Bealtaine 2018 in Waterford

Michelle Heffernan Reports
Celebrating the Arts & Creativity As We Age

This May, Waterford City & County will host a range of events as part of the 22nd Bealtaine Festival, which celebrates creativity as we age.
Waterford City and County Libraries, along with Garter Lane Arts Centre, are delighted to partner with this national movement to bring almost 50 fantastic events to the over 50 age group.“Its an absolute highlight of the library calendar” says Jenny Loughran, Bealtaine Co-ordinator at Waterford Libraries. It’s an opportunity for us to reward our customers, particularly in the older age group and give something back.”
From May 13th to 30th Waterford City and County Libraries will run a diverse programme of events across 12 library branches across the city and county.
“There’s a mix of everything on offer,” says Jenny. “Literature, poetry, arts, music, creative writing, personal development, dance, yoga, cinema club, there really is something for everyone. All events are free of charge(though booking is essential) and all are about “feeling good as we age”.
Although events are aimed at the over 50 age group, participation across generations is, of course, encouraged.
The Libraries will be renewing last year’s festival line-up with their ‘Dawn until Dusk’ theme, featuring a special festival launch and a finale.
Jenny enthused: “On Sunday, May 13th we’ll launch the festival in Dunmore East with a wonderful Dawn Chorus in the beautiful grounds of the Dunmore East Library. The Bealtaine choir, led by Ann Woodward and Margaret Brooks will lead 100 voices in unison to greet the dawn and the incumbent festival. If you’re passing by do stop in, start off the weekend with a song, or join us for a free sausage blaa!”

The festival will close on May 30th with a Dusk Chorus at Waterford’s Central Library, with a night of song, word, wine and cheese.
Meanwhile at Garter Lane Arts Centre, preparations are also beginning for a jam-packed Bealtaine programme, with 30 performances, workshops, screenings and programmes taking place during the month of May.
Aoibhie McCarthy, who is Visual Arts and Outreach Manager at Garter Lane, is excited to host a range of Bealtaine events at the theatre.
“We have run Bealtaine Festival events for many years and we are committed to providing quality programming for our older audience,” she said.
“This is a festival which celebrates lifelong learning and creativity and, for us, it’s an opportunity for us to celebrate our older visitors who have been key to the success of Garter Lane.” This year, “there is something for everyone”, says Aoibhie, with six free adult workshops in music, creative writing, art, gemstones, as well as two new exhibitions, eight film screenings, six dance classes and much more.

Artist Catherine Drea will run a free “Photography as Memory Making” workshop at Garter Lane as part of this year’s Bealtaine Festival, which runs throughout the month of May.

Artist Catherine Drea will run a free “Photography as Memory Making” workshop at Garter Lane as part of this year’s Bealtaine Festival, which runs throughout the month of May.

She added: “Over half of the 30 events are free of charge, so whether you’re interested in music, dance, art, or simply want to try something new and meet new people there really is something for everyone.” The Bealtaine Festival at Garter Lane kicks off this Friday, May 4th with an opening reception for two new art exhibitions, with a programme of cross-discipline creativity running right up to May 30th.To give just a taste of what’s to come-guitar lovers, for instance can benefit from a beginners guitar workshop, or all budding poets and novelists can join a Modwords creative writing class. Sketchers and scribblers can join a free citywide sketching tour, while any stiff limbs can be shaken out to the Best Foot Forward Dance Class.

Highlights of the Bealtaine festival at Garter Lane include the Access Cinema free film screenings of “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”, as well as “Sully” starring Tom Hanks, along with the wonderful “Uncovering the Creative Me” Workshop, which allows you to tap into your senses and explore mark making and drawing in a mindful environment.
As with Bealtaine events at Waterford City Libraries, booking ahead for these events is essential to secure a place. And while Garter Lane’s Bealtaine festival is aimed at engaging an older audience, many of their events are suitable for all ages. Bealtaine promises a month of imagination, entertainment and creativity. “We sincerely hope all people will join in the Bealtaine festival” said Jenny Loughran. “We hope to have another fun filled festival that allows people to continue making connections and becoming more involved in their community.”

For a list of Bealtaine Festival events at Waterford City and County Libraries, drop into your local library branch or email and to see the list of Bealtaine Festival events at Garter Lane Arts Centre, drop into the Box Office or visit

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