Bealtaine Festival

Photo courtesy of Bealtaine Festival
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Country and Region IrelandDublin
Type of Festival Dance, Music
Location of Festival Venues throughout Ireland
Festival Contact Information

Bealtaine Festival
Marino Institute of Education
Griffith Avenue
Dublin 9
Phone: +353 (0)01 805 7704

Festival Description

The Bealtaine Festival celebrates creativity in older age across Ireland each year from May 1st to 31st. Bealtaine — Ireland’s unique festival celebrating creativity in older age features hundreds of events taking place across the country. Ireland’s largest co-operative Arts Festival, Bealtaine is co-ordinated by Age & Opportunity and works with local, regional and national organisations. The Festival embraces all art forms and encourages participation in the Arts by older people as artists, performers, event organisers and audiences.

Festival Dates May 1 - 31, 2014
Festival Links

Festival Story:

Bealtaine, the national festival celebrating creativity in older age, is coordinated by Age & Opportunity and includes events organised by hundreds of partner organisations. The festival encourages greater participation in the arts by older people as artists and performers, participating as both event organisers and audiences, everywhere from national institutions to local parish halls. The ethos is one of fun, empowerment and exploration.

Since 1995, Bealtaine has been an agenda-setting cultural first, an Irish innovation. Bealtaine 2008 saw over 1300 events with an estimated 55,000 participants from 26 counties made with 337 partners, making this one of Ireland’s biggest arts festivals. And while there’s currently nothing like Bealtaine anywhere else in the world, other countries are following our lead and creating festivals based on our model of celebration and participation.

Age & Opportunity is the national not-for-profit organisation working to promote greater participation by older people in society through partnerships and collaborative programmes. Other Age & Opportunity programmes are delivered with a range of partner organisations in areas like physical activity, educating about ageism and age discrimination, promoting confidence and empowerment amongst older people, and training staff of care centres to facilitate the arts amongst the people in their care. Further information


Festival Events:

Programming 2014:
  • In 2014 this unique festival – itself in its 19th year – will feature thousands of events for, by and featuring older people, all across Ireland, throughout the month of May, offering theatre, visual arts, music and more. Chief Executive of Age & Opportunity, Cathrine Rose, says, “At Age & Opportunity we are passionate about optimising ageing and turning the 60-plus period of life into an adventure. Event organisers all over the country are planning a rich and varied arts programme to celebrate being part of Bealtaine. This year the theme for the festival is ‘And catch the heart off guard’, a phrase from Seamus Heaney’s poem Postscript. As always, everyone is invited to take part; this is an invitation to be surprised by joy, to astonish yourself, and to find your heart’s desire without looking for it.”
    • The Bealtaine Theatre Tour will bring 2013 Dublin Fringe Festival favourite, Small Plastic Wars to venues across the country. This play, about one man’s comic attempt to hide from the recession by building plastic models, got rave reviews when it premiered last year. During Bealtaine Carnation Theatre will also be bringing their production Fuss on the Bus to audiences in care homes, day care centres and community venues.
    • Wandering Methods, a slow craft project centred this year on Dublin Castle, will see older people explore heritage, both personal and national, through craft. Bealtaine will also be curating residences for four older artists in a number of galleries across Ireland. People are currently being asked to submit the title of their favourite poem, for the chance of this being woven in to a new choral project, The Given Note. And Dawn Chorus, now established as a calendar event, will be offering audiences a lyrical treat on the last weekend of the festival, with events across Ireland and in other locations around the globe on Sunday 25th May.


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