Ground-breaking Irish Bealtaine Festival
Celebrates Creativity in Older Age
DUBLIN - Bealtaine, an annual national festival celebrating creativity in older age, is co-ordinated by the non-profit organization Age & Opportunity Ireland and includes events organized by hundreds of partner organizations.
Now in its fourteenth year, Bealtaine is an agenda-setting cultural first, an Irish innovation. Last year there were over 1,300 events throughout Ireland with an estimated 55,000 participants from 26 counties with 337 partners, making it one of Ireland's biggest arts festivals.
And while there's currently nothing like Bealtaine anywhere else in the world, other countries are following the Irish lead and creating festivals based on the model of celebration and participation for older people.
The festival runs May 1 to 30 and encourages greater participation in the arts by older people. The ethos is one of fun, empowerment and exploration.
Age & Opportunity's vision for the festival is to bring about a shift in attitudes and practices for older people to participate fully and meaningfully in the arts. It contributes to cultural inclusion for older Irish people, as audience members, creators, participants and decision-makers.
In 2007, Age & Opportunity began inviting established older Irish artists to become Bealtaine Ambassadors. These are artists of the highest rank and reputation, working in diverse creative fields. A number have since taken a mentoring role among groups fostering creativity.
This year's Bealtaine Ambassadors were Dervla Murphy, the author of some 25 travel books, and Paddy Cole, who has made his name as a saxophone player since the 1960s.
For more information about Age & Opportunity, visit: www.olderinireland.ie. For more information about the Bealtaine Festival, visit: www.bealtaine.com.