Bealtaine Gathering 2022

The Gathering is a day of networking, showcasing good practice, discussion and feedback on the festival as we look ahead to 2023. It provides us with an opportunity to hear about the challenges and needs of the organisers, showcases interesting and inspirational events from the previous festival, and provides practical supports for local organisers.

In our first in-person Gathering since 2019, we’re bringing the Bealtaine community of organisers, artists, partners and supporters to look at different issues of diversity as they relate to older age. We’re looking forward to sharing our full line-up which includes presentations on gender balance in the arts, older LGBTQIA+ communities, intergenerational projects and the experiences of older artists.

Our keynote speaker is Patricia Scanlan, author of The City Girl trilogy, A Time For Friends, and many other novels. As one Ireland’s best-known and most popular authors, we can’t wait to hear about Patricia’s reflections on writing and ageing.

We’re also looking forward to hearing about issues facing organisers around the country and how we can better support you to plan fantastic events for Bealtaine 2023.

To book SEE HERE.


  • 10am Arrival and registration
  • 10:30am Opening performance by poet Nithy Kasa
  • 10:45am Introduction by Dr. Tara Byrne, Arts Programme Manager and Bealtaine Festival Artistic Director, Age & Opportunity
  • 10:50am Keynote speaker, writer Patricia Scanlan
  • 11:35am to 12:40pm Case studies on Flikkers (Bealtaine 2022) by Francis Fay and Monica Flynn, Tell Me This Now (Bealtaine 2022) by Louise White, and Chronic Collective by Áine O'Hara
  • 12:40pm Lunch break (please note lunch will not be provided)
  • 1:30pm Presentation on older men's participation in the arts by Ed Watts, Head of Civic Engagement and Education at the Whitworth (Manchester)
  • 1:55pm Presentation on the Bealtaine Festival 2022 Evaluation by Mary Harkin, Policy, Research & Evaluation Manager, Age & Opportunity
  • 2:30pm Focus groups discussion
  • 3:30pm Tea and coffee break (provided by Project Arts Centre)
  • 3:45pm Feedback from focus groups discussion
  • 4:00pm Artist panel on diverse programming chaired by Chandrika Narayanan-Mohan, featuring Noelle Brown, Favour Odusola, and Pauline Cummins
  • 4:45pm Closing performance by poet Nithy Kasa
  • 4:55pm Closing remarks from Dr. Tara Byrne

Speaker biographies

Patricia Scanlan lives in Dublin. Her books, all number one bestsellers, have been translated into many languages and sold worldwide with over 1.5 million copies in Ireland alone. Patricia is the series editor and a contributing author to the Open Door series published by New Island.

Ed Watts is the Head of Civic Engagement and Education at the Whitworth, part of the University of Manchester. He leads the award winning and dynamic Civic Engagement and Education team who work with audiences across health, social care, volunteering and education. The Whitworth aim to transform the way that art is experienced and used, by using art as a tool to open up conversation, generate empathy and actively address what matters most in people’s lives – here and now.