Latest Laois News: Cruinniú na nÓg 2021 celebrating creativity of young people in Laois

Latest Laois News: Cruinniú na nÓg 2021 celebrating creativity of young people in Laois

Cruinniú na nÓg 2021

Celebrating the creativity of young people in Laois – Round up

Cruinniú na nÓg  took place in Laois on Sat 12th June.  It was a national day of creativity for children and young people under the age of 18 and the only day of its kind in the world.  Laois Arts Office, Heritage Office, Library Service, Dunamaise Arts Centre, Music Generation Laois and collaborators joined forces to create a bumper programme of events, accessible online and all were free.

Due to ongoing restrictions only a small number of live events were able to take place offline: Mountrath Youth Theatre hosted an afternoon of workshops for young people ages 12-18 at MYT Creative Space, with Darren Yorke facilitating drama and improvisation workshops; urban dance with Matt Szczerek; and sustainable art with Emily Dowling.  In the week leading up to Cruinniú na nÓg, over 250 children and 7 schools – Camross NS, St Colmcille’s NS Errill, The Rock NS, Cloneyhurke NS, Scoil Bhride Rathdowney, Barnashrone NS and Ballyadams NS – participated in online workshops with ‘Beat Goes On’ body percussion specialists and supported by MG Laois musicians in-person, in the schools.  On Sat June 12th, Music Generation Laois tutor Dale McKay held an outdoor Bodhrán workshop at Fitzmaurice Place, Portlaoise.

‘Bodhrán workshop with Dale McKay at Fitzmaurice Plaza, Portlaoise presented by Music Generation Laois for Criunniú na nÓg 2021.’ Credit: Rosa Flannery

The Cruinniú na nÓg Laois programme featured local creatives such as Abbeyleix native, make -up artist and BBC’s Glow up sensation James Mac Inerney with his sense of place inspired masterclass.  And Portlaoise resident and circus performer Maria Corcoran with the premiere of a new film of her recent work ‘The Science of Skipping’ as part of her collaborative work with Aoife Raleigh in StrongWomen Science.  In additional, local Donaghmore artist Pat Byrne constructed a paper crafting kit with a pre-recorded video for 25 children, ages 8-12, to create one of Laois’s most iconic heritage sites, the Rock of Dunamase. 

Laois Library Service was very busy this Cruinniú na nÓg with over 250 children and young people participating in a range of arts & craft activities, creative writing and the launch of Summer Stars 2021.  Summer Stars is for children up to 12 years and is free.  Register at your local library and read 8 library books before 31st August and everyone who completes all 8 books gets a Summer Stars pencil and certificate, with lots more fun. Keep up to date with Summer Stars programme 2021 at Laois Libraries Facebook. 

Romy Leonard, aged 7 pictured at Timahoe Round Tower with her drawing created at the ‘Hidden Stories’ illustration workshop facilitated by Kim Sharkey. Credit: Claudine Leonard

Two new short films, ‘A.I. Villagers’ by Mountrath Youth Theatre and ‘Media Meltdown’ by Mountrath Community School’s Film Club, commissioned by Dunamaise Arts Centre and as part of ‘Young Filmmakers of the Future’, were screened on Dunamaise Arts Centre’s YouTube and social media channels, and will be available until the end of June.

Be creative with more opportunities for children and young people with the

Cruinniú na nÓg  art competition open for entries until Wed June 23rd
Children and young people up to 18 (living in Laois) are invited to create an artwork inspired by their ‘sense of place’.  The artwork can be in any visual art medium such as, drawing, painting, lego, sculpture, print, collage, digital photography, mixed media, graffiti, etc.  The age categories for submissions are under 6, 6-8, 9-11, 12-14 & 15-18.  One winner from each age category will be selected.  The artworks will be professionally photographed and exhibited at Dunamaise Arts Centre.  The five artworks selected will also become part of a series of postcards reflecting the many facets of Laois and our ‘sense of place’ and will be available to the public for free.  For all entry details go to

Workshop facilitators Matt Szczerek, Emily Dowling and Darren Yorke with  participants at MYT Creative Space, Mountrath Credit: James O’Connor

With over 500 downloads already for Cruinniú na nÓg, the ‘In Your Nature’ young person’s podcast edition on the world of birds and biodiversity featuring Niall Hatch and Ricky Whelan of BirdWatch Ireland is still available to download via all major podcast providers.  Reconnect with Nature’s Barbara O’Sullivan’s series of nature activities for children and young people, ages 5-8 and 9-12 is available throughout the summer from  All activities are downloadable and include a nature scavenger hunt, and wildlife crafts with woodland mandalas, colours of nature bingo, recycled flower press and nature self-portraits.  These activities can be completed in your own time with no equipment or special skills required.  Spaces are also available on Maeve A Devoy’s ‘Laois Library Journal’ creative writing workshops for ages 14-17. To book a place for this Zoom workshop contact Portlaoise Library 0578622333 or portlaoiselibrary@laoiscoco.ieIn addition, a range of Cruinniú na nÓg workshops and videos are available on the Creative Laois YouTube channel.

Thanks to all involved in creating and delivering this year’s programme including Laois Arts Office, Heritage Office, Laois County Library Service, Music Generation Laois, Dunamaise Arts Centre, Abbeyleix Heritage House, Mountrath Youth Theatre, StrongWomen Science, Reconnect with Nature, Birdwatch Ireland, the Heritage Officer Programme and the Heritage Council. 

Lucy and Amie Coyle with their nature inspired sculpture created at the  ‘Imagination Space: Building Together’ workshop facilitated by Martina Coyle. Credit: Barbara Coyle

Cruinniú na nÓg is an annual national day of free creativity for children and young people across Ireland.  It is an initiative of the Creative Ireland Programme at the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and is presented in partnership with RTÉ and the Local Authorities.