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A Huge number of events are happening in Laois for the Bealtaine Festival  don’t miss the opportunity to take part this year

Come and join in the celebrations!

For the month of May the Arts Office, Laois County Council invite people of an older age to join in some of the wonderful events that are happening in Laois for the Bealtaine Festival 2019.  In celebration of Creativity the theme for 2019  is “Hospitality” to signal the warm welcome offered by the festival.


Wednesday 1st  May , Laois Arthouse Stradbally 4pm Free

Launch of ‘Fiesta’ an exhibition by the Stradbally Active Retirement Group, open throughout the month of May. A selection of paintings, including still life and landscapes the group have developed over the year.

Friday  3rd , 10th , 17th May Laois Arthouse Stradbally  11.30am – 1pm  €5

“Reconnect” Pottery Workshop runs over three weeks with ceramic artist Cathy Whelan. These workshops will explore the therapeutic nature of clay through simple techniques and mindful movements. Create a unique piece of work in a creative and relaxed environment. Suitable for all levels, no previous experience is necessary. Participants are advised to bring an apron. Booking essential – Limited numbers – T: 057 8664033/13 or E: artsoff@laoiscoco.ie

Cathy Whelan is a Ceramic Artist and Educator. A graduate of the National College of Art and Design.  Cathy’s work has been exhibited as part of a group show in Gallery Zozimus, Dublin and as part of a collaborative exhibition in NCAD.

Saturday 4th May  Laois Shopping Centre 2pm – 5pm

St Josephs Mountmellick Embroidery Group will  exhibit and showcase this age old craft at an open afternoon at Laois Shopping Centre, where the public are invited to take part or view how the work is made, to encourage new members to join the group.


Wednesday 8th 15th 22nd & 29th May  Laois Arthouse  11am – 1pm  €5

Have you got something to say; we grow, we age and along the way we gather knowledge, information, things happen, life happens and our story grows we should celebrate and record its highs and lows.  The series of workshops is a chance for you to explore your stories, in a lively and friendly atmosphere whether through, prose or poetry or a mixture of both. Share work by other writers, write our own pieces and share them on the last week.

Jean O’Brien is an award winning poet who has published five collections of poetry and is a regular contributor on Sunday Miscellany. She is a former writer in residence for Co. Laois and has many years experience in tutoring in places as diverse as the Irish Writers Centre, Prisons, Schools, Community groups and at degree level. She tutors in short story, memoire and poetry.  Booking essential – Limited numbers – T: 057 8664033/13 or E: artsoff@laoiscoco.ie

Tuesday 7th  May St Brigids Hospital, Shaen, Portlaoise, 2.30pm –   invite only

Monday 13th  May  St. Vincent’s  Hospital Mountmellick, 2.30pm –  invite only

Monday 20th May  Abbeyleix Hospital, 1.30pm – invite only

“Musical Memories” musicians from Laois School of Music and Music Generation Laois will give a series of performances at Shaen Hospital, St Vincent’s Hospital Mountmellick and Abbeyleix Hospital for residents and day care visitors. Family members are encouraged to attend and share the musical memories with their loved ones.  Denise Boyle (Fiddle) Nuala Kelly (Vocals/Guitar) and Mary Wisely (Piano Accordian). Audience participation welcomed.  (for residents and out-patients).

Saturday 11th May   Lugacurren Hall, 8.30pm   Admission €5

Launch a new collection (E.P.) of songs by Ballylinan songwriter Paul Hickey along with his band ‘Soakin’ Rope’. It will, also, feature Lugacurren traditional group ‘Ol, Ceol agus Craic. Assisted by the Arts Office, this will be a small intimate event with a warm welcome for all who attend.

Saturday 18th May   St Canices Hall, Borris-in Ossory 2pm-5pm  Admission €2

Afternoon of entertainment including Bingo, Music, Song and Dance and afternoon tea Organised by the Borris-in-Ossory Social Services Committee.

Tuesday 28th May An Sean Chistin, Ballyfin 11am

Line Dancing for fun  A warm welcome to all who have Line Dancing on their “to do list”. Hospitality, fun and gentle exercise guaranteed.

Wednesday 29th  May Parish Centre, Portlaoise 11am – Free(donations welcomed)

Sing for Joy Choir  – This vibrant community choir, offers a céad Míle fáilte to come and enjoy songs to welcome Summer.  All are welcome to join this talented group for a very pleasant Bealtaine event.


All events can be booked online www.dunamaise.ie; over the phone on 057-8663355 or in person at our Box Office, Dunamaise Arts Centre, Church Street, Portlaoise. Discounted rates for groups on request where possible.

Saturday 4th May 8pm  €22/€20

Join Chris Difford at Dunamaise as he plays hit songs from his 90’s UK band Squeeze back catalogue and recounts stories from his 40 year career. Unmissable!

Tuesday 14th May, 8pm €16/€14

Take 2 Drama Productions present Cheque Please!

Wednesday 15th May  2pm  €5

Portlaoise Active Retirement Association present their annual Bealtaine Variety Show.

Tuesday 21st May 12noon AND 8pm €18/€16/€12

What Good is Looking Well When You’re Rotten on the Inside?  by Emma O’Grady

Touch Tours of set available pre-show on request for visually impaired patrons and their guests

8pm show also has captions (sub-titles) live on stage   One month before his death, retired civil servant and man of few words Paddy O’Grady had a sudden urge to talk and recorded hours of musings on life and absurdist stories onto cassette tapes. From this fascinating archive, Paddy’s granddaughter (Emma O’Grady from Mountrath) has created a charming show, tinged with warm nostalgia and great humour.  With thanks to Bealtaine Festival, performances are enhanced for patrons with visual and hearing difficulties. Presented with support from Arts & Disability Ireland.

Friday 24th & Saturday 25th May  8pm  €16/€14

Laois Fourth Wall Theatre Group present Sive by JB Keane


Booking is recommended as places are limited – contact individual library

                        Abbeyleix Library Events

Thursday 2nd  May   6pm Free

Adult Book Club

Wednesday 1st  May   3pm Free

Carnation Theatre presents ‘Greyhound on Train’, a play that that follows the real life stories of women who took part in the War of Independence.

Thursdays in May  6pm Free

Adult Chess Club: Every Thursday

Thursdays 2nd  May  10.30am Free

Knitting Club

Tuesday 7th May    3pm-5pm  Free

Watercolour Painting with Caroline Keane

Tuesday 21st  May  2pm-5pm  Free

Drawing for Beginners with Caroline Keane

                        Mountrath  Library Events

Tuesday 14th May           10.30am – 12.30pm   Free

Silk Fibre Workshop with artist Caroline Keane.  Participants will learn how to make silk fibre sheets and 3D pieces using silk fibres, threads and found objects. Limited numbers. Booking T: 057 8756378

Thursday 23rd May  6pm – 8pm Free

Art Demo and Talk with Artist Tom Joyce.  Tom will demonstrate landscape painting techniques and explain composition, costs involved, how to choose and mix paints, what to buy and what not to buy. Limited numbers. Booking T: 057 8756378

                        Mountmellick  Library Events

Wednesdays in May 11.30am-12.30pm Free

Yoga & Mindfulness with Mary Kavanagh.  Participants can use a chair or a yoga mat

Booking is essential. Call Mountmellick Library 057 8644588

Portarlington Library Events

Fridays  in May  10.30am Free

Knitting/Crochet Group. Bring your own work and join a Knitting Group. Meet new people and chat about the craft.

Thursday 2nd May  10.15am-11.30am  Free

Papermaking Craft Workshop with artist Caroline Keane. Participants will learn how to make paper and how to use everyday items to make the design unique. Booking Required T: 057 8643751

Thursday 9th May  10.15am-11.30am  Free

Watercolour Cards Workshop with artist Caroline Keane. Participants will  learn some simple watercolour techniques to create simple and elegant cards or postcards. Booking Required T: 057 8643751

                        Portlaoise Library Events

History Lectures at Portlaoise Library, Tuesdays, 7.30pm 

A series of history lectures on a number of topics with guest lecturers. Booking recommended T: 057 8622333

  • 14th May 1919 and the Irish War of Independence: A National and Regional Perceptive by Dr. Richard McElligott
  • 21st May Fake News and Irish Freedom by Ian Keneally
  • 28th May Women of the Irish Revolution – The Wider World by Dr. Kate O’Malley
  • 4th June The Massacre of Mullaghmast in 1577 by Turtle Bunbury

Literature at Eleven, 11am-12.00pm

Every other Thursday (2nd, 16th & 30th May) –

Join a group of literature enthusiasts to read a poem and piece of prose and discuss. All welcome.

Wednesday 1st May  Book Club  6.30pm

 Wednesday 1st May Portlaoise Library 6.30pm.

See Portlaoise Bookclub on Facebook for this months reading.

Wednesdays Ciorcal Comhrá, 5.15pm

Join in Irish conversations in a relaxed atmosphere.

Wednesdays Knitting/Crochet groups 11am

Bring your own work and join a Knitting Group. Meet new people and chat about the craft.

Thursday 16th May  Genealogy Club  7.30pm

Come along to the library to meet others interested or engaged in family history. Meet new people hear their experience and tips in genealogy.

 Wednesdays Board Games Club for adults  7.30pm

This group meet in the library – Bring a game or just yourself and join in the fun.

Wednesday 29th May Heart Check by The Irish heart Foundation  by appointment

The Irish Heart Foundation will visit Portlaoise Library to check pulse and blood pressure.  Booking essential T: 057 8622333

Flower Arranging for Beginners at Portlaoise Library, time TBC

Bring along your own flowers to create an arrangement under Edel’s guidance at this workshop for beginners.  This is a free event but booking is essential. Time TBC Booking essential T: 057 8622333

Thursday 2nd May Theatre Production  6.30pm

Grey Hounds on the Train – The War of Independence story that no one has told. Meet four women, not ordinary women, but fighters in a struggle to achieve Irish Independance. Booking advised.

Rathdowney Library Events

Thursday  9th May   8pm

Spuds and Speaks with Michael Creagh and guests.  A night of story, song and spuds.

Lifestyle and Wellbeing Events

Wednesday 8th May Portlaoise Leisure Centre, Portlaoise 11am – 12.00 Free

Activate Together, Community Walk: Casual outdoor walk using our Activator Walking Poles at your own pace. All Welcome, Weather Permitting! Please call 057 8671248 to register your interest

Friday 17th May, Mountrath Community Forum, (former Brigidine Convent), Mountrath 11am – 1pm  Free

Laois Sports Partnership Games Morning, with Laois Mens Sheds.  A fun introduction to the game of “Scooch”! Pre-Booking Essential.  T: 057 8671248 for more info or to register

Sunday 26th May Camross Parish Hall, 2pm €5 (Book)

Join members of Camross Active retirement Group for a fun afternoon of bingo. All welcome to attend.

Tuesdays in May, MDA Carpark, Mountmellick 10am – Free  

Mountmellick Walking Group encouraging beginners to join their weekly walks. All welcome! More info  T:  086 1020431.

Tuesdays in May, MDA Carpark, Mountmellick 10am – Free  

Mountmellick Walking Group encourages beginners to join their weekly walks. All welcome! More info T:  086 1020431.

Tuesdays in May, St Fintans Hall Carpark, Mountrath 11am – Free  

Mountrath Ramblers Walking Group encourages beginners to join their weekly walks.

Supported by Arthritis Ireland, Laois. All welcome! More info T: 086 8852503

Tuesdays  & Thursdays in May, Portlaoise Leisure Centre  7.30pm – Free  

Portlaoise Stepping Out Walking Group welcomes new members to join all walking sessions are 30/40 minutes duration. More info T: 087 9395670.

Wednesdays in May, Beside Parochial Hse, Stradbally  10.30am – Free  

Stradbally Walking Group encourages beginners to join with weekly walks.

Supported by SVT Community Sports Hub. All welcome! More info T: 086 8465876

Tuesdays in May, Oriel House, Portarlington 6pm – Free 

Port Trail Walking Group encourages beginners to join their weekly walks – approx 5 km. All welcome! More info T: 086 3288858

Tuesdays in May, Rathadaire Church, Ballybrittas  9.30am  – Free 

Ballybrittas Walks encourages beginners to join them for a 40 min walk approx. (meeting beside the

motorway bridge) More info T: 086 4026321

Mondays & Fridays in May, Cullohill Community Hall  7.30pm – Free 

Cullohill Walking Group –  Open Group, All welcome! More info T: 087 2160744

Tuesdays in May, The Swan Inn  7pm – Free 

The Swan Walkers welcomes new members to join – All welcome! More info T: 086 3850905 or 085



The Arts Office acknowledges the financial support of the Arts Council.  Thanks to the Manager and Staff of the Dunamaise Arts Centre and the community groups and individuals throughout the county who are supporting or taking part in the Laois Bealtaine Festival 2019.

For more information contact:  Muireann Ní Chonaill, Arts Officer, Bridie Keenan, Assistant Arts Officer. T:  057 8664033 E:  artsoff@laoiscoco.ie.

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