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Bealtaine Festival

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Ireland’s largest multi-disciplinary national arts festival and a major innovator in the area of arts and creativity globally.

What is the Bealtaine Festival?

Bealtaine is a month long festival in May featuring performances, exhibitions, discussions, workshops and readings by artists working in different art forms all over Ireland.

How does it work?

Bealtaine Festival challenges and entertains audiences and participants and always looks to offer diverse events. Just as we know there’s no one experience of older age, there is no one kind of event in Bealtaine. The festival engages people and communities from all over Ireland to foster and inspire creativity among older people, to work intergenerationally, to platform older artists and to promote the skills, experiences and exposure that can lead to a rich creative life. You can enjoy all that Bealtaine has to offer whether you are an audience member, an artist, or by participating in creative projects in your community.

 

Older people and younger people dancing in Meeting House Square in Temple Bar, as part of a 2018 Bealtaine Festival event called a Life of Play.

Image from A Life of Play, one of our 2018 Bealtaine Festival events in Temple Bar.

Photographer Tony Kinlan
Image from our 2016 Bealtaine Festival Voltage event

Image from our 2016 Bealtaine Festival Voltage event

Image from our 2017 event in Limerick City Gallery of Art

Image from our 2017 event in Limerick City Gallery of Art

Bealtaine works on two parallel and interdependent strands:

  • The in-house programme, curated by Age & Opportunity’s Arts team, aimed at addressing key strategic priorities
  • The national programme, made up of hundreds of events organised and curated locally by a wide variety of groups. 

The festival has a diverse arts offering with everything from choral performances to visual art to street theatre to writing workshops. From year to year, Bealtaine offers dance, literature, theatre (including a touring performing arts show), music that spans opera to trad, discussions exploring the diversity of older age, film screenings as part of ‘Bealtaine on Screen’, storytelling, commissions for new work and work that celebrates the achievements of those who previously may have gone unsung. There are workshops to try out new creative activities, both online and in person, from drawing, to comedy, to writing, to music, to circus! There are talks and tours and so much more to get involved with each May.

The Bealtaine Gathering

This is our annual networking event for Bealtaine organisers, artists and those interested in our work. Find out more here.

How can I get involved?

Anyone can organise a Bealtaine event in their own community and there is lots of helpful info, resources, and inspiration on the website festival resources page here.

For details of the next Bealtaine Festival and to get involved visit bealtaine.ie.

You can view past Bealtaine programmes here.

Arts Initiatives:

Bealtaine Festival

A month long collaborative festival in May featuring performances, exhibitions, discussions, workshops and readings by artists working in different art forms all over Ireland. Find out more here.

Cultural Companions

Works with the local authorities to create local networks of like-minded people interested in arts and culture who can accompany each other to cultural events. Find out more.

Arts Events Listings

A national arts listings advertising age-friendly events that take place throughout the year (apart from May). Find out more here.

National Arts in Nursing Homes Day

A day that celebrates the creative activity taking place in Irish care settings. Find out more.

Artists' Supports

Age & Opportunity runs a number of initiatives that support artists. Find out more.

Supports for Arts Organisations

Age & Opportunity supports arts organisations through a number of initiatives. Find out more here.

Supports for Care Settings

We have a range of creative supports for care settings. Find out more.

Arts Resources

We have a variety of resources available here.

Arts Initiatives:

Bealtaine Festival

A month long festival in May featuring performances, exhibitions, discussions, workshops and readings by artists, and community groups, working in different art forms all over Ireland. Find out more here.

Cultural Companions

Creates local networks of like-minded people interested in arts and culture who can accompany each other to cultural events. Find out more.

Arts Events Listings

A national arts listings advertising age-friendly events that take place throughout the year (apart from May). Find out more here.

National Arts in Nursing Homes Day

A day that celebrates the creative activity taking place in Irish care settings. Find out more.

Artists' Supports

Age & Opportunity runs a number of initiatives that support artists. Find out more.

Supports for Arts Organisations

Age & Opportunity supports arts organisations through a number of initiatives. Find out more here.

Supports for Care Settings

We have a range of creative supports for care settings. Find out more.

Arts Resources

We have a variety of Arts Resources available here.

We believe that, whether you are 8 or 80 years old, we all should have access and opportunities to attend and participate in the arts and to realise our creative potential. Fresh thinking, bold experimentation and creativity are all fundamental to delivering a high quality of life for older people.

Research shows that arts programmes involving music, visual arts and drama, among other activities, have a profound influence on the quality of life of older people, with positive impacts on health, psychological well-being, confidence and autonomy as well as other benefits such as:

  • happiness
  • mental wellbeing
  • reduced stress
  • improved cognition
  • sense of identity and personhood
  • increased self-esteem and confidence
  • reduced boredom.

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Principal Funders:

Link to HSE website Link to Sport Ireland website Link to Arts Council website

Our Principal Funders:

Link to HSE websiteLink to Sport Ireland website