Bealtaine, Ireland’s annual festival celebrating creativity as we age, runs throughout the month of May. Led by Age & Opportunity, the 2023 festival offers in-person and online events across all artforms, taking place in partnership with arts venues and organisations across the country.
The festival operates across two strands: an in-house programme, curated by Age & Opportunity’s Arts team, and a national programme, made up of hundreds of events organised and curated locally by a wide variety of groups.
Check out some of our festival highlights, including collaborations between artists and older people in care settings, dementia-friendly programming, and celebrations happening as part of National Arts in Nursing Homes Day.
The Poetry Line
Receive a personal phone call from an award-winning poet who will read you 2-3 poems. Participating poets include Thomas McCarthy, Jane Clarke, Mícheál McCann, Rachael Hegarty, and Molly Twomey. A collaboration between Age & Opportunity and Poetry Ireland, The Poetry Line will be open for sign-ups from 24 – 28 April (10am – 5pm daily). Call Poetry Ireland’s dedicated Poetry Line at 01 443 4277 to sign up.
Roots & Shoots: Azure: Dementia Inclusive Events
Inspired by the ‘Meet Me at MoMA’ programme at MoMA, New York, the Azure programme at the Irish Museum of Modern Arts (IMMA) offers guided exhibition tours specifically designed to support people living with dementia and their family, friends or professional carers, to engage with the art work on show and enjoy a social museum experience. There will be a separate online event for people to enjoy from the comfort of their own home.
Beside the Sea
Beside the Sea is an ambitious and innovative work of music theatre by composer Ian Wilson, written in response to his father’s death after a long battle with Alzheimer’s. A staged work for violinist, soundtrack and found objects, the piece explores ideas around memory, personhood and how to evoke a life and its trajectory through music. Featuring acclaimed Serbian violinist Dušica Mladenović, directed by Olivia Songer and designed by Jack Scullion, Beside the Sea will be performed at the National Concert Hall (The Studio), Dublin and Solstice Arts Centre in Meath.
In 2022, a group of artists took part in 10-week artist residencies in HSE Nursing Homes, as part of Roscommon County Council Arts Office’s CARE Programme (Creative Ageing in Roscommon) in partnership with HSE Older Persons Services. The artists have created their own work in their respective disciplines reflecting on these experiences.
With A Little Help From My Friends
Past Times and Voices of Spring are two large intergenerational community choirs in Kildare with a special welcome for those living with dementia alongside their carers and wider communities. The choirs will combine forces for this celebration of friendship and song to mark Bealtaine Festival at the Riverbank Theatre.
National Arts in Nursing Homes Day: Friday 19 May
National Arts in Nursing Homes Day showcases the wonderful but often hidden creative activity taking place with residents of nursing homes and in day care centres. A partnership with Nursing Homes Ireland, the Bealtaine website includes listings of participating care settings around the country. Events are by invitation only unless otherwise stated.
For the full programme of Bealtaine events visit bealtaine.ie
Register your Bealtaine event
Bealtaine Festival includes hundreds of community events nationwide. Artists, arts organisations, community groups and individual organisers are invited to register their events on bealtaine.ie.
Bealtaine Festival is led by Age & Opportunity, the leading national development organisation improving the quality of life of older people. The festival is funded by the Arts Council and the HSE.