Culture was an area of life that everyone can be involved in and benefit from. That was the message from Donegal County Council cathaoirleach, Cllr John Campbell when he officially opened the 18th annual Bealtaine festival this weekend.

The event, which took place at the Central Library in Letterkenny, attracted guests from various parts of the county and a number of councillors too.

Bealtaine is organised by the Regional Cultural Centre and Donegal County Library, in association with a wide range of partner organisations. The range of events contained in the programme has something to suit everyone.

Events include exhibitions, talks, reminiscence, computer classes, knitting, crochet, music, dancing and storytelling. The vast majority of events are free of charge, with special Bealtaine concessions available for others.

Introducing this year’s programme of events Frances Crampsie from the Central Library said this year’s event invited everyone to become involved with arts and cultural activities and provided a chance to reignite the flame of creativity and unlock hidden talents through a variety of hidden talents.

Shaun Hannigan of the Regional Cultural Centre outlined how over its 18 years Bealtaine had gone from eight to over 180 events and offered an ever widening variety of positive events for older people throughout the county.

Cathaoirleach Cllr John Campbell, who launched this year’s event, said he would encourage everyone to attend the diverse programme of events and join in celebrating creativity in older age.

“As a Council, we are dedicated to meeting the needs of the public through general education, information and recreation, to support the quest for knowledge and to meet the public’s interest in reading and the arts. Culture is an area of life that everyone can be involved in and benefit from.   Donegal County Council’s Cultural Services have been a proactive agent for community development, lifelong learning and social inclusion throughout the county,” he said.

Special guest John McNamara from Active Ireland said their vision was that of a society of all ages, free from age discrimination and stereotypes and based on solidarity, co-operation between generations where everyone was empowered to play an active part in their community and to enjoy equal rights and opportunities in all stages of life regardless of age, sex, race, ethnic origin, religious belief, social or economic status, sexual orientation, physical or medical conditions in need of care.

He urged local and national politicians to take a lead in ensuring more awareness of the contribution older people had made to the nation over the years.

The launch concluded with music from Tanya McCole and Dave Wintour and some impromptu dancing from the elderly and not so elderly guests.

The event was sponsored by the Europe Direct Information Centre, Central Library, Letterkenny.

For more on what’s happening during the Bealtaine festival visit www.donegallibrary.ie

Pictured are staff at the Central Library, Letterkenny with Cllr Ian McGarvey at the official opening of the 2015 Bealtaine festival in Letterkenny last Friday.

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