'Golden Opportunities' is a new weekly series broadcasting on Evelyn Grant's Weekend Drive that explores how engaging in creativity can provide a lifeline in difficult times.

Produced by Grey Heron Media with the Creative Ireland Programme for RTÉ lyric fm

Golden Opportunities Episode 1 - IMMA Part 1

In the first episode, we hear how Olive Galbraith's immersion in the outreach programme for older people at the Irish Museum of Modern Art has fostered a joyous new lease of life, giving her a second chance at art, after having felt it wasn't possible as a child. 'Curiosity is your ticket' says Helen O'Donoghue, Head of Engagement and learning at IMMA.

Golden Opportunities Episode 2 - IMMA Part 2

This week we explores the joy of creativity as we get older. "In engaging our imagination and our curiosity and our playfulness, we are engaging our younger selves" affirms Helen O'Donoghue of the Irish Museum of Modern Art. As Rosaleen Murphy participant in the IMMA outreach programme puts it "I've been for so long, so many years, just a wife, a mother and grandmother, and I lost 'me' somewhere in there. And this brings 'me' back to me."

Golden Opportunities Episode 3 - Dunshaughlin Choral Society

Creativity can allow us a space in our lives to reflect on our experiences, especially during difficult times. And this week we meet members of the Dunshaughlin Choral Society as they collaborate remotely. Together they have been writing their own powerful song, expressing their thoughts on grief and loss during the pandemic.

As member Suzanne Keegan affirms 'It's very powerful, writing down words, making yourself spend a few moments to sit down with a pen and paper, and see what comes out’.

Produced by Grey Heron Media for RTÉ lyric fm

Golden Opportunities Episode 4 - Tea and Ballet

Attending cultural events in person or online can bring much joy and interest to our lives. But if you have no one to go with, it's not easy to take the first step. This week we encounter Cork Cultural Companions. The initiative connects people aged over 55, helping them to make friends through arts and culture. One of the first events has been Tea & Ballet, where participants are getting to know each other every Monday over a cup of tea, while exploring the ballet Giselle, as performed by Cork City Ballet.

Golden Opportunities Episode 5 - Bealtaine Choir in Waterford

As a child, you may have been told you could not sing, but Anne Woodworth, leader of the Bealtaine Choir in Waterford, disagrees. She believes everyone can sing and it's never too late to start, so today we meet some members aged in their 70s, 80s and 90s. Their love of singing and strong sense of camaraderie has kept them connected this past year, through a lively WhatsApp group. Now, they're taking the first steps towards connecting through song once again, supported by Waterford Libraries and Music Generation Waterford.

Golden Opportunities Episode 6 - A Memory of Water

This past year has been particularly difficult for residents of nursing homes, who have experienced isolation and disconnect from their families and their locality. Today we encounter 'A Memory of Water', a project lead by artist Orlagh Meegan-Gallagher. Residents of Castleross Nursing Home, Co. Monaghan become immersed in memories of being beside or on the water, expressing those memories visually through a variety of mediums. Memories are sparked by objects sent from beyond the nursing home, like seashells, sand or family photos.

Golden Opportunities Episode 7 - Doorstep Dances

After months of being confined to home, the world is opening up again for older people. But naturally, levels of fitness and movement may have decreased. It's not so easy then to get back to doing what you love, whether that’s hillwalking or playing with grandchildren. Today we encounter Doorstep Dances, a collaboration between VISUAL Carlow and Róisín Whelan Dance Company supported by Creative Ireland Participants are engaging with Róisín from their doorsteps, building up their capacity for movement, and embarking on a programme of dance that expresses their unique personality and the music they love.

Golden Opportunities Episode 8 - Community Time Machine

It's possible to live in a community, but never truly connect with your neighbours. And if you're an older person you might feel that divide even more so now, having had to isolate for so long during the COVID-19 pandemic. In today's episode we drop in on the Community Time Machine project in Co. Wicklow that's addressing this challenge. Teenagers are put in contact with older people in their neighbourhood, working together on an interview and art piece, prompting conversations and new connections, aiming to build a stronger sense of community. (Photo Madeline Mulqueen)

Golden Opportunities Episode 9 - Rainbow Ballroom of Romance

There is a freedom and lightness that comes from dancing. And if you are dancing within the walls of a charming old ballroom, resonant with memories and echoes of laughter from the past, that feeling is made all the more special. In episode 9 of Grey Heron Media's series on creativity for Evelyn Grant's Weekend Drive, we reflect on the joy and camaraderie of social dancing, and we look forward to a time when it will be possible to dance together again. A Creative Ireland supported artistic project is just beginning at the Rainbow Ballroom of Romance, Glenfarne, Co. Leitrim, inspired by the memories and stories of those who have danced on its sprung maple floor throughout their lives.

Golden Opportunities Episode 10 - The Finale

As we say goodbye in this final episode of Golden Opportunities, we reflect on how the difficult days of the pandemic has also led to unexpected friendships, possibilities, and connections. Today we hear about the different kinds of creative endeavours that have helped older people across Ireland to rediscover their uninhibited selves, as we turn once again to hope.