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Bealtaine - a festival celebrating creativity as we age comes to healthcare settings at Galway University Hospitals, Units 5 and 6 Merlin Park and Roscommon University Hospital

Bealtaine - a festival celebrating creativity as we age comes to healthcare settings at Galway University Hospitals, Units 5 and 6 Merlin Park and Roscommon University Hospital

The Bealtaine Festival celebrates its 21st birthday this year and runs nationwide throughout the month of May.  Galway University Hospitals Arts Trust has a series of events programmed for older patients in Galway University Hospitals, Units 5 and 6 in Merlin Park and Roscommon University Hospital.  A variety of arts events are scheduled including theatre shows, art workshops and music performances.

Throughout the months of May and June, art workshops will be facilitated by Marielle MacLeman and Louise Manifold. The artists will be giving participants the opportunity to work in a variety of mediums from watercolour to wools.  Some of the completed works will be on showcased at the Burning Bright exhibition in Galway Arts Centre.  The exhibition will be launched on Wednesday May 18 at 2:00 pm in Galway Arts Centre, Dominick Street and followed by a tea dance in Nun’s Island Theatre for all participants.

To further celebrate creativity as we age, music and theatre have also been incorporated. On May 18 and 19, there will be music performances by Aindrias de Staic who is an actor, musician and one of a new generation of Irish storytellers. Born in Galway his rich and rare style of fiddle playing is as unique to the west of Ireland as his story-telling, antics and humour. Also Carnation Theatre brings its show ‘Midwife of a Nation’ to Roscommon University Hospital on May 19 and units 4 and 6 in Merlin Park on May 20. The play celebrates the role of key women during the Easter Rising 1916. Given the centenary year this performance further inspires creativity in older people.

Later in May, to continue to celebrate Bealtaine, ‘Troubadors for Health’ with Jonathan Gunning and Miquel Barcelo; will perform for patients in Merlin Park. This project uses the arts – including music, storytelling and improvisation to provide an interactive playful experience that is tailored to each individual.  Troubadours for Health comprises of music, song, dance and short dramatic sketches.  All long term patients plus those in respite care are included; those who are bed bound and unable to attend the dayroom get a personal performance by their bedside. Lastly, the Bealtaine calendar for will be rounded off by Ceara and Liam Conway in on May 30 and 31. Connemara singer Ceara Conway is an accomplished artist and singer and she will perform a medley of songs from sean nós and folk traditions and will be accompanied on guitar by Liam Conway.

Margaret Flannery of Galway University Hospitals Arts Trust comments that ‘During the month of May the Bealtaine Festival offers us the opportunity to highlight the creativity of our older patients and to celebrate their achievements in the arts while also introducing new programmes and special events. The programme in Galway this year has something for everyone and we hope to continue with this meaningful engagement with our older patients’.

This year’s Bealtaine programme in GUH, Roscommon University Hospital and Units 5 and 6 is supported by Galway City Council, Galway County Council, Galway Arts Centre and Galway University Hospitals Arts Trust. For more information on the scheduled events during the Bealtaine Festival contact Margaret Flannery, Arts Director at or 091-544979.

Click to view schedule of events

The article above is specific to the following Saolta hospitals:: 
Merlin Park University Hospital (MPUH)
University Hospital Galway (UHG)