Laois Bealtaine Festival

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Come and join in the celebrations!

For the month of May the Arts Office, Laois County Council invite people of an older age to join in some of the wonderful events that are happening in Laois for the Bealtaine Festival 2023.  In celebration of Creativity the theme for 2023 is ‘In(ter)dependence’


Memoir Writing Workshop at Laois Arthouse 

Join Eileen Casey for a Memoir Writing Workshop on Monday 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th May from 11:00am – 1:00pm at Laois Arthouse, Stradbally. ‘Digging’ memoir workshops are geared towards unearthing personal or family history treasures. Mining past lives helps to illuminate and revitalise our own precious life story. Each session will be facilitated in a relaxing, enjoyable and thought provoking way. The various types of memoir will be explored together with important memoir elements such as identifying timeline, bringing scenes and characters to life and how to avoid that familiar tyranny – too much information. Triggers and prompts throughout the duration of the course ensures that stories which might otherwise be lost in the mists of time, will breathe again.

Fee: €5 per session or €15 for four sessions. Booking is essential and fees to be paid in advance. Contact Laois County Council Cash Office – 05786 74308 for payment. Please quote: Bealtaine Memoir Writing workshop

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Dunamaise Arts Centre Events


Dance: Catherine Young Dance Company presents A Call to You  on Thursday 4th May, 8:00pm. 

A passionate celebration of life, togetherness and dance by outstanding international performers, with live music inspired by Ukrainian folk-dance traditions. A Call to You emerges from the incomprehensible times we live through and calls us to come together.

Theatre: Sorry for your Loss – Friday 5th May, 8:00pm. An unmissable night of fun and craic that will have you killed with laughter. The adult comedy show that gives Uncle Paddy the send-off he always wanted. If it’s laughter you’re after then this is the wake for you!

Cinema: Living – FREE for Bealtaine Wednesday 10th May, 11:00am and 8:00pm.  The story of an ordinary man, who, at the eleventh hour makes a supreme effort to turn his dull life into something wonderful.

ART: Exhibition in Dunamaise Café:  Forward Always Forward – FREE, Wednesday 10 May, 2:00pm . The exhibition is by artists from the Laois Activations Art Group. Join members of the Laois Activations Art Group to discuss their artwork on display throughout May in Dunamaise Café, their careers and artistic processes. All welcome.

Literature: Bealtaine Open Mic –  Thursday 11th May, 11:00am. Come along and share your creative writing – memoir, comedy, poetry, spoken word, flash fiction and storytelling are welcome. Open to readers, speakers, listeners and supporters. Refreshments served. Places limited so book ahead.

Comedy: Anne Gildea: How to Get the Menopause and Enjoy It – Saturday 13th May, 8:00pm.  Anne brings TMI to a whole new level on this hilarious, informative rollercoaster through this inevitable phase of lady-life. Why oh why was everything about women’s bodies always shrouded in such mystery?

Film: Roots and Shoots – Dawn to Dusk, Screening & DiscussionTuesday 16th May, 2:00-4:00pm

An artist documentary film about the artists’ collective, Na Cailleacha, who are six visual artists, one jazz musician, and a curator-writer who came together during 2020 to explore being female, older & hopefully wiser. Followed by interview with filmmaker Therry Rudin, Curator-writer Catherine Marshall (both members of Na Cailleacha). Chaired by Ann Marie Kelly, Radio Producer/Content Creator Midlands Ireland. Refreshments served.

Art: Artists Training: Socially Engaged Arts with Older People – Wednesday 17th May , 11:00am to 4:00pm. The training session, led by Sarah Thornton, will focus on understanding and delivering best practice when working creatively with older people.  It will share ideas drawn from the latest research and practice in the fields of ageing creatively, arts and health, and socially engaged arts. It will incorporate peer learning as well as opportunities for networking and sharing practice. Training will involve practical and creative exercises, discussions and resources.

Fashion: Sustainable Fashion Event with Artist, Rebecca Deegan – Saturday 20th May, 2:00pm Clothes swap, short docs, wearable art displays, upcycling table, demos & talks from slow-fashion designers & makers.

Support Group: Laois Alzheimer Café – Thursday 25th May, 11:00am . People with Alzheimers and their families & carers are welcome to gather over a cuppa for friendly chats and advice from experts in Laois Alzheimer Society and their guest speakers.

Booking for all events on | 057-8663355 or at the Box Office, Dunamaise Arts Centre, Church Street, Portlaoise. (Open Tue-Sat, 1-5pm and an hour before events).


A wide-ranging programme of events also taking place at Laois Libraries; Abbeyleix, Durrow, Mountmellick, Mountrath, Portarlington, Portlaoise, Rathdowney & Stradbally. There are many Lifestyle and Wellbeing events run by Laois Sports Partnership as well in various locations around the county from wellness walks to dancing.


Full programme of events is available here.




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