What’s On Guide

From ancient festivals in the Slieve Bloom Mountains to modern day merry-making, Laois has enjoyed a party more than most for thousands of years. With over 60 events happening each month , you are most definitely invited to celebrate with us.
And from major international music weekends to local fiestas covering everything from scarecrows and storytelling, to drama and literature, you’re sure to find your tribe. For the outdoor enthusiast there’s weekly guided walks, runs and cycles. Come join us as we celebrate the length and breadth of the county – morning, noon, and night…

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Up Like A Bird: An evening with Brendan Hughes and Douglas Dalby

18th November 2021 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm


Brendan Hughes’ gritty memoir, Up Like A Bird, charts his rise through the ranks of the Provisional IRA in the early 1970s before his relationship with the organisation’s leadership soured and former comrades were ordered to kill him. Among many revelations, the book, co-written by former New York Times journalist Douglas Dalby, details Hughes’ integral role in the daring helicopter escape from Mountjoy Jail in 1973 and the mass breakout from Portlaoise Prison the following year – events that nearly toppled the government of the day.

The Rock of Dunamase features on the front cover of the book in tribute to the key role it played in the Mountjoy escape. Breaking almost five decades of silence, Hughes also details the importance of Co Laois to the IRA campaign during the early years of the Troubles for the first time.  He spent more than 22 years in Portlaoise Prison as a republican inmate and is now a strong advocate of non-violence in pursuit of a united Ireland.



18th November 2021
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Dunamaise Arts Centre