Lithuanian community living here and he hoped that the Ambassador’s visit will inspire local Lithuanians to nurture their heritage and language.
Peter extended his gratitude to Anne Goodwin, CEO of Laois Partnership, her staff and members of Mes Is Laois for supporting and organising the wonderful celebration event.
Ambassador Meilūnas thanked everyone present for the warm welcome and hospitality he received during his visit to Portlaoise. He noted the many cultural similarities and shared values of both Irish people and Lithuanian people including friendship, warmth and love of potatoes!
He extended his gratitude for the cooperation and support that the Lithuanian community are receiving in Laois and expressed his desire to continue this friendly cooperation for the long-term future.
He also called to Portlaoise Library where he donated a collection of Lithuanian language books.