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Latest Laois Event: Free St. Brigid-inspired event for Portarlington
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Latest Laois Event: Free St. Brigid-inspired event for Portarlington

Bríd Faoin Spéir: Brigid-inspired arts event coming to Portarllington

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 performanceswill 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.  

A powerful new poem and film by Herstory Poet in Residence, Laura Murphy in celebration of our matron Saint and Goddess, St. Brigid - Bríd
Herstory Poet in Residence, Laura Murphy in celebration of our matron Saint and Goddess, St. Brigid – Bríd

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.

Brigid by Dee McKiernan, Herstory Light Show, St. Brigid’s Cathedral, Kildare. Credit: Dodeca


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 click here:

For more details about the Laois event on 1 February please contact Kath@promenade.ie