ASYLUM seekers living in Portarlington received a warm céad mile fáilte at an event organised by the Laois Africa Support Group.
The town’s community centre was packed for the memorable ‘Welcome to Portarlington’ gathering of nations, which aimed to promote cultural sharing and understanding between the local community and residents of the East End hotel.
New resident Dotun beautifully set the tone for a memorable evening as he sang the Irish national anthem Amhrán na bhFiann to welcome everyone to the event on Friday 25 October. It was the start of a richly varied programme of entertainment as people shared food, music, songs and stories and got to know each other in a relaxed and good-humoured atmosphere.
There were wonderful performances from local groups that included Portarlington Concert Band, Irish dancers from Scoil Rince Lár na Tíre, the Midlands ISL (Irish Sign Language) Learners, musicians from Ceoltóirí na nÓg and many more.
The kindness of strangers was a key theme, as many individuals and businesses came forward with practical help, food and refreshments. The Laois Africa Support Group extended heartfelt thanks to everyone who supported what the group described as an ‘amazing’ occasion.
A group member said: “We would like to say a big thank you to the Portarlington community for braving the weather to make our event was a great success. It really shows how much of a great community we live in and everyone in the town should be proud of themselves.”
Videos of performances as well as photographs and film footage of the event are available on the laoisafrica.com website and YouTube channel.