Longford gets set to celebrate creativity in older age

It’s that time of the year again when creativity in older age will be celebrated across the country through the Bealtaine Festival, and there are an array of wonderful events taking place in this County throughout the month of May to mark what has become a very special event for older people in Ireland.

It’s that time of the year again when creativity in older age will be celebrated across the country through the Bealtaine Festival, and there are an array of wonderful events taking place in this County throughout the month of May to mark what has become a very special event for older people in Ireland.

Longford County Library/Longford VEC and Longford Older Persons Network, supported by Longford Community Guards, St Joseph’s Day Care Centre and Longford Sports Partnerships have joined forces this year to provide a huge county-wide Bealtaine programme throughout the month which will include craft events, exhibitions, storytelling, genealogy, music and art workshops with special one taster taster workshops all over Longford. Highlights include ‘A Mad Hatter’s Workshop’ with local milliner, Wendy Louise Knight.

Ms Knight is also encouraging everyone to bring along their old hats and engage in a bit of redesign that will see a brand new creation by the end of the evening. On Tuesday, May 8 from 10am to 2:30pm, Granard Library in association with the ‘Arts & Crafts Extravaganza’ and ‘Art Exhibition’ will feature the compelling and exciting work of local artists.

“Following an extraordinary début event on the Culdaff beach in Donegal in May 2009, Dawn Chorus is returning to waterfronts all across Ireland this year,” County Librarian Mary Carlton Reynolds explained. “The Association of Irish Choirs and Active Retirement Ireland are encouraging choirs throughout the country to open their doors to retirement groups, to develop a short concert together and to sing on a scenic waterfront in every county at dawn on Sunday, May 27 and here in Longford, Granard Active Retirement will hold an event in conjunction with the local Granard Choir.”

Bealtaine is Ireland’s unique festival, celebrating creativity in older age and it is coordinated by Age and Opportunity. Age and Opportunity is a not-for-profit organisation that promotes opportunities for greater participation by older people in society, through partnerships and collaborative programmes. The organisation has developed the model established by the Bealtaine festival in global settings, following invitations from Age Cymru in Wales, with Creative Scotland and Arts and Health Australia. “2011 saw Bealtaine brokering and supporting nearly 600 organisers, producing over 3,000 events nationally with approximately 125,000 people participating,” Ms Carlton Reynolds added. “It has inspired similar events across the globe including Australia, as well as closer to home, in Scotland and Wales. In 2012 the festival is asking ‘What kind of old do YOU want to be?’ and ‘What kind of world do you want to grow older in?’.” The Bealtaine Festival 2012 will see hundreds of theatrical, cinematic, craft, photographic, choral, dance and other events taking place across Ireland, providing people with a unique opportunity to explore these issues. More information on the Bealtaine Festival events in Longford can be obtained by contacting Fiona Cooney on (043) 334 1124 or Jacqueline Kennedy at rathmhuirerc@eircom.net. Log onto www.bealtaine.com for regular updates and the Bealtaine Newspaper which provides an overview and details of all festival activities is available for free at Centra stores nationwide.