One of the aim of Japan Tour by Irish musicians is to share new Irish music composed by Michael Rooney, “The Spirit of Laois Suite” with new Japanese audiences. “The Spirit of Laois Suite” consists of six pieces and “Sliabh Bladhma” is a landscape piece and is the beginning of “The Spirit of Laois Suite”.
The Slieve Bloom Mountains is named the “mountain of Bladhma”, after an ancient Connacht warrior who sought refuge here. Along with France’s Massif Central, they are the oldest mountain range in Europe having been formed some 400 million years ago. They were once also the highest at 3,700m, but weathering has reduced them to 527m. The Slieve Blooms extend for almost 25km across Laois and Offaly and include 27 glens and numerous rivers. The massif provides welcome relief from the flatness of the Midlands and a refuge for wildlife including bog plants such as the insect-eating sundew, and birds including skylarks, kestrels and the rare peregrine falcon.