Monday 13 – Saturday 18 February


Various locations across Waterford


Most events are free but may require advance booking.

Good Vibrations, Celebrating Love, Life and Magic, and Standing Shoulder to Shoulder: Well Festival of Arts and Wellbeing 2023 announces programme of music, movement, poetry, art and stories to make us feel good.

Taking place in Waterford from 13 to 18 February, this year’s Well Festival features an inspirational line-up of fun, free, inventive and sociable arts events for all ages. In this, its tenth year, the festival presents musicians, artists, poets, storytellers and dancers, as well as a programme of Wellies, the festival’s events for younger audiences.

The Well Festival of Arts and Wellbeing champions and celebrates all the ways that the arts help us to feel good. Each day, festival-goers will have the opportunity to witness colourful, beautiful, thought-provoking music, art, movement and literature, and to experience the joy of creativity through a range of workshops and interactive opportunities for all ages.

Festival 2023 Highlights

  • Fancy a lift? A daily poetry postcard, curated by poet Stephen James Smith, delivered on meal trays to patients at University Hospital Waterford, through Waterford Libraries and online via the festival website
  • Celebrating Love, Life and Magic: A St Valentine’s Day joyful, inclusive dance workshop led by Traces Dance Ensemble members Grace Howley and Brian McSweeney, with mentor support from Trish Murphy, Dee Grant and Rachel Ní Bhraonáin
  • Standing Shoulder to Shoulder: A special exhibition by the Waterford New Community Women’s Shed and the Déise Men’s Shed, demonstrating the wellbeing benefits of coming together to learn and share new skills in a safe, relaxed space
  • Why Arts? The Well Festival Keynote conversation, featuring Dr Chris Fitzpatrick, poet and former Master of the Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital Dublin, and journalist and proud Waterford woman Jennifer O’Connell
  • Good Vibrations: A continuous professional development (CPD) workshop for musicians working in mental health settings, led by Jane O’Brien Moran
  • Cuppa & Ceol: A sociable, music-infused tea party with well-known musician Liam Merriman
  • A range of workshops for all ages, including Wet Felting with artist Catherine Callanan; The Big Reel, a relaxing movement workshop with dancer Philippa Donnellan and musician Sadhbh O’Sullivan; and Aga’s Baby Story Massage Taster Class, a wellbeing workshop for parents and their babies
  • Healing Sounds Sessions with Waterford Healing Arts Trust’s musicians at the bedside of patients and residents in various settings
  • Embrace the arts at your library: A special Well Festival selection of books celebrating the benefits of reading, curated by Waterford Libraries staff
  • Find the Butterfly, Find the Bee: A special exhibition at University Hospital Waterford created by artist John Conway from his conversations with professional healthcare staff working in paediatric settings
  • The much loved festival flagship event We haven’t had an earthquake lately, supported and hosted by The Book Centre Waterford, led once again by Guest MC Catherine Drea
  • For younger audiences, the Wellies programme invites children and young people to finesse their Circus Crafts and Juggling skills with Enda Moran, get lost in their imaginations with Joe Brennan’s Magical Stories and hone their drawing skills in a Children’s Illustration Workshop with Well Festival favourite Shona Shirley MacDonald.

The full festival programme is available from or download the brochure here.

The Well Festival of Arts and Wellbeing is funded by the Arts Council, the HSE and Waterford City and County Council, with generous support from Sanofi. The festival is presented by Garter Lane Arts Centre, Waterford City and County Libraries and Waterford Healing Arts Trust.   

Feature image: Rachel Ní Bhraonáin, Grace Howley, Brian McSweeney and Dee Grant preparing for Celebrating Love, Life and Magic at Garter Lane Arts Centre, one of the highlights of Well Festival of Arts and Wellbeing 2023. Photo credit: DGM Photographic.


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