Culture Night Programme in Laois announced

Culture Night in Laois, Friday 21st  of September – FREE EVENTS across the County.

Celebrate Culture Night in Laois at some of the wide variety of free arts and culture events for people of all ages. Individual artists and arts organisations open their doors, hosting exhibition, tours, talks & performances for all to enjoy. The Laois Culture Night Ambassador 2018 is Actor Emmet Byrne, a native of County Laois.  He most recently starred as Sean Bourke in Cell Mates at The Hampstead Theatre, London and in RTÉ’s Striking Out. download programme here Laois Culture Night 2018 6pp A5

With 25 separate events happening in the county there is definitely something for everyone to enjoy this year.  Starting off in Portlaoise with a Circus Street Theatre performance and Circus Skills Workshop by Maria Corcoran and friends at the Plaza, County Hall including stilt walking, juggling, hula hoop, balance, acrobatics and more, from  4.30-5.30.  Explore Cultural Connections with music, song and dance displays by intercultural groups  from 6pm-8pm and an exhibition of Mountmellick Embroidery by the Portlaoise Group from 7.30-9.30 at the Parish Centre, Portlaoise.  The Dunamaise Arts Centre will have a free screening of the Oscar nominated animation film ‘The Breadwinner’ at 5pm and a wonderful group exhibition  ‘A Painted Otherworld’, curated by Rebecca Deegan, that includes work by eight artists who’s focus is the surreal,  opening at 7pm. Laois Youth Dance Ensemble will present 3 event including a  photographic exhibition Heart,  and Bridges, a Dance film by LYDE and Company B, as well as  a contemporary Dance Class Taster for young people age 14-24,  taking place at their new dance studio at  74A Main from 7pm-8pm.  Portlaoise Comhaltas will give Free Music Lessons for anyone interested in learning a traditional music instrument from 6pm-7pm in St Francis, New Road, Portlaoise.  Budding writers can join the Laois Writers Group to meet and join people with the same interest from 7.30, at the Portlaoise Library. Later in the evening at 9pm singer-songwriter James O’Connor and his band will appear at the Dunamaise Arts Centre, for a show presented by  Music Generation Laois. The Arts office will provide a Free bus tour to visit Roundwood House, Mountrath for a Pop Up Exhibition by artist Jen Donnery, leaving County Hall at 4.30pm and returning at 6.30pm (booking required 057 8664033/13)

Head to Abbeyleix at 6pm for Stories from the Past’at Heritage House. Local school children will read stories from the 1930’s schools collection initiative as well as new stories, and there is a talk on the Folklore Schools Collection.  Arles Art Group will host an exhibition of Arts and Crafts at the Community Hall, from 8pm-10pm showcasing some of their work.Find a Pop Up Gaeltacht – an informal evening of chat as Gaeilge with cupán tae nó caifé at  An Sean Chistin, Irey, Ballyfin, from 8pmThere will be free tours of Donaghmore Famine Workhouse led by Trevor Stanley from 6pm-8pm and free guided tours of Emo Court starting at 6pm and 7pm.

Durrow have an interesting interactive visual arts event calledFold and Rise’ at Castlewood Farm on the Abbeyleix road,   from 7.30-9.30 hosted by artist Maeve Collins –  Bring a mixing bowl!.  At Roundwood House Mountrath you can view  ‘Hidden Spaces’  a Jen Donnery Pop Up Art Exhibition, celebrating the beautiful hidden spaces at Roundwood House, commencing at 5pm. Visit Mountmellick Libray to see the Ashling Art Group exhibition. Mountmellick Comhaltas will give a performance at St Vincents Hospital, Mountmellick for  residents and staff from 6pm-7pm. A great nights entertainment is in store at ‘The Best of the Irish’ at the Balcony Theatre, Mountmellick, directed by Frances Harney, where the great Irish writers of prose, poetry, drama, music and song come alive  from 8pm-9.30pm.

Family fun comes to Portarlington with a Puppet Show and Storytime by Julie Rose McCormick, featuring Puss & Boots and story telling,  starting at 3.30pm. Or visit Mount Henry Art Studio in Killenard to meet the artists and experience life in an art studio, from 9am-7pm.  In Spink enjoy a traditional evening with Spink Comhaltas, as some of the best musicians in the country perform  together in Knock Community Hall from 8pm-9.30pm.

The Laois Arthouse Gallery in Stradbally will open for a specially commissioned exhibition titled ‘The Stradbally Six’  in honour of Culture Night with work on show from Laois Arthouse resident studio artists who come from Japan, and around Ireland. Artists include: Maria O’Brien, Caroline Keane, Jen Donnery, Eriko Yano, Cathy Whelan and David Tully –  from 5pm-8pm.  Families can also take in a Puppet Show and Storytime by Julie Rose McCormick in the Library, Stradbally from 6pm-7pm. Don’t miss a chance to take part in some of these free events around the county for Culture Night 2018.



Laois County Council would like to thank all those involved in organising events in Laois.

For more information about Culture Night please contact:

The Arts Office, Laois County Council, Áras an Chontae, Portlaoise, Co Laois

T: 057 8664033/13 E: or W:

or visit the National Culture Night website

Culture Night is brought to you by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and the Creative Ireland Programme in partnership with Laois County Council.

An Roinn Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta a dhéanann comhordú ar an Oíche Chultúir,

 i gcomhpháirt le Comhairle Chontae Laoise


Culture Night 2017 in Laois was a great success with twenty one separate events happening in the county on Friday 22nd September.

 The highlight event included  AnamSiamsa Tíre, The National Folk Theatre of Ireland performance at the Dunamaise Arts Centre.  Samba Drum Performance at The Plaza, Áras an Chontae, Portlaoise, led by drumming specialist Peter Crann and visiting Samba Band  “Itchy Feet Drummers” from Sligo, Cultural Connections included a myriad of performances and displays including; Lithuanian dancing, a Polish traditional dress display, a Syrian singing group and traditional Irish dancing and music. Visitors got the opportunity to try a traditional Irish musical instrument with Portlaoise Comhaltas and join in the exploration of different cultures. Also in Portlaoise a late night event The Equinox : Live Art at Kavanaghs brought in the audiences and students enjoyed storytelling with renowned storyteller Jack Lynch at Portlaoise Library .  art lovers enjoyed the opening of Bennie Reilly New Works at the Dunamaise arts Centre. Stradbally Arthouse Gallery opened for extended hours to showcase ‘Time and Space’ – A Celebration of Texaco Children’s Art Success in Laois, Ballyfin hosted two very successful events as traditional music lovers  enjoying an evening of music, dance, song, stories, cúpla focal agus cupán tae at An Sean Chistin and artist Kevin McCann opened his studio to welcome visitors to see where and how he creates his artwork with refreshments and some music added in.  In Mountrath an open Studio at  design Studios ‘Figure2Ground’  welcomed a  large group of visitors. Tours of our heritage sites included entry to Emo Court for two free tours and Roundwood House opened their doors this year to visitors to enjoy a tour of their beautiful Georgian period home and grounds.  Mountmellick Library was booked out early for a reading by local author Sheelagh Coyle, from stories of her life and experiences. The Hawthorne Bar in Portarlington hosted a very successful traditional evening with Portarlington Comhaltas Group and art lovers turned out in strength for the opening of an Exhibition of Paintings ‘The Fight for Colour and Wonder’ by new young artist Melissa Donagher at the French Restaurant in the French Quarter in Portarlington. Rathdowney Mens’ Shed also opened their doors to the public for an evening of music, song and the spoken word and to display their wonderful woodcraft.  Comhaltas groups in Laois had a busy evening with Spink Comhaltas hosting a wonderful traditional evening at Spink Community Hall and Camross Comhaltas hosting two shows in the Poets Cottage in Camross.  Members of Ratheniska Comhaltas also brightened the evening for residents of Droimnin Nursing Home, Stradbally with traditional Irish music performances  for residents, family and friends.

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