Bealtaine is Ireland's national festival which celebrates the arts and creativity as we age takes place each May for the entire month. Artistic Director Tara Byrne introduces this year's programme...

Developing Bealtaine 2022 has undoubtedly been a challenge. Tempting people back to in-person events, while still offering an online festival, in the shadow of Covid-19, was never going to be easy. We also know that audiences have lost the 'habit’ of going out over the last two years.

As a response, we are offering one of our most diverse festivals ever, genuinely providing something for everyone, as well as reminding us of the pure joy of being in communion together, as we watch, listen, laugh, discuss, and, most importantly, take part in brilliant arts events.

So this Bealtaine, we’re providing the best of gigs in our music programme with Colm Mac Con Iomaire (Kilmuckridge, Wexford), Sean Millar (Abbey Theatre) and Mike Hanrahan (Ennis, Clare), as well as offering workshops in writing, music and the visual arts for those who want to actively create. For others who might want to test their ideas and nurture their inner debater, we have a meaty discussions programme tackling home care, perceptions of ageing and ageing in Traveller and other nomadic cultures.

There’s also a film programme, a wide visual arts programme (Roots and Shoots), and prestigious literature events with Colm Toibin, Peter Kennedy and readings in the National Library with Cathy Belton, David Herlihy and Doireann Ni Bhriain.

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Watch, via Six One News: This year's Bealtaine festival looks back at LGBTQ life in Ireland

We’re also celebrating the contribution of the LGBTQIA+ community to social and club culture in Ireland (Fabulous Flikkers), the richness of the Irish language (Manchan Magan’s 32 Words for Field), the land (Nigel Rolfe’s Land Workings: From the land and to return there) and the connections between generations (Colm Toibin and Padraig Regan in Standing on the Shoulders of Giants) .Other events will explore the challenges facing certain communities (Cathy Dunne’s Where Do All The Old Gays Go?), how older women are represented (ReStorying Ageing), communities of dissent (Sean Millar’s Love Song Part 1), intergenerational relationships (Dylan Tighe’s No Love Lost), the climate crisis (Lisa Fingleton’s Fresh Insights From The Field) and social class (the Working Class Archive).

Whatever happens this Bealtaine, we urge you to put on your party boots and get out there!

Find out more about this year's Bealtaine Festival here.