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
ETC – Events Tourism Communications ;



Applications Open for Laois Arthouse Stradbally month-long residency

The Laois Arthouse Stradbally are delighted to announce the annual month-long residency for July, August & September 2023

Applicants are open to Laois based artists in any artform; visual arts, music photography, writing, film etc. The award includes access to a studio space.

This is an ideal opportunity for artists wishing to try out working in a dedicated professional studio.

Each residency will give the artist time and space to work on their art practice in the wonderful surroundings of the Laois Arthouse, as well as opportunity to connect with the Stradbally community and other artists working and living there.

Please apply with a cover note detailing your art practice and what you hope to achieve in the month-long residency in Stradbally. Please indicate which month suits you best.

Closing date is Wednesday 28th June at 5pm.

Please email applications to

Cruinniú na nÓg Stradbally events

Laois Arthouse, Stradbally and Stradbally Library are inviting all young people to take part in the FREE Cruinniú na nÓg events that will be taking place in Stradbally on Saturday 10th June 2023. Below is various workshops hosted by Stradbally Library and Laois Arthouse Gallery, Stradbally.

Laois Arthouse Gallery 

City of the Dreams

Create a model city using geometric shapes from various materials with with artist Evgeny Chubatyy. The activity aims to develop creativity, ability to build logical chains, and spatial reasoning. Age range for 5-18 years.


Print Making and Mark Making

Create prints through different techniques of mark making. Mono printing and overlaying will be explored to create placement and repeat patterns with artist Adelle Hickey. Age range 5-18 years.


Sustainable Textile Art

Create a woven piece of art make out of sticks and found/donated wool. The aim of the workshop is to educate the young people about textile art with artist Niamh Bakker. Age range 5-18 years.

Time Slots: Each session is 50 minutes long

  • 10:00am
  • 11:00am
  • 12:00pm

Limited spaces available, booking is essential

To book a place, email or phone 057 868 9386

Stradbally Library 

The Last Beekeeper Storytelling

 Engaging and entertaining storytelling with Author Johnny Renko. Two best friends, one great journey, the adventure of a lifetime. Their quest, to find The Last Beekeeper, and save the world. Age range 9-12 years.

Starting Time:12:00pm


Limited spaces available, booking is essential

To book a place, email or phone 057 8641673

Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian for the duration of the workshops.







Summer Arts Programme and Exhibition with Bridget Flannery

Adult Summer Arts Programme 2023

Laois County Council Arts Office and the Laois Arthouse, Stradbally are delighted to announce the annual adult summer arts programme 2023.  The artist delivering the programme this year is Bridget Flannery. The programme is entitled Looking/Seeing/Making and takes place in the beautiful surroundings of the Malthouse, Stradbally, Co Laois.

The four-day course runs from Tuesday 13th June to Friday 16th June from 10:30am-4:00pm with an official exhibition opening at 5pm on Friday 16th June.

Over the four-days, Bridget will share her work methods and experience to assist and guide students.  This four-day programme focuses on development of work through sketchbook, word gathering, collage and material gathering, composition, texture, outdoor work and colour mixing.

The week concludes with an exhibition opening of Bridget Flannery’s work entitled Looking/Seeing/Making BOGLANDS and selected work by the participants at the Laois Arthouse, Stradbally on Friday evening, 16th June starting at 5pm.  All are welcome to attend the exhibition opening. The exhibition will remain open until the end of July.

Bridget Flannery is a visual artist living near the Laois-Carlow border in Ireland. She graduated from the Crawford College of Art and Design, Cork in 1981. Her work is mainly focused on painting and drawing. She has consistently exhibited in solo and group shows in Ireland and Europe. Her work is held in public and private collections nationally and internationally. Studio residencies include the Ballinglen Arts Foundation, Co. Mayo, Cill Rialaig Artists Retreat, Co. Kerry and The Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Co. Monaghan.  She is represented by Solomon Fine Art, Dublin. She works as a Part-Time Learning

Curator at VISUAL, Carlow and as a visiting tutor at Abbeyleix College of Further Education, ArtForm, Dunmore East, and numerous Plein Air painting events throughout the country.

There are limited spaces and booking is essential. Fees to be paid in advance. Fee €120 for the workshop, including notebook and viewfinder. Concession of €70 available for student and unemployed. Contact Laois County Council Cash Office – 05786 74308 for payment. Please quote: Masterclasses Bridget Flannery. Cash Office Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 9.30am – 3.30pm and please send the completed the booking form to Laois Arts Office.


Booking Form

Click here for the Booking Form

For further information please contact the Arts Office / 0578664109


PORTACH, acrylic, collage on board, 2023

Laois Bealtaine Festival 2023

Laois County Council Arts have partnered with the Dunamaise Arts Centre and Laois Library Service to present a selection of creative projects during the month of May celebrating the Laois Bealtaine Festival for older people. We invite people of an older age to join in some of the wonderful events that are happening in Laois for the Bealtaine Festival 2023.  In(ter)dependence is the theme for 2023.


Pictured for the Launch of the Laois Bealtaine Festival Programme 2023 were David O’Hara Senior Planner, Laois County Council, Diane Seale Laois Assistant Arts Officer, Angela McEvoy Director of Services, Laois County Council, Muireann Ni Chonaill Laois Arts Officer, P.J Kelly Leas Cathaoirleach, Bernie Foran Laois County Librarian. Photo Denis Byrne


Join Eileen Casey for a Memoir Writing Workshop on Monday 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th May from 11:00am – 1:00pm at Laois Arthouse, Stradbally. ‘Digging’ memoir workshops are geared towards unearthing personal or family history treasures. Mining past lives helps to illuminate and revitalise our own precious life story. Each session will be facilitated in a relaxing, enjoyable and thought provoking way. The various types of memoir will be explored together with important memoir elements such as identifying timeline, bringing scenes and characters to life and how to avoid that familiar tyranny – too much information. Triggers and prompts throughout the duration of the course ensures that stories which might otherwise be lost in the mists of time, will breathe again. Fee: €5 per session or €15 for four sessions. Booking is essential and fees to be paid in advance. Contact Laois County Council Cash Office – 05786 74308 for payment.

Book your free place for a workshop on Socially Engaged Arts with Older People taking place on Wednesday 17th May, 11:00am to 4:00pm. The training session, led by Sarah Thornton, will focus on understanding and delivering best practice when working creatively with older people.  It will share ideas drawn from the latest research and practice in the fields of ageing creatively, arts and health, and socially engaged arts.


There are many events taking place at the Dunamiase Arts Centre throughout May for Bealtaine. All events in the Dunamiase Arts Centre can be booked on the Dunamiase Arts Centre website  or ring the box office 057 866 3355


Arts Officer and Creative Ireland Laois Coordinator Muireann Ní Chonaill said; “we are delighted together with our colleagues in the county to bring a varied programme celebrating creativity in older age. This year’s Bealtaine Festival promises great variety to choose from and we hope people enjoy it.”

P.J Kelly Leas Cathaoirleach & Muireann Ni Chonaill Laois Arts Officer browsing the Laois Bealtaine Festival Programme for 2023. Photo Denis Byrne

A wide ranging programme of events also taking place at Laois Libraries as well as lifestyle and  wellbeing events run by Laois Sports Partnership.

Full programme available here. 

For more information contact:  Muireann Ni Chonaill, Arts Officer & Diane Seale, Acting Assistant Arts Officer. T:  057 868 9386 E:


Pictured for the Launch of the Laois Bealtaine Festival Programme 2023 were David O’Hara Senior Planner, Laois Co Co
Diane Seale Laois Assistant Arts Officer, Bernie Foran Laois County Librarian, Angela McEvoy Director of Services, Laois County Council. Photo Denis Byrne

Bealtaine Event: Memoir Writing with Eileen Casey

The Arts Office of Laois County Council is hosting a four-week memoir writing course with Eileen Casey at Laois Arthouse, Stradbally. The course runs for four Mondays in May; 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th from 11:00am to 1:00pm as part of the Bealtaine Festival.

Bealtaine is Ireland’s national festival which celebrates the arts and creativity as we age. Age & Opportunity Arts provides opportunities for older people to be more creative more often and to create meaningful participation.

Join Eileen Casey for a Memoir Writing: Writer as Archaeologist Workshop. ‘Digging’ memoir workshops are geared towards unearthing personal or family history treasures. Mining past lives helps to illuminate and revitalise our own precious life story. Each session will be facilitated in a relaxing, enjoyable and thought provoking way. The various types of memoir will be explored together with important memoir elements such as identifying timeline, bringing scenes and characters to life and how to avoid that familiar tyranny – too much information. Triggers and prompts throughout the duration of the course ensures that stories which might otherwise be lost in the mists of time, will breathe again.

Eileen Casey who is originally from the Midlands and is currently based in South Dublin. Her poetry, prose and short fiction are widely published in anthologies by Dedalus, Crannóg, New Island, Arlen House, Faber & Faber, The Nordic Irish Studies Journal, Ireland of the Welcomes, among others.

A Hennessy Award Winner (Emerging Fiction) and a Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Poetry Fellowship recipient, memoir pieces are anthologised in ‘A Fascination with Fabric’ (Arlen House), The Irish Times, ‘Portrait of a County’ (New Island) and broadcast on Sunday Miscellany (RTÉ).  ‘Black Ball Gown’ (memoir poem) featured as a short film by Paris based artists Cleary/Connolly.

She received a number of  Arts Council Awards together with commissions from County Offaly Arts. She holds an M.A. (Creative Writing) from The Oscar Wilde Centre, The School of English, Trinity College, Dublin.


Booking Details:

Limited spaces booking is essential. Fees to be paid in advance. Fee: €5 per session or €15 for four sessions

Contact Laois County Council Cash Office – 05786 74308 for payment. Please quote: Bealtaine Memoir Writing workshop.

Cash Office Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 9.30am – 3.30pm.


Full Laois Bealtaine 2023 programme can be found here

For further information: Email: or ring 057 868 9386



Call out for Arts and Cultural Facilitators


Laois County Council Arts & Libraries are planning a diverse range of programming during the coming year.


They wish to invite submissions from arts and cultural facilitators and producers seeking to join a panel for programming during 2023/24.


Programming could take place during Bealtaine, Cruinniú na nÓg, Culture Night, Leaves Festival of Writing & Music or as part of other programming.


Facilitators for the panel may be chosen to deliver workshops, specialist talks, storytelling, and other tailored events to children, adults, and specialist groups. We welcome events held through Irish, English and other languages.


They are seeking facilitators in the following areas:

  • STEAM activities such as Coding, Robotics, Fun Science, Virtual Reality, Electronics, and Creative Technologies.
  • Literacy-focused activities including storytelling, poetry readings, drama, author talks, and creative writing. Activities aimed at specialist groups, e.g. dyslexia friendly, sensory stories etc
  • Activities can also focus on Technology, development of skills in use of new technologies including: 3D Design, Audio Recording & Editing, Image Editing, Video Recording & Editing, Virtual Reality and Smartphone photography.
  • Film / Visual Art Music – performances and workshops
  • Climate Change: Events raising awareness of climate change, as well as talks and workshops with an emphasis on the practical side, such as gardening and up-cycling workshops.
  • Creativity: Wide range of activities that encourages and develops creativity in all ages.
  • Age Friendly: Activities and events that ensure the voices of older people are represented and promote the wellbeing and quality of life of all citizens and communities.
  • Youth Theatre: facilitators interested in delivering weekly workshops
  • Wellbeing: Workshops and events with a focus on health and wellbeing, including but not limited to mindfulness, yoga, and play therapy.
  • Live performance: music, drama, puppetry and spectacle shows for children young people and adults.


Specify which languages you can present your programme eg English, Irish, Ukrainian etc.


Where working with children, compliance is essential with appropriate legislation with regards to Health and Safety and Children First.


To be considered for the panel, please fill out the application form below and email the completed application form to


Application Form:

Call out for Facilitators 2023 Application Form


Deadline for expressions of interest:

Friday 21st April 2023

Formal Opening of Spontaneous People / Spontaneous Paintings

The Laois Arthouse, Stradbally, Co Laois, are delighted to present Spontaneous People / Spontaneous Paintings.

This two-person exhibition which opened recently, brings together works by artists Diana Chambers and Seamus Morton. The exhibition is curated by Dominic Thorpe. The exhibition opened on Saturday April 1st and runs to Friday 28th April.


The word ‘spontaneous’ refers to the impulse, instinct and natural feeling that fuels the work of both Chambers and Morton. The works presented in Spontaneous People / Spontaneous Paintings also demonstrate the deep curiosity and expression of two artists dedicated to art practice.

Diana Chambers works from the KCAT studio in Callan Kilkenny. She is a prolific painter who addresses a range of subject matter from portraiture to landscape to everyday scenarios and objects. She has shown in several exhibitions including at the West Cork Arts Centre, Riverbank Arts Centre, Galleria Art Kaarisilta Helsinki, and Farmleigh House Dublin.

We are delighted to bring together these artists for this unique exhibition. The reaction to the art works by the public has been extraordinary and we look forward to welcoming many visitors to the exhibition over the coming weeks,” commented Muireann Ní Chonaill, Arts Officer.

Seamus Morton works from his studio at Erkina House Rathdowney Co. Laois. He has developed a substantial body of work, including portraiture, landscape, and still life. He has exhibited his work in several exhibitions, including a sell-out solo show at Áras an Chontae, Laois County Council, Portlaoise, Dunamaise Arts Centre, and currently has work on display in the Midlands Regional Hospital Portlaoise.

Dr. Dominic Thorpe is an Irish visual artist and curator. He has shown extensively, including at the Bangkok Cultural Centre, Performance Space London, Galway

Arts Centre, the Golden Thread Gallery Belfast, and SASA Gallery Adelaide. Thorpe frequently engages with inclusion and education-based initiatives and has work in several public collections in Ireland, including the collection of the Arts Council of Ireland.

The exhibition was opened by Pádraig Naughton. Pádraig Naughton became Executive Director of Arts & Disability Ireland in 2005.  Working strategically in partnership with the arts sector ADI champions the creativity of artists with disabilities and promotes inclusive experiences for audiences with disabilities.  In 2022 Pádraig graduated with an LLM in International & Comparative Disability Law & Policy from the University of

Galway, also that same year The Kennedy Center, Washington D.C., recognized his lifetime achievement with an Excellence in Accessibility Leadership Award.


Exhibition Tour

An exhibition tour by Diana Chambers, Seamus Morton and Curator Dominic Thorpe, takes place on Thursday 20th April at 12.30pm in the Gallery, Laois Arthouse, Stradbally. Light refreshments will be served. Booking for this event is advisable at the  T: 057-8689386


Price List:

Click here for the Price List.