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Hearth is a Mayo based arts programme for older people living in their own homes. It targets rural isolation through the medium of creativity. Participants receive weekly visits from a professional artist and gradually build their own personal art programme at home.

Hearth’s inspiration came from the art rooms of five care settings for older people. Deirdre Walsh mentored the artists involved in the Mayo County Council-HSE Artists Mentoring and Networking Programme which was documented in Creative Reverie and Between Colours.

The idea of extending such a programme into the community took shape in 2008 when Deirdre Walsh and Breda Mayock developed the idea. The three year pilot commenced in March 2009. Funding was received from Atlantic Philanthropies and Southwest Mayo Leader for a four year period.

The Hearth Co-ordinator Deirdre Walsh met with the Community Care Teams which include GPs, Public Health Nurses, Social Workers, Occupational Therapists, etc . The programme was presented to them and the healthcare workers introduced the artists to potential participants in the community.

The Hearth programme is currently active in the North Mayo area.

Hearth aims:

  • To enable older people who are isolated geographically or otherwise explore creativity in their own homes using artist’s quality materials
  • To provide participants with weekly visits from a professional artist.
  • To allow participants to work in a stress free environment and projects to be free of expectation.
  • To work with  artists who have experience of working with older people, are Garda vetted and who would liaise with the public health nurse and family members.
  • To provide mentoring support for the artists.
  • To document the work made by participants.
  • To look at the possibility of designing suitable art workstations for older people with limited mobility.


Visual Art


Deirdre Walsh


Co. Mayo





Dublin North East

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