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05 Jul 2022

Laois charity gala ball ahead with Claire Byrne as special guest

Laois charity gala ball ahead with Claire Byrne as special guest

Claire Byrne with Laois/Offaly Palliative Care team and Gala Ball Organisers at the 2020 ball. Photo: Michael Scully

Tickets have gone on sale for the glitziest night of the year in Laois.

After a two year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Portarlington/Killenard Charity Gala Ball is back with a bang in September.

The ball at the Heritage Killenard hotel is a formal dress event, with a red carpet and the smooth tunes of JL Sounds on arrival.

Dinner is a four course meal including wine, with a big raffle guaranteeing at least one prize per table. Dancing follows until late with top Laois band Transmitter.

The fun and glamorous night is once again being organised by the enthusiastic Portarlington trio of Maria Molloy, Collette Kennedy and Marie Corcoran, pictured below with posters and tickets for this year's ball.

It is their 16th annual charity ball, with many raised thousands of euros for Laois good causes in that time.

The last ball was held in February 2020 just before the pandemic in aid of the planned new Midlands Hospice.

It is for the same cause this year and once again they will welcome Laois woman, RTÉ star Claire Byrne, patron of the Midlands Hospice build campaign, as their special guest. 

"We are going with the same good cause again because of the amount of money needed. We are in the only region in Ireland without a dedicated hospice. The nurses tell us it would make such a difference for people needing palliative care who have nowhere else to go," Marie told the Leinster Express.

"Tickets are selling well already. People can't wait to get dressed up and get out again. It is always such a fun night, everyone lets their hair down and it's all for charity so there is a great feelgood atmosphere, we are all there for the one cause.

"It also gives a great boost to local businesses with everyone getting the hair and nails done, bookings are happening already," she said.

People come from all over Laois to the ball, with the option to book entire tables of 8, 10 or 12 or even come solo.

"The Heritage Killenard is a wonderful venue for it, they have hosted our ball from the very start. We began this after going together on the train to Clontarf Castle for a charity function with Gerry Ryan. It was fantastic, we said why can this not be happening in the midlands so we put our heads together and held our first one in 2007," Maria Molloy said.

They give a big thanks to Nurse Phyllis Howlin from the HSE who is helping get the word out and selling tables of tickets.

The ball takes place on Saturday, September 24 at 7pm.  Tickets are €65, available from the Saoirse Care charity shop on Main Street Portarlington or through the ladies themselves. Call Marie on 087 7589896.

The Midlands 16 bed hospice is planned to serve Laois, Offaly, Longford and Westmeath, to be built beside Tullamore hospital. 

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