Bealtaine, Ireland’s annual festival celebrating creativity as we age, is back with a bang in May 2022. For the first time since 2019, the majority of Bealtaine will be held in-person. Many events will also take place online to cater to the differing abilities and preferences of attendees while also taking into consideration we are still in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

This year Bealtaine will continue to celebrate the theme of In(ter)dependence which is explored in a commissioned essay by writer Theo Dorgan. Tickets for festival events are now available and most events are free.

We’ve chosen some programme highlights that offer opportunities for older people in care settings and those living with dementia to take part, shine a light on older people’s creativity in care settings and provide discussion on some hot-button topics.

Roots & Shoots: Creative Conversations
In Roscommon, Creative Conversations offers opportunities for one-to-one engagements between artists and older participants in a household or nursing home. Taking place in partnership with Roscommon County Council, participants and artists will correspond and collaborate personally, offering the artist the time and resources to create bespoke artworks and activities in response to each participant’s subject of interest. Exchanges can take place in person, by phone, post or zoom.

Ballad of a Care Centre 
The Ballad of a Care Centre is a visual art and audio installation by Kildare artist John Conway at The McKenna Gallery, Riverbank Arts Centre. Adapted from his innovative theatre work of the same name, this reimagining presents the fragmented life stories of older men and women who attended Naas Care of The Aged Centre, and weaves them together to form a new narrative which is presented under both a nostalgic and critical lens.

Roots & Shoots: IMMA Armchair Azure
Armchair Azure is a free online experience designed for people living with dementia and their families and friends. During Armchair Azure, you will explore a selection of artwork from IMMA’s Collection from the comfort of your own home with a facilitator who has received special training in dementia-inclusive arts programming.

In-person dementia-inclusive Azure tours at IMMA are also available during Bealtaine, followed by a cup of tea in IMMA’s Flying Dog Cafe. Please note that places are limited for both in-person and online events.

This Is My Beautiful House: Culture, Dignity, and Future Models of Home Care
In light of the social and structural deficits of long-term care revealed by the pandemic, as well as the forthcoming Professional Homecare Bill, this discussion will take a cultural look at how we can develop and support more creative, personal, and enabling models of home care in Ireland.

Perspectives On Digital Access
Although the recent pandemic has accelerated and widened the use of digital technologies across generations, many older people are finding it increasingly difficult to access essential goods and services due to a lack of access to the internet and/or technical skills, as well as badly designed technology. This conversation aims to inform and provoke discussion about rethinking digital access and digital literacy amongst older people. Four speakers from the UK and Ireland will talk about their own creative approach to widening digital access and the potential offered by the internet.

Flikkers – Come As You Were
Drawing on themes and stories from the LGBTQ+ community, Flikkers – Come As You Were is a series of events remembering and celebrating the Flikkers Disco era at the Hirschfeld Centre, inviting all, especially older, members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community to dance and celebrate this seminal period of social and cultural activism.

Recipients of the National Arts in Nursing Homes Day Award
The Age & Opportunity and Nursing Homes Ireland inaugural National Arts in Nursing Homes Day Award aims to encourage and support access to the arts for the residents of care settings and to support care settings to participate in Bealtaine. The award also aims to demonstrate how the arts can contribute to the overall wellbeing and care of the residents of care settings.

The three recipients of the inaugural award are Kiltipper Woods Care Centre (Dublin), Dealgan House Nursing Home (Louth), and Esker Lodge Nursing Home (Cavan). These projects will come to life for the National Arts in Nursing Homes Day on 20 May. Care settings around the country are encouraged to get involved with their own arts events and celebrations on the day. Check in the coming weeks for more information on how to get involved.

For the full programme of Bealtaine events visit

Bealtaine Festival is led by Age & Opportunity, the leading national development organisation improving the quality of life of older people.


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