The Bealtaine Festival, Ireland’s national celebration of creativity as we age, is having its 21st birthday this May. For 2016, the theme is Iconic Citizens, which continues Bealtaine’s three-year exploration of Nationhood and Citizenship and specifically reflects on the first generations of citizens inhabiting the new Irish State. The festival will also consider where we are, culturally, as a maturing nation and people. In addition to official Bealtaine events, groups and organisations can register relevant arts events, workshops, performances and concerts taking place in May 2016 on the Bealtaine website. 

How can your group or organisation get involved in Bealtaine 2016?

Fill out the online Bealtaine Event Registration Form so that the details of your event feature on the Bealtaine website. Alternatively you can download an Event Registration Form on the website and send it by post. Please note your unique id no. to register your event. Completed event registration forms should be returned by Friday, 25 March 2016.

Use the Bealtaine logo on your posters and publications so that people know you are part of Ireland’s biggest collaborative arts festival. The logo is available for download from or email to get a copy.

Find out more from Tara Byrne, the new Age & Opportunity Arts & Culture Manager: or ph. (01) 853 5178.

Here are some tasters of what Bealtaine 2016 has to offer:

  • Visual artist Deirdre O’Mahony will work with a community in North Clare, using film to explore their lives and thoughts on life. The project will also investigate the values and behaviours that the community holds dear and that are particularly important in ensuring that they remain contented and connected as a community.
  • Writer Brian Leyden will be the Bealtaine National Writer in Residence and his memoir ‘The Home Place: A Memoir’ will be the Bealtaine book for the month. The residency will include a series of special performances with musician Seamie O’Dowd in Clare, Dublin and Leitrim, visits to writers’ groups and book clubs, as well as readings and workshops.
  • Visual artist Anna Spearman will embark on a residency with the Kilkenny Collective for Arts Talent (KCAT/ – an open access Arts and Lifelong Learning initiative promoted by the Camphill Communities. This joint Bealtaine / KCAT residency will comprise of the artist working alongside the 13 KCAT Studio artists.
  • The IFI’s Wild Strawberries Film Club will collaborate with the festival to run a programme of screenings and work with access>CINEMA on a national film tour that will take place during Bealtaine.
  • WillFredd Theatre Company will take their much-praised show Care on tour during the festival, and accompany the tour with special workshops in hospices.
  • Musician Colm Mac Con Iomaire, writer Peter Murphy and singer Paula Cox will perform at a unique event in Wexford.
  • There will be a special event at the Ark Cultural Centre for Children bringing together grandparents and their grandchildren.
  • Finally, Bealtaine, in partnership with glór Arts Centre, Ennis and Clare County of Culture, are delighted to announce VoltAge, a festival-within-a-festival, to celebrate Bealtaine’s 21st Birthday and Clare as County of Culture. VoltAge will feature three days of exhibitions, discussions and events from 5-7 May.

Bealtaine is coordinated  by Age & Opportunity, the national organisation that inspires everyone to reach their full potential as they age.


Sign up to our e-bulletin to keep up to date with the latest news and opportunities.