Popular Bealtaine Festival finishes following month of creativity

by Padraig Conlon

A festival celebrating art and creativity in older age successfully concluded with a closing ceremony in the Red Cow yesterday.

South Dublin County Council’s Councillor Charlie O’ Connor was on hand to close this year’s very well attended Bealtaine Festival.

The name “Bealtaine” comes from the ancient Celtic festival of that name celebrating springtime, freshness and renewal.

Established in 1995, it is one of Ireland’s largest co-operative festival and the world’s first national celebration of creativity in older age, having inspired several international festivals such as Luminate in Scotland, Gwanwyn in Wales and others.

Guests enjoy themselves dancing at the Bealtaine Festival closing ceremony in the Red Cow Inn.

For this year’s event South Dublin County Council’s Community Department and Libraries organised over 150 events across the county over the course of the month of May.

There was a high level of attendance and participation at each of the events.

This year’s Bealtaine Competition, organised by the Council’s Social Inclusion Unit, was entitled “Use your imagination to submit an entry to show how creative you are”.

The competition looked for older people to submit their entries to showcase their talents and skills from poetry to baking and painting.

There were a large number of entries which were displayed in the Council’s offices in Tallaght.

The awards were presented by Councillor Charlie O’ Connor at the closing ceremony.

Bealtaine Festival, which takes place each May, is co-ordinated by Age and Opportunity, the national organisation working to promote greater participation by older people in society.

The ancient festival of Bealtaine or Beltane (held on May 1), marked the midway point between the spring equinox and the summer solstice, and heralded the start of Summer.

The word Bealtaine is still used in the Irish language and translates as the month of May.

The festival brings together people from all over Ireland to foster and inspire creativity among older people and to promote the skills, experiences and exposure that can lead to a rich creative life for all older people.

Bealtaine is increasingly recognised as a major innovator in the area of the arts, creativity and older people globally and as a result is also about supporting the arts community to continue to work and to inspire and train other artists to engage in the area of creative ageing and intergenerational work.

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