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25/07/2021

Bealtaine 2021: Celebrating creativity and resilience in Longford's older citizens

Bealtaine 2021: Celebrating creativity and resilience in Longford's  older citizens

Ballymahon Library staff members Helen Sheridan and Genevieve Montgomery handing over seed packs to Grace Kearney Ballymahon FRC , Breda Greaves Day Care and Gda Emma Kiernan

2021 follows one of the most significant and challenging years in recent human history. As we tentatively move towards a post-Covid-19 world, we can begin to reflect upon the devastating impact that Covid-19 has had on all human life.

As we know too well, the impact on older generations has been particularly destructive, as well as overwhelmingly isolating.

However, during this time, we have also learned more about our capacities for solidarity, togetherness, resilience and social support. The cherry blossoms are in bloom, there is new hope in the air and the month of May each year is dedicated to Bealtaine celebrating the creativity and contribution of our older citizens to their community.

The theme that has been chosen for this year is In(ter)dependence and we will celebrate the fortitude, endurance, as well as the stoicism of older people in surviving Covid-19, as well as remembering the lives of those who weren’t so lucky.

Speaking to the Leader, Bealtaine Coordinator Fiona Cooney from Longford Library said “Here in Longford there is an exciting and varied programme running throughout the month of May.

“We want to recognise and celebrate the unique contribution our older people make to their local community and we look forward with hope to the time when we can be together again.

“A large part of this year’s programme has to be run online but there is something to suit all interests and we are happy to assist anyone who has any difficulty accessing any of the events. Please contact your local library and the staff will be very happy to help.”

Among the highlights will be ten live concerts at each of our Nursing homes and day care centres performed by ‘Mobile Music Machine’ a quartet of professional musicians. Local soprano Emer Barry will be the special guest who will perform at each venue.

This initiative which is funded by Creative Ireland Longford is the brainchild of cellist Gerald Peregrine who is a member of the very famous O Grady musical family and Gerald performed as a soloist for Pope Francis when he came to Ireland.

Acclaimed Irish photographer Brian Farrell will visit the homes of thirty of our older citizens from across the county to photograph them and record their story. This project will result in an exhibition and a book later in the year.

Backstage Theatre, in partnership with Longford County Library and the Longford Older Persons’ Council, will run a continuation of the ‘Through the Window’ project that began last year.

Three people with an interest in exploring their creativity will be paired with an artist and this will result in a video which will be showcased on social media.

Children in primary schools will be involved in a ‘Local Heroes’ project. They will identify older people in their communities who have contributed to the life of their own community in different ways. The pupils will conduct the interviews and these will be recorded in the Longford Community TV studio and will be premiered at Cruinniu na nÓg on June 12.

There will be lots of creative things for our older citizens to do online e.g Gardening, art, cookery, song, and story. The recently launched Grow it Forward seed project encouraging everyone to get out into their garden and try their hand at growing their own vegetables is proving very successful.

There is still time to get some free seed packs from your local library. Well known local gardener Mary Holmes will be giving lots of helpful tips on growing vegetables and flowers during the month.

Fiona Egan from Cloughan Farm Cookery School will provide plenty of ideas for delicious summer dishes.

Angela Reynolds, well-known local music director, will be encouraging everyone to join her very popular online weekly sing-alongs each Friday at 2pm throughout the month.

You can send in your requests for your favourite songs and join Angela to hear all your old favourites. The three Longford Literary festivals celebrating great Longford writers from the past Padraic Colum, Maria Edgeworth and Oliver Goldsmith will also take place this month.

Each year during Bealtaine an inspiring book of the month is chosen and this years choice is the well known Irish poet Paula Meehan’s collection As if by Magic. Longford writers, Longford Older Persons Council and library staff will read their favourite poem through the month.

For more information please contact Fiona at Longford library 0433341124 or any of your local libraries. All events are free and will take place online on Longford Libraries and Creative Ireland Longford social media.

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