Welcome to the Bealtaine festival - Ireland's national celebration of creativity as we age. During May, all over the country Bealtaine events are running in arts centres, theatres, libraries, galleries, community centres, local halls, care setting, cultural spaces and even out in the open air! This year, we are celebrating Bealtaine Festival's 21st birthday. On our 21st birthday and 100 years after Ireland's spiritual birth, we feel it is time to celebrate the very first citizens of the Irish State. This focus is to encourage us to once more reflect on who and where we are as a maturing nation and populace.  



VOLTage and Iconic Citizens at glór, Ennis, County Clare

Thursday, 5th May to Saturday 7th May. An Age and Opportunity Event in Association with Clare County of Culture and glór. Clare has an outstanding reputation in the design and delivery of creative projects for, with and about older people over Bealtaine’s 20 years working across a range of artforms. In 2016, Bealtaine/Age & Opportunity and glór, in association with Clare County of Culture, are hosting a national event called VOLTage, which will platform the many extraordinary projects and creative activities that bring together artists (both younger and older) and older people from Clare and throughout Ireland.


The Care Seminar, Glór Arts Centre

Thursday 5th May, 2-5pm, Free of Charge, An event focusing on creativity and the arts in health, care, and wellbeing.

Contributing artists, facilitators and theatre practitioners will discuss how they have brought their artistic practice and experience to care/health communities and will look at the importance creativity can play in health and wellbeing both on a personal and a community level. Participants include visual artist Sinead Dinneen and collaborator Katie Verling from the ‘Kicking the Bucket’ project, theatre artist Eleanor Feeley, visual artist Sarah Fuller, theatre practitioner and therapist Marie McNamara, and Willfredd Theatre, who will be performing their show CARE at 8pm.

Cow House Studios Artists' Residency, Wexford

Monday, 2nd May - Saturday, 14th May. Following last year’s artists’ residency and public discussion at the beautiful Cow House Studios in Wexford, in 2016, Bealtaine has invited sculptor Tina O’Connell, painter Brian Bourke and artist Sarah Tynan to take part. The idea behind the residency is to create a quiet space over the course of two weeks for artists of mixed generations to consider their practices, and the changing contexts of those practices as time has moved on in their careers. At the end of the residency, there will be a public discussion with the three artists in Wexford Arts Centre on Friday, 13th May at 2pm.


FIRST CITIZENS SPEAK! A Visual Arts Commission with Deirdre O Mahony, glór, Ennis

Thursday 5th - 28th May, Free of Charge.

Opening Thursday 5th, 6pm by Catherine Marshall art writer, curator, formerly head of collections at IMMA.

Artist Deirdre O’Mahony has been commissioned by Bealtaine and VOLTage to develop ‘First Citizens Speak’, in response to Bealtaine’s 2016 theme. The project focuses on older members of a community in North Clare - the memories, values and behaviours they hold dear- that are and were, important in achieving a strong sense of contentedness within that community.

Bealtaine National Writer in Residence

Brian Leyden is the Bealtaine Writer-in-Residence for 2016. For thirty years, Brian Leyden has given highly popular writing workshops throughout Ireland. A master at evoking time and place and people, in his own work Brian is an engaging, insightful and encouraging guide whose knowledge and enthusiasm inspires people through an unconcealed love of language and writing.

As part of an extended series of activities, Brian will run a series of workshops, readings and events across Ireland throughout the year. In association with VOLTage and the Dock in Carrick-on-Shannon, Brian will also present a number of collaborative performances with Sligo-based musician Seamie O’Dowd.

CARE presented by WillFredd Theatre Company, Glór Arts Centre

Thursday 5th May, 8pm, €20 (Full Price), €18 (Concession). In 2013, WillFredd Theatre developed the show ‘CARE’ in response to a series of creative interactions with various hospice staff in Ireland. CARE explores different aspects of the day-to-day life of the staff, presented through the form of live music, verbatim text and dance.




Catherine Marshall Talk : Rural Art Projects; The Tail That Wags The Dog, Glór Arts Centre

Friday 6th May, 11am – 12.30pm, Free of Charge. Catherine Marshall will look at the challenges she saw as Head of Collections in IMMA and at the projects that have emanated from so called marginalised communities. The importance of the Iniscealtra Festival in the development of the IMMA National Programme, Ex-P0, The Kathleen Lynn Project in Mayo and other key projects.




Working Lives - Panel Discussion, Glór Arts Centre

Friday 6th May 2-00pm – 4pm, Free of Charge. Working Lives is a panel discussion which explores the challenges and rewards for artists working cross-generationally, collaboratively and across disciplines. The discussion takes place in the context of Bealtaine’s Iconic Citizens Project and the specially commissioned ‘First Citizens Speak!’ by artist Deirdre O’Mahony working with older members of the community in North Clare. Also addressing the political, social, cultural and economic implications for older creative lives in a rural context, the panel includes the artist, and fellow artist Anna Furse. This event has been developed with VOLTage and CREATE.


Eoin O Neill and Friends, Glór Arts Centre

Saturday 7th May, 2.30pm to 4.30pm, Free of Charge. Don’t miss this free Saturday Session when award winning trad musician Eoin O’Neill will be joined by special guests from the Clare music scene. Eoin O’Neill has lived in Clare for the past 30 years and has been an integral part of the traditional music landscape in the county. His passion for his craft has led him to preserve music that was in danger of being lost forever, and is now being enjoyed and re-invented by a new generation of musicians. He is famous for his informal music sessions and classes in many venues throughout the county, and is chiefly responsible for encouraging the playing of young and old alike. In 2015 Eoin was the winner of the MÓRglór award for Outstanding Contribution to Traditional Music in County Clare.