24 May 2022

Exciting programme of events to celebrate Bealtaine older person's festival in Offaly


Dan and Molly's pub in Ballyboy will host events for Bealtaine this month

Offaly Older Persons Network have recently worked with other organisations to create a calendar of events to celebrate Bealtaine during the month of May.

Bealtaine was celebrated as far back as Celtic times but in more recent times Bealtaine is an opportunity for older people to engage in arts and creative activities and events.

Offaly Older Persons Network meets monthly and aims to ensure that older people are heard when decisions are being made, to share information and also to organise programmes and activities. The past two years have been difficult times for older people with many social activities cancelled or curtailed. However, the network attempted to play its part to lessen social isolation, anxiety and loneliness. Since November 2020 Offaly Older Person’s Network played a very active role in supporting the weekly Chatters & Matters Midlands 103 radio programme. The network was a partner organisation in 'The Way We Were' Writing Project Working Group and the book was recently published and launched. Offaly Older Person's Network delivered a Positive Ageing Week programme at the end of September last year. Last November, the network hosted a Storytelling event via Zoom. Once again, the event was successful and older people told stories for all the participants’ enjoyment. Also in November, the network liaised with Laois Offaly Education & Training Board and as a result, older people participated on a Creative Writing course in Birr.

In May 2021 the Network hosted a Gathering event, via Zoom, at which 'The Way We Were' project was officially launched. Also in May, the network hosted an excellent Bealtaine Festival event via Zoom with older people from around County Offaly providing the entertainment, with over 50 attendees. Zoom is a very useful way of communicating but is no substitute for being able to get out there and to attend a Bealtaine in Offaly 2022 event.

Last week Bealtaine in Offaly started with a Welcoming Event for the Ukrainian people in The Presbyterian Church, Tullamore. Offaly Libraries have hosted Book Club events in Clara and Kilcormac. Earlier this week there were Flower Demonstrations in Banagher and Kilcormac Libraries and a Mid Offaly Lunch Club event in Mountbolus.

On Friday 13th May at 2.00pm in Grennans on the Green there will be an afternoon of Short readings from the ‘People of Killeigh & Beyond’ Series and ‘Memories The Way We  Were’. Booking or further information from Martina Gorman 085 2833117. 

Bealtaine in Offaly 2022 continues next week with a Walk in the Sculpture Park in Lough Boora Discovery Park on Monday 16th May starting at 11.00am. This walk will be led by Seamus Barron, former Bord na Mona worker and further information can obtained from Declan Costello, 087 6991226. On Thursday May 19th there will be a Flower Demonstration at 2.00pm in Edenderry Library. Later at 3.00pm on May 19th the Bealtaine Film in Birr Theatre & Arts Centre will be Academy Award winning ‘Belfast’ and you can book with Ann Coughlan, 057 9122911. On Thursday evening also Banagher Craft Group will have an exhibition of their work in Crank House and the contact person is Margaret Gallagher 087 4151709. On Friday 20th there are Flower Demonstrations at 11.00am in Tullamore Library and at 2.00pm in Birr Library.

The last week of Bealtaine in Offaly 2022 will include the Offaly Age Friendly Showcase event on Tuesday 24th May in the Tullamore Court Hotel, from 10.00 – 4.00pm, with Information, workshops and entertainment and the contact person is Bridie Costello Hynes, 087 1198591. Also on the 24th there will be a Smartphone Workshop with Craig Lucas in Daingean Library at 12.00 and to book contact Mary at 046 9731028 or Marie at 057 9353005.

On Wednesday 25th May there will be a Creative Birr Exhibition in the Library with members of Birr Craft Group showcasing their work from 4.00pm to 7.45pm. For more information contact Frances Kawala, 086 1261887. On Thursday 26th the ever popular Lunchtime Concert with Tullamore Gramophone Society will take place in the Library between 1.00 and 2.00pm. Later in the afternoon Ballyboy High Mileage Group will host a traditional music, song and dance event in Dan & Mollys starting at 4.00pm and booking with Alice Carroll, 086 3763084. The final event will be a European Neighbours Day event on Friday 27th May with culture and information sharing in Darmagh Community Building, Tullamore from 3.00 – 5.00pm and the contact person is Molly Buckley, 0872914302.

So as you can see there should be something for everyone to get out and about once again. Finally as mentioned earlier Bealtaine in Offaly 2022 would not happen without the collaborations and supports from Offaly Local Development Company, Offaly Age Friendly Programme, Offaly Libraries, Laois Offaly ETB, Birr Theatre & Arts Centre, older persons groups, craft groups, older people throughout the county and members of the Offaly Older Person’s Network.

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