A man and a young boy sitting on rocks on a beach playing musical instruments
Chris Droney and his grandson Éanna Droney

Case study: the Bealtaine Festival – celebrating creativity as we age

Always be open to new things, always do new things. My priorities are different. I don’t care now if the house isn’t clean every day. I’d much prefer to be dancing or painting or meeting people. – Eithne Doyle, Bealtaine participant

The Bealtaine Festival was established in Ireland in 1995 as the world’s first national arts festival that specifically celebrates creativity as we age. During the month of May, the nation celebrates creative ageing through this month-long festival. An estimated 125,000 people take part in activities, making it one of Ireland’s biggest arts festivals.

From dance to cinema, painting to theatre, Bealtaine showcases the talents and creativity of both first-time and professional older artists. The festival offers participants opportunities to make unique and challenging work, to communicate traditions between generations, to discover talents, and to showcase dormant skills in a new outlet.

This video shows the wide range of activities people taking part in this festival get involved in.

Each year, Age & Opportunity invites local authorities, arts centres, libraries, active retirement groups, care settings, community groups, clubs, and associations from every part of the country to run Bealtaine events that celebrate creativity as we age. In 2015, this included 661 organisers.

Novelty is a key component of successful ageing because it opens us up to seeing new ways of doing things. Creativity extends beyond the arts and into how you approach your life.

  • Have you been involved in any events similar to the Bealtaine Festival?’
  • What was your experience?

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Strategies for Successful Ageing

Trinity College Dublin

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