The 2017 Bealtaine Living Earth festival will take place on May 20th to 28th in many locations around the country’s South east. There will be numerous activities on the days, with lots of talks and guided walks organized. The aim is to encourage people to explore Ireland’s wonderful biodiversity and natural heritage.
The festival is now in its 13th year, with it having numerous organizers. Calmast, Waterford Institute of Technology’s award winning science outreach centre, governmental and non-governmental organisations are the organizers of this years event. They are working together to organize 40 free events for over 2,000 people.
The festival is set up so that events for schools take place during the day, while events for the general public and families will be held in the evenings and weekends.
It is supported by the Science Foundation Ireland and also the Waterford Council.
The word Bealtaine comes from the ancient Celtic festival of the same name. It is the Irish for the month of May. The ancient Celtic festival was held to celebrate the revival of growth after the long winter months. The festival also celebrates the arrival of Summer and reminds us of the importance and our dependency on our “living Earth”.
Sheila Donegan of Calmast, coordinator of the festival had this to say “We are delighted to be working with over a dozen groups who will be coming together with Waterford Institute of Technology(WIT) to offer their expertise and enthusiasm for over 40 free events,".
She also added that "The festival is growing year on year and this year we are delighted to have such centres as Mount Congreve Estate and Currgahmore Estate and JFK Arboretum join us in celebrating the natural heritage of the South East. This year with the opening of the Greenway, we are delighted to be able to introduce our school students to it.”
Events throughout the week include a mammal and bat walk, held by Andre Harrington of WIT, on Monday the 22nd. He will take visitors on an adventure through Curraghmore Estate with the hope of spotting some otters, bats, red squirrels, and pine martens.
A dusk bird walk will be held by author and broadcaster, Eric Dempsey. This will be carried out in the Mount Congreve estate in Kilmeaden on the Tuesday. He will guide the walk-through Rhododendrons, Magnolias, Camellias and many of the continents other flowers.
There are many partner centres involved in the event, these include: Lismore Heritage Centre, OPW, Native Woodland Trust and Oceanics in Tramore to name a few.
A wide variety of event will be on offer throughout the week. These include anything from cookery demonstrations to art installations, each with a distinct biodiversity theme.
Tips and tricks for making delicious seaweed infused recipes will be provided by author and seaweed expert, Marie Power, during her sea-shore walk.
Each year the Bealtaine festival ties in with the International Day for Biological Diversity (Mon 20th).
The theme of this year’s Day is Sustainable Tourism.” Several events throughout the week will tie into this theme.
Over the past twelve years the Bealtaine Living earth festival has had over 20,000 participants. Last year alone over 2,000 people took part in the organised walks, workshops, science initiatives and other events. As mentioned previously all events during the week are free of charge.
Places can be secured at any event though, for more information please see http://www.livingearth.ie