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What kind of old do you want to be?
Apr 12, 2012

‘What kind of old do you want to be’ during this year’s Bealtaine Festival?  Ireland’s largest collaborative Arts festival celebrates creativity as we age through a month long programme between 1-31 May every year.
Co-ordinated by Age & Opportunity, the national agency which promotes greater participation of older people in society, the festival presents a month long programme inviting people aged 50+ to engage with arts and cultural activity and offers opportunities to reignite the flame of creativity and unlock hidden talents through theatre, the visual arts, photography, music and literature.
In 2011, over 592 organisers came together to host over 3000 events (that’s 100+ events per day!) attracting 122,000 people in 27 counties.
To find out what Bealtaine events are happening near you, the Bealtaine Festival programme is available online www.bealtaine.com and in libraries and participating organisations nationwide.

Some quotes from Bealtaine 2011:
‘They say life begins at 40, how wrong that is. Mine began the day I heard the ad on local radio for the Blow the Dust off your Trumpet project.  I met 23 strangers there, who are now all in daily contact with one another. For all of us, our lives are taken up with our orchestra, which we are continuing to run.  Who needs therapy when you can have an orchestra’!

‘I am at the point where I am at the cusp of reaching a new phase in my life. I like to think it will be interesting and I will have things to do.  It’s really important because people are living longer now. Events like this are hugely important’

‘I think it is wonderful to think everyone can get out there is no need to be at home and worrying, getting old in the corner. Let’s just get out and do things, you can add to your experience and well being and meet other people’

‘Ireland is a good place to become old in, but young people should start getting involved  with groups so that they have people to be involved with when they get older. Being on your own is lonely when you close your door at night’

Mary McEvoy, actor: ‘As an actor and as a person, I don’t want to become invisible. I don’t expect to retire. Everyone can have a dream, no matter what age they are – because life is continually creative’

John Beard, Director, Department of Ageing and Life Course, World Health Organization: ‘Ireland is fortunate to have the Bealtaine festival, celebrating creativity in older age. Developed by Age & Opportunity, and operating nationally, it celebrates ageing in all its diversity. It fosters meaningful arts experiences at a grassroots level using a vast collaborative network involving partners locally and nationally. Bealtaine changes the way organisations interact with older people as well as challenging attitudes about what it means to age in Ireland. The Bealtaine festival is truly inspirational’

Kathleen Lynch, Minister of State for Disability, Older People, Equality and Mental Health: ‘Age & Opportunity – what a magnificent name and what a magnificent organisation to be able to pull all of what we feel about people who are older together and to give them new opportunities.  It’s no accident that Bealtaine takes place in the month of May.  It’s about new beginnings. It’s about coming together and shared experiences’
Fiona Ross, Director National Library of Ireland: ‘I don’t think a month is long enough! Having an active mind, a passion, a love and a connection with other people definitely improves your quality of living and possibly your longevity.  By engaging with culture, the arts, each other, with material and objects in a passionate and interested way, we have a reason to get out of bed in the morning’