Bealtaine, Ireland’s annual festival to celebrate creativity as we age, takes place in venues around the country during the month of May. The theme for the 2013 festival is ‘Grow Happy’ – a call to celebrate growth, spring and positivity for ourselves and our communities. The Bealtaine Festival has an extensive Arts in Care Settings programme, which this year includes the tenth anniversary of Burning Bright; projects undertaken by the Arts and Health Partnership of the HSE Health Promotion Service, Dublin Mid Leinster and Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council Arts Office; and Carnation Theatre’s touring show Hurl.

This year, Galway is celebrating ten years of Burning Bright, a series of visual art residencies in nursing homes throughout the County of Galway. Art workshops are facilitated by professional artists who introduce participants to a selection of art materials and techniques and encourage them to experiment. Each session is tailored to the needs and expectations of the individuals involved, allowing them to develop and explore their creativity at their own pace. Established by the Arts Office in Galway County Council, Burning Bright operates in partnership with Galway Arts Centre, Galway City Council, and the University Hospitals Arts Trust. The programme is supported by the Arts Council to work in six care centres.

An exhibition and brochure launch celebrating its achievements will take place on 1 May at 1.30pm in the Galway Arts Centre. This will be followed by a tea dance in Nuns Island with a traditional Irish band formed specially for the occasion. The exhibition will run until 31 May. For further information on the Burning Bright exhibition see

The Arts and Health Partnership of the HSE Health Promotion Service, Dublin Mid Leinster and Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council Arts Office are supporting projects in a Residential and Daycare setting, a unit for Older People with Age Related Illnesses, a Daycare service and a residential unit for Adults who are Deaf and Deafblind. To learn more about these projects see

Carnation Theatre, who performed in 150 Care Homes last year, tour their show Hurl this year which offers a chance to relive GAA dreams. Carnation Theatre specialises in providing entertaining, stimulating and interactive plays for senior citizens.

The extensive programme of events taking place during Bealtaine in care settings or celebrating artwork produced in care settings can be viewed here:

Bealtaine is coordinated by Age & Opportunity, the Irish national organisation working to promote greater participation by older people in society.


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