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Arts & Culture 2016 Christmas Update and Plans for 2017

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In 2016 we celebrated the 21st year of the Bealtaine festival, and we would like to thank all our organisers, audience members and supporters and partners for making the event a great success.   The Arts & Culture programme has already put plans in place for the 2017 festival and you can read more on that below.  

We also work to increase opportunities for older people to engage with Ireland’s vibrant cultural and arts scene through our Cultural Companions programme.  Our companions have been out and about at a range of festive events over the past weeks, and we will be scheduling lots of exciting events in 2017.  Keep an eye on our website for more details and to find out how you can get involved.

Bealtaine Festival 2017


Bealtaine is Ireland’s national festival celebrating creativity as we age. The festival runs throughout the month of May and supports older audiences as well as showcases the talents and creativity of first-time and professional older artists. It is an Age & Opportunity initiative supported by the Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaion and is delivered by hundreds of organisations around Ireland. The Bealtaine 2017 theme is All Together Now!  This programme will celebrate collective action, protest and empathy, and will include a host of free, as well as ticketed events, open to the public across a diverse range of performances, commissions, residencies and projects. The festival in 2017 will include:a collaboration between poet Paula Meehan and composer Sean Doherty for local choirs in Dublin; a gathering of poets and major sporting heroes to discuss their philosophy, energy and connections as part of Listowel writers week; visual arts residencies in Kilkenny and Wexford with artists Vivienne Dick, Kathy Prendergast, Kevin Gaffney and others; a dance project in Limerick involving choreographer Mary Nunan; an artist residency in a care setting specialising in working with older people with dementia; the Bealtaine Book Club nationwide; a major visual arts commission in the Northwest of Ireland with Sligo and Mayo County Councils; continuous professional development opportunities for arts practitioners; and a critical seminar building on the themes of choice, participation and respect in relation to how we live in older age drawing on current trends in collaborative art/architectural and planning initiatives with Create and the Irish Architecture Foundation.

For further information and updates please see and look out for our new web site early 2017.

Find us at and follow us on twitter @bealtainefest.

Cultural Companions.

Cultural Companions is creating local networks of people interested in arts and culture that will accompany each other to events – like-minded people that meet up regularly to go out together either with one other person or as part of a small group. Its aim is to provide increased opportunities for older people to engage with Ireland’s vibrant cultural and arts scene.

How it works…

When it comes to Cultural Companions, the emphasis is on peer support, independence and choice. Members can use the network at two different levels, depending on your needs at a particular point in time:

  1. Be part of the larger network by attending regular, organized Cultural Companions events (weekly)
  2. Network independently, using the Membership Directory

Cultural Companions ran 32 events in 2016 at venues such as the Theatre, Museum Tours, National Concert hall and many more   with a great attendance of people looking for friendship and a chat. At each event you will be welcomed by our lovely Cultural Companion meet and greet person who are also members.  Cultural Companion members will usually arrange a meeting point for after the event to go and have a Tea/Coffee and a chat.

For further information contact Kim at 01 805 7713 or email on


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