What is Bealtaine?


May belongs to the Bealtaine festival, celebrating creativity as we age! Over 120,000 people now take part in Bealtaine. From dance to cinema, painting to theatre, Bealtaine showcases the talents and creativity of both first-time and professional older artists.

It is a chance for people to make new and challenging work, a chance to communicate traditions between the generations. It is a chance for the novice to discover a talent until then unseen and a chance for a long-dormant skill to find a new outlet.

Each year, Age & Opportunity invites local authorities, arts centres, libraries, Active Retirement groups, care settings, community groups and clubs, associations from every part of the country to run Bealtaine events that celebrate creativity as we age.

Age & Opportunity instigates or supports a number of events each year that are trying something new. Examples in the past have been bringing Liz Lerman Dance Exchange to Ireland for workshops and performances, nurturing the performance piece Silver Stars to a full production (which has gone on to sell-out performances in the Dublin Theatre Festival and featured off-Broadway in the ‘Under the Radar’ festival in New York) or EnvisAge, a creative project that attempts to re-imagine care settings for older people in a whole new way.

Bealtaine is an Age & Opportunity initiative part-funded by the Arts Council and delivered by hundreds of organisations around the country. Dublin City Council is an investment partner. In 2009, we published a major independent evaluation of the Bealtaine festival by the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology in the National University of Ireland, Galway.

The Bealtaine Festival is supported by older artists who became Bealtaine Ambassadors. Read more here