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In Pictures: Weekend of harping and piping for Tionól 2021 a huge success in Laois

Music Generation Laois’s annual Tionól for harp and pipes took place at the weekend from Friday, October 29, to Sunday, October 31, with events in Portlaoise, Stradbally, and online.

Young people from all over Ireland took part. Tionól, which means gathering, includes music workshops, performances and a busy social schedule for all involved.

On Friday afternoon, after a series of music workshops, the teaching team performed for students in the hall of the Dunamase College Campus on Tower Hill, including Michael Rooney, Catriona McKay, Siobhan Buckley, Niamh O’Brien, Jill Devlin, Deirdre Ní Bhuachalla, Grainne Hambly and William Jackson on harp, and Pádraig McGovern, Joseph Byrne, Alain Carroll and Leonard Barry on uilleann pipes.

Saturday was another busy day of workshops that culminated with a live-stream concert coming from The Malt House, in Stradbally.

The livestream concert showcased new harp music by Music Generation Louth, Waterford, Laois, Clare and Mayo composed in collaboration with Catriona McKay, Artistic Director of the Tionól ’21 Harp Programme. Young pipers from Waterford, Sligo, Tipperary and Laois performed arranged music they rehearsed  and developed with guest piper from Co. Monaghan, Pádraig McGovern.

Pipers and harpers also came together and performed a beautiful rendition of ‘The Eagle’s Whistle.’

The livestream concert also included collaborations with Liam Ó Maonlaí  of the Hot House Flowers and double bassist Martin Brunsden, joined by Music Generation Laois percussionist Ros O’Meara. A very special part of the Saturday evening concert included a performance of Liam Ó Maonlaí’s ‘Worry Not’ accompanied by over 30 young harpers.

Sunday 31 October marked the final day of Tionól ‘21. The festival ended with a series of closing parties, a student closing party in the Hall of Dunamase College Tower Hill campus, featuring Catriona McKay on harp, Leonard Barry on pipes who were joined by the wonderful Shetland fiddle player,  Chris Stout. The trio took to the stage once again on Sunday evening for a Tionól ’21 Closing Party in Andy Bergin’s bar, bringing Tionól ’21 to a brilliant musical finalé.

Participating Music Generations in Tionól ‘21 included Louth, Mayo, Waterford, Clare, Sligo, Tipperary, Donegal and Laois.

Speaking after the festival, Rosa Flannery, Music Development Officer with Music Generation Laois explained, ‘Tionól 2021 has been a most magical weekend.

“We kept Tionól going by moving online in 2020, and I think that really helped sustain our connection with young harpers and pipers across Ireland. We are delighted to say that over 110 young people took part in Tionól 2021.’

Tionól Harp and Pipes ’21 is supported by the Music Generation/ Arts Council Partnership Creativity and Collaboration Fund. Music Generation is Ireland’s National Music Education programme, initiated by Music Network, and co-funded by U2, The Ireland Funds and The Department of Education. Locally Music Generation Laois is part of Laois Offaly Education and Training Board, and supported by Laois County Council.

See musicgenerationlaois.ie for more details.

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.