A series of five free public events throughout the country have been developed to promote the arts and encourage more arts-based outdoor performances.
The first of these five events – ‘Bríd Faoin Spéir’ – will will take place on Thursday, February 1 (St Brigid’s Day) at Market Square, Portarlington from 4pm – 8pm.
Bríd Faoin Spéir is free for all to attend, and will be facilitated by Laois County Arts Office and award-winning multidisciplinary Port Art Collective artist group.
The theme of Bríd Faoin Spéir draws inspiration from Brigid as a triple goddess of healing, fire and poetry.
The event includes appearances by leading poets Ann Egan, Enda Wyley, and Laura Murphy (who featured in RTE’s show celebrating St Brigid last year).
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 SOS 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 workshop with Rita O’Loughlin,
- A live painting demonstration from visual artist Rebecca Deegan,
- A making of a willow belt by Gerry Smyth,
- A spinning and weaving demonstration from Crafty Dreams.
Additionally, there will be music from:
- Female led musicians Brinda Irani and Crime Star,
- Portarlington’s Ukrainian Choir,
- Music Generation Laois,
- Portarlington Concert Band,
- 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 initiative is funded by the Arts Council’s Invitation to Collaboration Scheme with additional local authority support.