Latest Laois News: Cruinniú na nÓg 2021 in Laois

Latest Laois News: Cruinniú na nÓg 2021 in Laois

Cruinniú na nÓg 2021

Creatively Exploring Our Sense of Place in Laois

Cruinniú na nÓg is the flagship youth initiative of Creative Ireland.  On Sat 12th June, this national day of FREE creativity for children and young people under the age of 18, the only day of its kind in the world, will take place.

The first Cruinniú na nÓg took place in June 2018 and for the past 3 years in Laois young people and families have participated in a wide range of creative workshops, events and activities.

This week at the launch of Cruinniú na nÓg Laois, Arts Officer and Creative Ireland Coordinator, Muireann Ni Chonaill invited children, young people and their families to:

“Unleash your creative spirit on June 12th and explore and participate in a packed and exciting programme full of fun, new experiences and creative activity.  In light of public health restrictions that are currently in force, it is even more important to celebrate the creativity of young people in Laois.  The day is about giving young people the opportunity to express themselves through a range of imaginative and engaging events and opportunities where they can explore new ideas, learn new skills and play.  We hope you find something enjoyable to do”.

Launching Cruinniú na nÓg at County Hall, Portlaoise are Cathaoirleach of LCC Catherine Fitzgerald with her twin granddaughters Edie and Anna Fitzgerald. Picture: Alf Harvey.

The Laois programme can be found at and also at  The Arts Office, Heritage Office, Library Service, Dunamaise Arts Centre, Music Generation Laois and collaborators have joined forces to create this bumper programme of events, accessible online and all are free.

Get Creative in Laois with the launch of a new Cruinniú na nÓg Art Competition 

The Laois Series: A Sense of Place Art Competition is calling out to children and young people up to 18 (living in Laois) and inviting them to create a piece of art inspired by their ‘Sense of Place’.  The sky is the limit and the artwork can be in any visual art medium such as, drawing, painting, lego, sculpture, print, collage, digital photography, mixed media, graffiti, etc.  Five winners will be selected and the prize is to have their artwork, professionally photographed and exhibited at Dunamaise Arts Centre, and also available as a series of postcards.  The Competition opens on Wed 26th May to Wed 23rd June. For all entry details go to

Be Inspired by Laois with JMac Makeup – ‘A Sense of Place’ Masterclass

Join Abbeyleix native James Mac Inerney for a masterclass in creative makeup as he showcases professional makeup artistry tips and techniques, combining nature and beauty.  James creates a fantasy character inspired by his ‘sense of place’, using safe-to-use on face natural resources – tree bark, flower arrangement, alongside makeup techniques.  Find out how you too can be imaginatively inspired to create your own ‘sense of place’ at this interactive Zoom masterclass, Mon 7th June, 1pm-2pm, ages 12-18. Booking essential at or 057 8663355 or

Launching Cruinniú na nÓg at County Hall, Portlaoise are five year old twins Edie and Anna Fitzgerald. Picture: Alf Harvey.

Events on Sat 12th June

Be Creative at Laois Libraries with the launch of Summer Stars 2021:

Laois County Library Service launch Summer Stars 2021, the national reading challenge for children taking place in public libraries and online throughout the country.  It’s for children up to 12 years and free.  Register at your local library from 12th June, 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.

A lifetime of books’ with writer Maeve A. Devoy:

As part of the Summer Stars 2021 launch, writer Maeve A. Devoy shares the books that she has loved and recommends for those looking for inspiration for this summer’s reading.  In a pre-recorded video, watch Maeve A. Devoy on Laois Libraries Facebook and Laois County Library Service YouTube. No booking required, ages 4-11.

Pen Pal Writing Project:

Laois and Offaly library services are offering the chance for girls and boys from Laois to be matched with a pen pal from Offaly.  Each participant will be able to collect a free letter writing kit including the first stamp from the library. The project will be launched with a Letter Writing Workshop with Maeve A. Devoy at 11am, ages 9-11.  To book a place for this Zoom workshop contact Portlaoise Library 0578622333 or

The MAD Diary Writing Workshop:

This live online creative writing event with Maeve A. Devoy will take everything you know about fact and fiction and tear it apart.  It will enable you to get to the root of why we tell stories and why we read them from 2.15pm-3.45pm, ages 14-17.  To book a place for this Zoom workshop contact Portlaoise Library 0578622333 or

Be Connected with Nature:


Launching Cruinniú na nÓg at County Hall, Portlaoise are Cathaoirleach of LCC Catherine Fitzgerald with her twin granddaughters Edie and Anna Fitzgerald. Picture: Alf Harvey.


For The Birds: One of the many joys of summer is the wealth of bird song it brings to our ears.  It can be very relaxing to listen to but telling which bird is which by sound alone can be tricky.  To get you started, Ricky Whelan of BirdWatch Ireland will present this very special guide to Ireland’s best-loved songbirds for young people, all ages.  This video guide will be available on Laois Heritage YouTube.  Have a look and then get outside and try it for yourself.  Find out more at

Reconnect with Nature:

As part of Laois Heritage Office’s ‘Nature is Good for you’ project, Barbara Sullivan of Reconnect with Nature has made a series of nature activities for children and young people, ages 5-8 and 9-12.  These activities can be downloaded and used anywhere.  They include wildlife spotter sheets, a nature scavenger hunt, and wildlife crafts.  There’s no need to book these activities and they can be completed in your own time with no equipment or special skills required.  Find out more and download the activity sheets at

In Your Nature Podcast:

To celebrate Cruinniú na nÓg, a special young person’s edition of the hit podcast ‘In Your Nature’ will drop on Sat, 12th June.  With over 10,000 downloads to date, the podcast opens up the world of birds and biodiversity to its listeners.  Featuring Niall Hatch and Ricky Whelan of BirdWatch Ireland, this podcast will be available to listen to via all major podcast providers.  Find out more at

Doing, Making and Creating workshops

Paper Crafting with Pat Byrne: Create a collage of one of Laois’s most iconic heritage sites, the Rock of Dunamase.  Local artist Pat Byrne will teach ages 8-12 how to with his step-by-step pre-recorded video tutorial and collage crafting kit.  Order your collage crafting kit, to be posted to you for FREE at:  The video tutorial will be available all day on Abbeyleix Heritage House Facebook and YouTube.

Hidden Stories in the Landscape: Kim Sharkey multimedia artist and award-winning illustrator explores and is inspired by the treasure of hidden stories in the landscape and environment around her.  Kim takes you on an illustration adventure using a new layering technique with drawing paper and tracing paper to make your very own illustrations based on hidden stories in the Laois landscape! Learn about the techniques to design your own artwork inspired by your ‘sense of place’ at this interactive Zoom workshop, 10.30am-11.30am, ages 5-11.  Booking essential at or 057 8663355 or

Let Loose & Get Creative : There is excitement in the air in Mountrath with a programme of outdoor workshops at MYT Creative Space, ages 12-18, 1.30pm-2.30pm, 2.45pm-3.45pm & 4pm-5pm from Drama/Improvisation/ Freedom with Darren Yorke and Urban Dance with Matt Szczerek to Sustainable Art with Emily Dowling.  Booking essential at or contact or 087 618 4404.

Body Percussion Workshop: Music Generation Laois with body percussion specialists, BEAT GOES ON, invite children from Laois to take part in an online live workshop, 2pm-3pm.  Open to complete beginners to experienced body percussionists, ages 8-13. Booking is essential at or call 057 8681782.  Find out more at

Fun with Clayotic Modelling Clay: Learn how to make two monster characters in this Clayotic modelling clay workshop, ages 5-12.  Portlaoise Library will contact you with details on collecting your Clayotic kit and YouTube link to a pre-recorded video tutorial.  Book your FREE kit by contacting Portlaoise Library on 0578622333 or

Launching Cruinniú na nÓg at County Hall, Portlaoise, from left: Suzanne Carroll, Laois Libraries; Muireann Ni Chonaill, Laois Arts Officer; Cathaoirleach of LCC Catherine Fitzgerald with her twin granddaughters Edie and Anna Fitzgerald; Michelle deForge, Dunamaise Arts Centre and Donal Brennan, Director of Services, LCC. Picture: Alf Harvey.

Up, Up and Away with Go Fly Your Kite: Go Fly Your Kite shows you how to trace, colour, build and fly your own kite, ages 6-11.  This STEAM-themed workshop focuses on art, flight, space and engineering.  Portlaoise Library will contact you with details on how to collect your Go Fly Your Kite kit and Zoom link for the 2pm-2.30pm live workshop.  Book your FREE kit by contacting Portlaoise Library on 0578622333 or

Short Films Premiere

StrongWomen Science premiere their new short film ‘The Science of Skipping – How Physics Can Make You Go Faster’ (10mins).  StrongWomen Science team Aoife Raleigh and Maria Corcoran – scientists turned circus performers – reveal the scientific secrets behind their astounding skipping tricks.  They demonstrate how you too can be a circus scientist skipping superstar.  Suitable for ages 5-15 and available all day on Creative Laois YouTube and social media channels.

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 as part of ‘Young Filmmakers of the Future’, are available all day for FREE on Dunamaise Arts Centre’s YouTube and social media channels, and until the end of June.

Supported by Creative Laois in 2020 as part of the Creative Ireland Programme (2017-2022), in partnership with Laois County Council.

Celebrating creativity in Laois

With current restrictions again this year, the programme has been predominately curated for online access and participation.  The day is still about giving children and young people the opportunity to express themselves, explore their creative sides, be inspired, try something new and have lots of fun. 

For the Cruinniú na nÓg 2021 Laois programme, go to Keep in touch for updates and opportunities across our social media channels, @creativelaois.

Cruinniú na nÓg is a 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.