The Bealtaine Festival is Ireland's national celebration of creativity as we age. During May, all over the country Bealtaine events are running in arts centres, theatres, libraries, galleries, community centres, local halls, care settings, cultural spaces and even out in the open air! The theme for 2017 is All Together Now! Collectivism, civic engagement and protest!, which continues Bealtaine’s three-year exploration of Nationhood and Citizenship. Age and Opportunity states that this theme aims "to explore the concept of ‘people power’, the collective, civic engagement (and yes protest!), as well as the empathy that accompanies these human activities". Bealtaine, established in Ireland in 1996, is an Age and Opportunity initiative part-funded by the Arts Council and delivered by hundreds of organisations around the country with over 120,000 people now taking part, making it one of Ireland’s biggest arts festivals. From dance to cinema, painting to theatre, Bealtaine showcases the talents and creativity of both first-time and professional older artists.
Once again Clare County Library will participate in the Bealtaine Festival with a varied and widespread programme of events throughout the month of May in library branches throughout the county. All events are free of charge and everyone is welcome. Events will include talks, craft displays, workshops and movie screenings as part of the Bealtaine Film Tour which is presented by access>CINEMA in partnership with the Irish Film Institute.
This year’s chosen films for the Bealtaine Film Tour are Dare to be Wild (2016) starring Emma Greenwell, Tom Hughes, Don Wycherly and Carrie Crowley, Pride (2014) starring Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Andrew Scott, Paddy Considine and Dominic West and 12 Angry Men (1957) starring Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, E.G. Marshall, Jack Warden and Jack Klugman. Screenings begin on Tuesday 2nd May in Ennis and will take place throughout the month in library branches in Ennis, Ennistymon, Kilkee, Kilrush, Scariff and Shannon where the libraries will be transformed into a cinema with a difference for your viewing pleasure. You can contact your local library for screening times or visit www.clarelibrary.ie. Killaloe Public Library will also host a film screening of A Date for Mad Mary (2016) starring Seána Kerslake, Tara Lee, Charleigh Bailey and Denise McCormack on Friday, 26th May at 7.30pm. Movie screenings for adults take place monthly at Killaloe and Scariff libraries. Details are available on the Library’s website.
On Saturday 13th May at 11am in the Dr. Patrick J. Hillery Library in Miltown Malbay Cora O’Grady will hold a workshop on the art of Decoupage. Participants will learn how to transform everyday objects into works of art by pasting cut-out images on to an object and then covering the object with several coats of varnish or lacquer. Cora will first give a demonstration followed by a workshop with audience participation. People are advised to bring a small sturdy cardboard box to decorate, e.g. a jewellery box. Everyone is welcome, no booking required.
On Tuesday, 23rd May at 12pm Carmen Cullen presents her show Hello Delia Murphy, a tribute to her aunt, the singer Delia Murphy, in the De Valera Library in Ennis. Delia Murphy, from Hollymount, Co. Mayo, was one of Ireland's best known recording stars of the 30s and 40s in Ireland. A revered figure in Irish music Delia is thought of today as being one of the major figures of Irish song. She was a mould-breaker and pioneer in her field and created a role for herself as an Irish female popular singer that, some would say, hasn't been equalled yet. Having established ballad singing as an acceptable song form, she was known for such songs as The Spinning Wheel, If I were a Blackbird and Three Lovely Lassies from Bannion. Along with musician Gerry Anderson, Carmen Cullen will give the audience a special opportunity to hear about Delia's life as well as listening to her songs. Carmen will also give a dramatised reading from her novel Two Sisters Singing, published by Liberties Press in 2013 and loosely based on Delia's life. Carmen says, "We are making a special effort to bring back memories of my aunt to people who recall her, as well as attracting new interest in her as a unique woman and artiste".
Also on Tuesday, 23rd May at 6.30pm Breda Stack, the Declutter Therapist, will host an event at the Seán Lemass Public Library in Shannon. Breda teaches her audience how to break free from being overwhelmed by clutter so you can enjoy a simpler, happier life. Breda is author of Declutter Therapy, founder of Ireland’s National Declutter Day and International Declutter Day, creator of The Declutter Academy for professional student training and a regular contributor to TV, radio and print media. Breda’s talk covers a variety of practical wardrobe and home decluttering information, tips and guidelines on personal style, organisation, storage and lifestyle as well as her uniquely specialised and essential area of decluttering mindset, challenges and benefits. Breda visited the library in Ennis in early April when her event attracted a huge audience so this is a great chance to catch the event if you missed it then.
On Thursday, 25th May at 11.30am Ennistymon Public Library will host Eamon Doyle, the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark Geologist, with his talk entitled There’s Life in the Old Rocks of Clare. This is a fascinating insight into the variety of fossils found in the rocks of County Clare and the interesting stories they tell.
The Library continues to team up with Friends Ireland, a group that provides volunteers to teach basic computer/laptop/tablet/mobile phone classes on an ongoing basis. The classes are free and run in four week slots but places are limited and should be booked through the participating branches. These classes are currently running in the libraries in Ennis and Shannon. Full details are available on the Library’s website. For more information on Friends Ireland visit www.friendsireland.ie.
On Wednesday 31st May staff from Clare County Library will join Gavin Grace on Clare FM’s Morning Focus show to discuss a title chosen especially for the Bealtaine Festival as part of the monthly radio book club, which is a collaboration between the two organisations. Stay tuned to Clare FM for more details and/or see the Library’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/clarecountylibrary.
Membership of the Library is free and Clare County Library boasts 15 branches throughout the county. So, during the Bealtaine Festival, why not join your local branch? You’ll discover a whole world of books, CDs, DVDs, free online resources including e-books and e-magazines and so much more. You may even join one of the many clubs being run including book clubs, movie clubs and scrabble clubs. A whole new experience awaits you! For more information on the Bealtaine events and much more visit Clare County Library’s website at www.clarelibrary.ie or phone 065-6846350. Remember all events at the Library are free of charge! For information on Bealtaine events happening nationwide visit www.bealtaine.com.