Over 180 events stretching right across Donegal help make up an extensive programme for the 18th annual Bealtaine Festival which takes place throughout the month of May.
Bealtaine is about celebrating creativity as we age and from dance to cinema, painting to theatre, it is a chance for people to make new and challenging work and to communicate traditions between the generations.
The festival is organised by Donegal County Council’s Cultural Services in association with a wide range of partner organisations.
Speaking last week, Eileen Burgess Cultural Services Manager with Donegal County Council stated that “this festival boasts one of the most extensive programmes in the country and takes place in libraries, Taobh Tíre centres, arts and community venues, community hospitals and day care centres”.
She added: “Bealtaine has something to suit everyone. All the events in the exhibitions and day by day sections are open to the public and the vast majority are free of charge. There are special Bealtaine concessions available for other events and the public is encouraged to take advantage of this great opportunity and attend as many Bealtaine events as they can”.
The theme for 2015 comes from a famous homecoming, where Odysseus comes home but does not recognise his homeland: “Tell me, then, and tell me truly, what land and country is this? Who are its inhabitants? Am I on an island, or is this the sea board of some continent?”
Bealtaine participants are invited to look at our country through new eyes, to hear with new ears and to ask ‘what land and country is this?’
Bealtaine in Donegal is part of a wider national month long arts festival celebrating creativity in older age. Coordinated by Age & Opportunity, the festival covers all art forms, offers over 1,500 events countrywide and involves older people as performers, audience members and event organisers.
The launch by Donegal’s County Council Cathaoirleach, Councillor John Campbell takes place in the Central Library Letterkenny on Friday, May 1 at 11am. Guest speaker for the occasion will be John McNamara from Active Ireland. This will be followed by entertainment from musicians Tanya McCole and Denise Boyle. It is sponsored by the Europe Direct Information Centre, Central Library, Letterkenny and all are welcome to attend.