Bealtaine Festival


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The Bealtaine Festival is Ireland’s ground-breaking celebration of creativity in older age. Bealtaine means ‘May’ with all of its associations of fresh starts, emergence and renewal. Throughout the month in County Sligo there are opportunities for you to get involved, to try something different and simply enjoy yourself. It is a chance to meet people and to see what they have created in the last year, and it’s a chance to share traditions across the generations.  

For over a decade Sligo Arts Service in partnership with the HSE West has succeeded in providing older people with increased opportunities to participate in cultural activities and both organisations together with support from the national organisation Age and Opportunity is delighted to present this arts festival that specifically targets older people. 

The Bealtaine Festival Sligo has grown by including local arts and cultural venues, community and care settings and active retirement groups to facilitate a more active social life for older people who wish to broaden their horizons, meet new like minded people and get out more.  


Bealtaine Events Sligo 2012

Sligo Arts Service and HSE West Programmes of Events 

Annual Bealtaine Festival Art Exhibition

Opening from Tuesday 1st May

Primary Care Unit, Markievicz House, Sligo

This wonderful exhibition is a collection of photographs by members of Active Age and Retirement Groups, participants at Day Care Centres and individuals throughoutCountySligowith a passion for this form of creative expression.

This Exhibition will run at the Primary Care Unit until March 2013.


‘Faces of Sligo Town’ Photographic Exhibition

By James Fraher

Wednesday 2nd May, 6pm

Hawk’s Well Theatre, Temple Street, Sligo

Faces of Sligo Town’ is a Bealtaine Festival Sligo 2012 commissioned photographic project based on local Sligo town shops and the people that run them. The theme of the project celebrates the generational link of family-run shops which, over the years, continue to give character to the face of our streets. This exhibition is part Sligo 400, the 400th Anniversary of Sligo Borough.


‘Our Streets’ Window Installation

Thursday 3rd May

A 3D installation of paper sculptures and collage created by the participants of the Tuesday Afternoon Arts in Health group at the Avalon Centre, Sligo Town. (Window to be confirmed).


‘Pop Up’ Windows Exhibition

Friday 4th May

Shop Windows, Sligo Town

A collection of installation works exploring the theme ofSligo’s Town and County festivals. The work was created by Clasp & Rathcormac Intergenerational groups and Cliffoney, Collooney, Carrigans and Easkey Health Centres. These groups were led by local visual artists Brigitta Varadi, Laura Mahon, Karen Webster, Sherrie Scott, Heidi Wickham, Dorothee Kolle, Pia Lück and Joe Helder.


Cos Cos Sean Nós Festival

Wednesday 9th May, 6 pm – 8 pm

Rathcormac Hall, Drumcliffe, Sligo

The Cos Cos Sean Nós Festival (Friday 11th – Sunday 13th May) links with Bealtaine Sligo 2012 to celebrate older musicians and their music with a session of music, dance and song. All are welcome; admission is free.

Sunday 13th May, Afternoon The History Cottage, Rathcormac, Drumcliffe, Sligo

Join in an afternoon of stories from County Sligo and beyond.  All are welcome to share a story and add to the conversation led by writer Maura Gilligan.



A one man show by actor Mikel Murfi

 Bealtaine Festival Sligo is delighted to introduce a new drama production ‘THE MAN IN THE WOMAN'S SHOES’ commissioned for 2012 by Sligo Arts Service and The Hawk’s Well Theatre with funding from Sligo County Council, Sligo Borough Council and the Arts Council of Ireland.

THE MAN IN THE WOMAN'S SHOES is a one man show developed with older age groups inCountySligoby actor Mikel Murfi. Over the course of a month, Mikel met group members who shared stories about characters from the town and county who stand out in their collective memories. Poignant, funny, charming and sometimes outrageous, the show brings to life an amalgam of the magical and sometimes contrary folk who were familiar here and about.



St Johns Nursing Home Sligo Town Friday 25th May 2pm

Cliffoney Hall Saturday 26th May 2pm

Ballymote Cinema / Theatre Wednesday 30th May 2pm

Hawk’s Well Theatre Thursday 31st May 7pm

Closing the Bealtaine Festival Sligo


Tickets are free to all performances. Booking is required. Contact the Hawk’s Well Theatre box office: 071 916 1518

A number of events are being hosted by The Model, Sligo and other groups and venues throughout the County. For further information see and   



Project Artists

Visual Artist Catherine Fanning
Writer Maura Gilligan
Singer Cathy Jordan
Photographer James Fraher
Sound Recording Perry Blake

Special Thanks to

Johnny Frank Mahon
Tessy Pugh
Ray McSharry
Mary Mannion
Winnie Mullen
Participants of Avalon Centre
Participants of Gurteen Active Age
Participants of Skrenn Day Centre
Participants of Enniscrone Health Centre

DVD filmed and edited by Caroline Clancy
Pink Lime Video Productions

© Sligo County Council Arts Department, City Hall, Quay Street, Sligo, Co. Sligo, Ireland tel: +353 (0) 71 911 4465