Culture Night in Laois 2016 was a great success with a variety of events happening in the county on Friday 16th September.The highlight of the night was a Concert and Craft Fair at the Malthouse, Stradbally. Music Generation Laois, in conjunction with the Laois Arts Office, joined counties and cities across Ireland in celebrating Culture Night 2016. New Road, a traditional Irish band with Americana influences based in Sligo, with special guests Cathy Jordan (Dervish) and Leonard Podolak (The Duhks), performed in the beautiful surroundings of The Malthouse in Stradbally.
Leading up to the concert a craft fair was held in the courtyard area of the venue with an array of beautiful ceramics, pottery, art, woodwork and jewellery on display and on sale to the public.
Speaking after the concert, Rosa Flannery, Coordinator of Music Generation Laois, said that The Malthouse, which is privately owned ‘is a stunning location for a concert, brimming with individuality and quirkiness, which combined with the wonderful musicians performing on the night, made for a brilliant evening’s entertainment.’ A group of young musicians, who are part of over 3000 young people in the County who participate in weekly Music Generation Laois programmes, took part in a workshop earlier in the evening with New Road and Cathy Jordan. These young musicians then joined the band for an encore on stage in The Malthouse that night, much to the delight of the audience.
Music Generation Laois also held bi-lingual bodhrán workshops with Dale McKay, in Portlaoise Youth Education Centre in Railway Street.
Another highlight event was a Showcase Dance Performance called RE-Connecting by Laois Youth Dance Ensemble at the Plaza, County buildings, Portlaoise. In the open air and under the direction of dance teacher Erica Borges the talented group of young dancers presented very moving contemporary dance performances highlighting the best of their repertoire with some solo performances by two visiting male dancers from Dublin.
Artist Jock Nichol conducted a wonderful “An Plein Air” workshop for landscape artists in the wonderful surroundings of Emo Court Domain and the OPW kindly opened late to give a series of free tours of the house.
The Dunamaise Arts Centre had a great turn out for Culture Night, that gave a taste of the magic that happens there throughout the year. Activities included an exhibition of James Fintan Lalor memorabilia by Brendon Deacy, an art workshop and cafe exhibition opening by students of Caroline Keane, short film screenings in the cinema thanks to the Irish Film Board, visits to the studios of Dunamaise resident artists Rebecca Deegan and Chloe Young and the official opening of an exhibition by students of Midlands Prison Education Centre.