Roger Bennett in conversation with Alan Meredith about the exhibition Quercu at Laois Arthouse in Stradbally on Wednesday June 5th @ 7pm

On Wednesday June 5th at 7pm, Roger Bennett, the world renowned woodturner who is originally from Knockaroo, Co Laois will conduct a conversation with Alan, about the  exhibition Quercu, at the Laois Arthouse in Stradbally. It will be a wonderful opportunity to connect with the work and to meet people. Refreshments will be served.



Adult Summer Art Programme with Paddy Critchley at the Malthouse, Stradbally in July 2024

Laois County Council Arts Office and the Laois Arthouse, Stradbally are delighted to announce the annual adult summer arts programme 2024.  The artist delivering the programme this year is Paddy Critchley. The programme is entitled Staidéar Neamhbheo Still Life: working from life and takes place in the beautiful surroundings of the Malthouse, Stradbally, Co Laois.

The four-day course runs from Tuesday 2nd to Friday 5th July from 10:30am-4:00pm with an exhibition opening at 5pm on Friday 5th July at 6pm.

Over the four-days, Paddy will share his work methods and experience to assist and guide the students.  This four-day programme focuses on drawing and painting from life. This will primarily be a series of still life workshops in which they draw form still life compositions curated by Paddy, and progress to making acrylic paintings.

The week concludes with an exhibition opening of Paddy’s work and selected work of the participants also entitled Staidéar Neamhbheo Still Life at the Laois Arthouse, Stradbally on Friday evening, 5th July at 6pm.  All are welcome to attend the exhibition opening. The exhibition will remain open until July 26th.

Students will need to bring an easel, 4 canvases, two large and two small. Acrylic paints, brushes, and drawing materials. There are several easels and painting boards available on request from the Laois Arthouse.

Packed lunch and drinks also are recommended.

Paddy is an artist from Portlaoise, Co Laois. Since graduating from Limerick School of Art and Design in 2021, he has exhibited at The Hunt Museum and Limerick City Gallery of Art and the Dunamaise Arts Centre. Paddy has work in the Limerick City Gallery of Art and the Hunt Museum’s permanent collection. He was the recipient of the De Veres Art Award for Work of Distinction at the 191st Annual RHA Exhibition for the painting Nature Morte (After Beckett).  His practice is a constant interrogation of his environment. His political ideologies towards his environment shape how he sees the world and informs his practice. Paddy is conscious that in an ever increasingly chaotic world, where money and power rules, he wishes to shine a light on the ordinary person and the life he lives and knows.  Paddy Critchley aims to show different voices withing the social and economic backgrounds of his peers and their environments, these take the form on intimate portraits and still lives reminiscent of the American artist Alice Neel, who has had a big influence on Paddy’s practice. Paddy is also a painter and decorator and interested in the politics of this trade.

There are limited spaces and booking is essential. The course fee €120. Concession of €70 available for students and unemployed. Contact Laois County Council Cash Office – 05786 74308 to pay. Please quote: Masterclasses Paddy Critchley. Cash Office Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 9.30am – 3.30pm and please send the completed booking form to Laois Arts Office.

The booking form and further information can be found on or by clicking on the link below.  You can contact the Arts Office  / 057 8664109.

Booking Form PC Summer Adult Arts

Meet our new Studio Artists and Resident Artist here in The Laois Arthouse Stradbally

Greg Hallahan

My artwork is deeply rooted in honoring the architectural legacy of our ancient ancestors, showcasing the timeless power and simplicity that often go unnoticed within man-made structures.

Through my work, I consciously engage in the reintegration and reuse of recyclable materials, breathing new life into their humble origins. By predominantly utilizing recycled double corrugated cardboard, and more recently incorporating plywood, I aim to celebrate the inherent beauty found in the everyday. This choice serves as a testament to the eco-friendly importance of utilizing sustainable mediums in artistic expression. Similar to cardboard, which often goes unnoticed, both the material and the structure possess an undiscovered beauty waiting to be uncovered.

As viewers interact with the textures and forms of my pieces, they embark on a sensory journey that transcends the ordinary. Much like the cardboard boxes that once served as vessels for goods, my art carries the potential for transformation, inviting viewers to reconsider their perception of the world.

In today’s fast-paced world, where the extraordinary often hides within the ordinary, my art offers a moment of reflection. It prompts viewers to reconnect with the simplicity and intricacy of their surroundings, reminding them of the abundance of creativity and beauty concealed beneath the surface of everyday life.

Greg Hallahan artworks Laois Arthouse

Lia Laimbock

Lia Laimbock is a Dutch-born artist living and working in Ireland. A graduate from the Royal Academy of Visual Arts in The Hague The Netherlands in 1988. She has worked independently since. Worked with 4 different galleries in the early nineties for 10 years. Mostly solo exhibitions apart from group exhibitions. 3 Solo exhibitions in the Museum of Figurative Art in Groningen, Bergen op Zoom and the Kim Whanki Museum in Seoul South Korea after winning the Dutch Bienale Figurative Art. Series of 8 portraits of authors in the Museum of Literature in The Hague. Painted life size the inauguration double portraits of HRH King Willem Alexander and HM Queen Maxima.

Before falling in love with an Irish man and moving to Ireland she was a master teacher for the final year students at the Classical Academy in Groningen for 2 years. Exhibited twice at the Annual exhibition of the RHA. Exhibited 7 years at ART source at the RDS. Nation Wide interviewed Lia regarding her life size fibre glass resin racehorse that she painted to benefit the Injured Jockeys Fund and sensational Kids Fund. Permanently displayed in the Heritage Hotel in Killenard. Lia joined Incognito for 5 years to benefit the Jack& Jill Foundation. Apart from painting Lia does occasional ceramics and fabric collages. She prefers to paint highly detailed large scale paintings like Saint Brigid and Conleth at dawn painting commissioned by Kildare County Council now exhibited in the new Library in Naas. She recently donated her Brigid rooks and heron painting to Solas Bhríde near Kildare Town. Her work expresses her love for nature, animals and people in imaginary settings. Lia is delighted to work at The Arthouse in Stradbally and is looking forward to collaborate with the other Artists.


Bernadette Keating

Bernadette Keating is a visual artist with a multidisciplinary practice spanning still photography, video, text, sound, and installation. Working between conceptual and documentary approaches to image-making, she explores notions of space, place, and belonging in the built environment, agricultural landscapes and border territories. Her academic journey includes postgraduate studies in Photography & Media at the Academy of Fine Arts (HGB) Leipzig under the mentorship of Prof. Joachim Brohm, complemented by an MA in Documentary Photography from the University of the Arts London and a BA in European Studies from University of Limerick. Her artist book ‘Of Bounds’, published in 2022 by German publisher Lubok Verlag, intertwines photographic and text-based series, exploring themes of land reform, borders, and the design and construction of space. The book was long-listed by Stiftung Buchkunst (Book Arts Foundation) for Germany’s ‘Most Beautiful Art Book of the Year’ award in 2022. ‘Solo Work’, a black & white photographic series stemming from a residency in Oslo, earned a place in the 2018 biennial European Month of Photography Berlin. Additionally, her photo book ’30 Irish Landscapes’ made it to the shortlist for Amsterdam’s Unseen Photobook Award in 2015. Notably, her work was recently shown in the following group exhibitions such as: ‘In Our Own Image: The Politics of Place’ at Photo Museum Ireland, Dublin (2022), ‘Uneven Ground: Designing Places, Naming History, Naming Places, Designing History’ at the House of Photography Prague, Czech Republic (2020), and ‘Modernism. Iconography. Photography., The Bauhaus and its Consequences, 1919 to 2019’ at the Museum of Contemporary Art Magdeburg, Germany (2019). During ‘Zeitgeist 2024’, a year-long celebration of Irish arts and culture throughout Germany, her ‘Líne’ photo series will feature in ‘Changing States: Ireland in the 21st Century’ at the Haus am Kleistpark municipal gallery in Berlin from June to August. This collaborative exhibition, organised by IKS (German Institute for Art Documentation) & Photo Museum Ireland, is a showcase of Irish artistic talent. Bernadette’s current Arthouse studio residency revolves around the themes of “Time” and “Scale,” prompted by the discovery of an erratic boulder on the family farm in Laois. Beyond its geological significance, this boulder symbolises the passage of time, with marine fossils embedded within dating back 300 million years. Her project encompasses a variety of artistic mediums, including photography, videography, and specialised techniques like ultraviolet photography and photogrammetry. Through this multidimensional exploration, she aims to investigate concepts of form, space, and materiality in novel and playful ways. The boulder serves as the focal point for this exploration, serving as a visual and conceptual anchor for the project’s thematic investigations, and a catalyst for deeper philosophical inquiry. Ultimately, Bernadette endeavours to create visually arresting compositions that juxtapose human and geological time, and blur the boundaries between art and science.

Our Resident Artist – Stephanie Deady

Huge congratulations to our resident Artist in the Arthouse Stradbally Ms Stephaine Deady.    Stephanie was the recipient of the Hennessy Craig Award 2024. It was presented at the Royal Hibernian Academy.

Stephanie Deady graduated with a BA in Fine Art from Limerick School of Art and Design in (2014). Upcoming solo exhibitions include, Art House Laois (2024), Kevin Kavanagh Dublin (2024). Group and solo exhibitions include Hennessy Craig Award RHA (2024), Ballinglen First Biennial (2023), Boyle Arts Festival (2023), Measure for Measure (solo), Kevin Kavanagh Dublin (2022), The Pleasure Ground, Rathfarham Castle (2022), SILVER, Kevin Kavanagh, Dublin (2019), Hennessy Craig Award, Shortlisted Group Show, RHA Dublin (2019), Make Haste Slowly, Goeth-Institut Irland, Dublin (2018), Island Life, Kevin Kavanagh Dublin (2018), Primed Vision, Solo Exhibition, Kevin Kavanagh, Dublin (2018), An Act of Hospitality can only be Poetic, Highlanes Gallery Drogheda (2018), Atrium Space, ‘Temple Bar Gallery + Studio’s 6th Annual ‘Dublin Art Book Fair’ (2016). Exhibited at Art Rotterdam (2023) and London Art Fair (2020). Recipient of the Hennessy Craig Award (2024), the Claremorris Gallery Award Ballinglen First Biennial (2023), the Fergus Ahearn Award, Boyle (2023), Agility Award The Arts Council of Ireland (2021), Bursary Award The Arts Council (2021). Tony O’Malley Resident administered by the RHA (2017/2018).

Alan Meredith | Quercu | Exhibition Launch

Don’t forget to join us as our exiting new exhibition launching this weekend on Saturday 11th at 2pm. Meet the artist Alan Meredith for the Laois launch of his solo exhibition Quercu.

Alan Meredith | Quercu | Exhibition

At The Laois Arthouse Stradbally, Saturday 11th May at 2pm




Culture Night 2024 is taking place on Friday 20th September 2024.

We invite individuals and organisations to submit proposals for Culture Night 2024.

Proposals can include ANY and ALL creative activities throughout County Laois from 4pm till LATE!

Thanks for the continued support of the Arts Council and Local Authorities, all activities must be made available to the public free of charge.

Who can apply:

  • Individual Artist, Musicians and Creatives
  • Organisations, Community Centres, Older Persons Groups (Community Groups, Youth Work Groups, Sports Groups, Neighbourhood Groups, Creative, Cultural, etc.)
  • Creative Collectives
  • Creative Enterprises who engage with communities

Details and application forms for opportunities available from:

The Arts Office, Laois County Council, Aras an Chontae, Portlaoise, Co. Laois.

Tel: 057 8664163, Email:, Website:

Closing date for receipt of completed forms is Friday 21st June 2024

Culture Night – Expression of Interest Application Form


Arthur Broomfield Poetry Workshops 2024 as part of Bealtaine Festival

As part of the Bealtaine Festival, celebrating creativity in older age, The Arts Office of Laois County Council is hosting a three-week poetry writing course with Dr Arthur Broomfield at Laois Arthouse, Stradbally. The course runs for three Mondays in May; 13th, 20th, 27th May 2024 from 11:00am to 1:00pm and the opportunity to join in Bealtaine Festival poetry evening on Thursday 30th May at 7.30pm as part of the Bealtaine Festival.

Bealtaine is Ireland’s national festival which celebrates the arts and creativity as we age.

Writing Workshops:

Writing Poetry: Now is the right time to start: You can do it!

Arthur’s workshops will deal with the basic elements of poetry writing i.e. reading the good poets; inspiration, what is it, how do I react to it: rhyme and rhythm : are they necessary ? Imagery and naming: authenticity and originality, don’t be afraid to speak in your own voice, and what is the creative process, do I have it? Arthur wants the workshops to be enjoyable and hopes to see you there in what should be work and fun. There will be the opportunity to be part of a Bealtiane Festival Poetry Evening also.

Monday, 13th, 20th, 27th May 2024 11 – 1pm Course fee is €15 and in case of fee being a barrier to attending, there are some free places. Email to discuss.

The programme will conclude with a reading and refreshments for guests, family, and friends on Thursday 30th May 2024 at 7.30pm at the Laois Arthouse.

Dr Arthur Broomfield is a poet, essayist, and short story writer. He has published nine books including six poetry collections. He holds workshops for poets, mentees, and writers in workshops and on-line. in 2021 Arthur was awarded Poetry Ireland’s Poet Laureate for Mountmellick Co Laois. Arthur presented Mountmellick’s Town Poem ‘The Spirit of Mountmellick Speaks’ at a special event in the town.


Booking Details:

Dates:                                                   Monday, 13th, 20th, 27th, 30th May 2024

Fee:                                                       €15 for 3 workshops plus poetry evening

Time:                                                    11-1pm

Venue:                                                 Laois Arthouse, Stradbally, Co Laois, R32 DT28


Fees to be paid in advance directly to Laois County Council Cash Office – 05786 74308

Opening Hours:                                 Monday to Friday 9.30am – 3.30pm

Please quote:                                    Arthur Broomfield Poetry workshop

For further information:               Email:


Alan Meredith | Quercu | Exhibition

Alan Meredith | Quercu | Exhibition

At The Laois Arthouse Stradbally

Saturday 11th May 2024 at 2pm. Meet the artist Alan Meredith for the Laois launch of his solo exhibition Quercu.

The opening will be performed by Councillor Paschal McEvoy, Cathaoirelach of Laois County Council.

The Laois Arthouse are proud to exhibit Quercu – the oak – brings together a new body of work by Alan Meredith, on the occasion of his first solo exhibition in Ireland. The exhibition draws together separate, but related, ideas that the artist has been exploring in his practice for several years and reveals, if not the culmination of them, then certainly an advanced continuation and heightened expression of these ideas.

Oak is important.  As if predetermined, the artist grew up at The Oak, the location of his ancestral farmlands in County Laois, and it is here that his studio and workshops are now based. The Oak is the site of making.

It is also the dominant material in much of the artist’s work. The Residual Geometry series is hewn from a single tree that grew at that very same site. It is resurrected here as an interconnected body of furniture that closely echoes the form of its source material and is reflective of that place of origin.

The Curio Cabinet series is a dramatic reinterpretation and rendering of a quotidian form. Encompassing work on a diverse scale, a point of reference interestingly discussed by Stephen Tierney in the essay that follows, the cabinets range from the monumental to the compact, and reflect the artist’s success in realising sculptural pieces that confound and delight the viewer.

The Dearcán vessels are amongst the most recognisable of Alan’s work and are perhaps the most emblematic of his continued dialogue with the material, testing its strength and limitations. Following the Golden Fleece Special Award last year, we are excited to present the artist’s new large-scale pieces with their signature innovative folds.

Oak is also significant in terms of heritage and tradition, both national and artistic. Conscious of this, Alan Meredith carries forward a particular tradition of artists, craftspeople, and sculptors, realising forms inherent in their material. The body of work shown here represents Alan’s steadfast pursuit of these forms, always striving to realise a sense of optimal balance. This exhibition offers a moment for the artist to pause, after the arduous expenditure of time and energy, and for us, the audience, to reflect on his journey thus far and to wonder where yet it might go.

Alan Meredith, Residual Geometry Quercus I, Residual Geometry Quercus II

Alan Meredith began working with wood from an early age, his work to date straddles the boundaries of contemporary craft, sculpture and architecture and has been exhibited both nationally and internationally. Graduating with a Masters in Architecture from University College Dublin in September 2015, Alan currently works from his studio in County Laois, imagining and creating one-of-a-kind and speculative pieces for both public and private clients. Completed projects include one-of-a-kind furniture, public space design, and a collection of sculptural wood-turned vessels. Recent Awards include The Golden Fleece – Special Award 2023, while Alan’s work was Exhibited at ‘Collect’ – The Leading International Fair for Contemporary Craft and Design, London and at ‘Salon’, Park Avenue Armory, NYC 2022. The work is stocked in numerous galleries in Europe and the United States. Alan is a member of the Design and Crafts Council Ireland – Portfolio Critical Selection for 2021/22 and the Homo Faber Guide.

On Wednesday 5th June 2024 at 7pm, Roger Bennett, will conduct an exhibition talk with Alan Meredith, in the Laois Arthouse. Roger is a woodturner; he specialises in making distinctive bowls and vessels, which are inlaid with silver and coloured with wood dyes. There are examples of his work in many public and private collections, including those of the National Museum of Ireland, the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs, and Design and Crafts Council Ireland. In 2021 Roger was selected as an ‘Irish Craft Hero’, one of fifty makers selected from the period 1971-2021 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Design and Crafts Council Ireland: “makers whose work has significant legacy, has heralded new approaches or changed the way we look at the world”. He grew up in Knockaroo, Co. Laois, and now lives in Dublin.

Opening Times for Exhibition:

Exhibition opens until 21st June 2024, Open Daily Tuesday-Friday 1pm-4pm (or by arrangement)

For further details: E: T: 0578664109 w:




Bealtaine Festival 2024

For full listing of the Bealtaine 2024 programme please click here:  Bealtaine Brochure 2024


Dr Arthur Broomfield is a poet, essayist, and short story writer. He has published nine books including six poetry collections. He holds workshops for poets and writers on-line. Writing Poetry : Now is the right time to start: You can do it! Arthur’s workshops will deal with the basic elements of poetry writing i.e. reading the good poets; inspiration, what is it, how do I react to it: rhyme and rhythm: are they necessary? imagery and naming: authenticity and originality, don’t be afraid to speak in your own voice, and what is the creative process, do I have it? Arthur wants the workshops to be enjoyable and hopes to see you there in what should be work and fun.

Fee: €5 per session or €15 for the full three sessions (payable in advance)

Date: Each Monday for the month of May, 13, 20, 27th at 10.30am to 12.30

Date: Thursday 30th May, at 7.30pm Venue: Laois Arthouse, Court Square, Stradbally, Co Laois, R32DT28

Booking is essential, fees to be paid in advance directly to the Laois County Council Cash Office T:05786 74308 Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 9.30am – 3.30pm


Art Exhibition with Alan Meredith

Quercu – the oak – brings together a new body of work by Mountmellick born Alan Meredith, on the occasion of his first solo exhibition in his native Laois.

The exhibition draws together separate, but related, ideas that the artist has been exploring in his practice for several years and reveals, if not the culmination of them, then certainly an advanced continuation and heightened expression of these ideas. Oak is important. As if predetermined, the artist grew up at The Oak, the location of his ancestral farmlands in County Laois.

Opening times: Tues & Thurs 1pm-5pm & 5.30pm-8pm, Weds 10am-1pm 1.30-5pm Sat: 10am-1pm (entry through library) Fri 1pm-4pm (entry through Laois Arthouse) For more details contact:

Meet the Artist Saturday 11th of May 2 pm meet the artist Alan Meredith for a tour and conversation about the exhibition.

Bríd Faoin Spéir Thursday 1 February 2024 Portarlington

Bríd Faoin Spéir: A Free Brigid inspired arts event

in Portarlington on Thursday 1 February 2024

Celebrating Female empowerment, this is the first in a series of 5 public arts events taking place in Roscommon, Cork City, Kerry, Laois and Tipperary which aim to promote the arts and encourage more arts based outdoor performances.

The first in a series of five free public arts events throughout the country, that have been developed to promote the arts and encourage more arts based outdoor performances, will take place this St. Brigid’s Day (Thursday 1st February) at the Market Square Portarlington from 4pm – 8pm.

Bríd Faoin Spéir, which is free for all to attend, will be facilitated by Laois County Arts Office and award-winning multidisciplinary Port Art Collective artist group.

The theme of Bríd Faoin Spéir fittingly draws inspiration from Brigid as a triple goddess of healing, fire and poetry.  The event includes appearances by leading poets Ann Egan, Laura Murphy (who featured in RTE’s show celebrating St Brigid last year) and Enda Wyley.

Following writing workshops with Brigid expert poet and writer Ann Egan, children from Presentation Primary School in Portarlington will share poems and visuals on the day.

Poet and poetry pharmacist Enda Wyley will be offering 10-minute Poetry S.O.S sessions, selecting and prescribing a Vital Signs poem which participants can bring home and read at their leisure.  Vital Signs, published by Poetry Ireland, is an anthology of powerful and courageous responses to the human experience of illness and healing.

There will also be eco-friendly creative workshops and craft making demonstrations from Port Art Collective artists.  These include postcards and printmaking with Leonie Connellan; reviving the Celtic tradition of making symbols, spirals and swirls to upcycle scarves in a Brat Bhride making workshop with Rita O’Loughlin; a live painting demonstration from visual artist Rebecca Deegan; a making of a willow belt by Gerry Smyth; and a spinning and weaving demonstration from Crafty Dreams.

There will be music from female led musicians Brinda Irani and Crime Star plus Portarlington’s Ukrainian Choir, Music Generation Laois and Portarlington Concert Band on the outdoors stage and an outdoors street painting jam from the Minaw Collective.

The event will culminate in a stunning fire performance by Broken Theatre alongside poetry from Laura Murphy.

Commenting ahead of the Portarlington POP Art event, Muireann Ní Chonaill, Arts Officer for Laois County Council, said, “We are thrilled and excited to host this free celebration of arts and poetry for the public to enjoy, free of charge, in the fabulous outdoor setting of the Market Square.  We are grateful for the support of the Arts Council and all our partners in making this possible. ”

All of the pilot events in this project will endeavour to reduce the impact on the environment. Everyone attending is encouraged to be conscious of this by bringing along their own keep cups, picnics and are asked to recycle their waste in a sustainable and responsible way. The events team aim to further minimise waste by working with eco-friendly suppliers and vendors and by encouraging the use of the Solar Waste Bins in the town on the day.

The POP Arts Events series includes:

  • Market Square, Portarlington, Co. Laois, Thursday 1 February 2024 – St Brigid’s Day
  • Isle of Geese, Tralee, Co. Kerry, Saturday 2 March 2024 – Youth Mental Health Awareness Day
  • Somers Park, Castlerea, Co. Roscommon, Saturday 20 April 2024 – World Circus Day
  • Elizabeth Fort, Cork City, Sunday 28 April 2024 – Cork World Book Festival
  • National Drawing Day, Tipperary Town, Co. Tipperary, Saturday 18 May 2024

It is part of the partnership initiative Planning for Outdoor Performance (POP). POP is delivered by 5 Local Authority Arts Offices (including Roscommon – lead partner, Cork City, Kerry, Laois and Tipperary), in partnership with the National Resource Organisations ISACS, Poetry Ireland, Music Network and Theatre Forum.  It is supported by Promenade, who help artists and communities to create incredible new arts experiences in Ireland’s public places and unusual spaces.  The initiative is funded by the Arts Council’s Invitation to Collaboration Scheme with additional local authority support.  For more information see here:


For more details about the Laois event on 1 February please contact




Media Queries to Clair Phillips or Niamh Murphy
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