Bealtaine Living Earth Festival 2022 runs from Saturday, 14 to Sunday, 22 May right across the south east

Schools, family groups, gardening enthusiasts and lovers of nature and the great outdoors will revel in the extended programme of events as part of this year’s Bealtaine Living Earth Festival. It runs from Saturday, 14 to Sunday, 22 May right across the south east.

Calmast, South East Technological University’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths Engagement Centre, is proud to partner with groups across the south east to deliver events in Tipperary, Kilkenny, Wexford and Waterford. 

The festival aims to encourage people young and old to explore the local heritage and biodiversity of the Southeast, with expert guides. This is the 15th year of the festival and is one of the highlights of the STEM and cultural calendar of the Southeast. 

The massive schedule includes over 40 free events taking place for adults, schools and all the family and celebrates biodiversity in the region and beyond.

The festival kicks off on Saturday, 14 May at 10am when Sea Gardener, Marie Power, will lead a Rocky Shore Safari at Annestown Beach in Waterford. Followed by a tour of the Lafcadio Hearn Japanese Gardens you can learn all about the more common pollinators in the gardens, and about the creatures that pop their heads in from time to time.

On 15 May, the festival will move to Wexford, with Seal Rescue Ireland, where families can get the opportunity to enjoy a guided tour of their facility with the chance to meet the adorable seal pups in care and learn their individual stories.

Have your head torches at the ready when Bealtaine lights up the dark at Kilkenny Castle with a Bat Walk at Dusk on 16 May. Dr Tina Augheny, will take you through the grounds of Kilkenny Castle with bat detectors to eavesdrop on the wonderful hunting calls that bats make as they fly.

Waterford City and County Council’s Environmental Section will be teaching people how they can move away from cling film and single use plastics with their Beeswax Wrap Making Workshop on 18 May at 6:30pm. Fascination of Plants Day will also be marked with an event by Yvonne Grace, Horticulture Lecturer from South East Technical University, surrounding the Irish Bee Conservation Project.

The stunning Blue Way in Carrick-On-Suir will be the venue for the “Between the Castle and the Bridge” guided walk. The walk will link the medieval structures of the Ormonde Castle and the Old Bridge, with history and nature becoming intertwined on this guided walk led by local wildlife enthusiast Brian White.

May 18 will see the youth lead the way to the future when they take over City Hall for Waterford Youth Climate Assembly offering students the unique opportunity to engage with, discuss and influence our climate policy and focus in the region.

On 20 May the world will celebrate World Bee Day and the John F Kennedy Arboretum in New Ross will host a walking tour through their wildflower meadows and head gardener Kevin Naughton will teach you about the importance of bees for pollination. This is one of four events held during the week by the JFK Arboretum. The final one being a Children’s Potting Workshop where families will learn about the ways that plants thrive and will get to take home their very own mini rhododendron shrub.

Robbie Galvin of the Copper Coast Geopark, a UNESCO world Heritage site, will lead participants on a guided walk to Tra Na mbo. Learn about the fascinating geological story that shaped the Copper Coast and understand why the area is a UNESCO Global Geopark.

Sunday, 22 May is a very special day in the biodiversity calendar. The UN International day for biological diversity is celebrated across the world. The theme for this year’s celebration is ‘Building a shared future for all life’. The Bealtaine Living Earth Biodiversity festival has been a participant for many years the as the only Irish celebrators of the day.

Other events on the programme include Dave’s Jungle which is open to schools to book throughout the week. Kilkenny Castle will also be hosting Bugs, Butterflies, Bees Bats and Birds on Biological Diversity day May 22 as one their three events during Bealtaine Living Earth festival.

“This year the festival will draw attention to attractions and wildlife available for people to explore in their region. Given the past two years of virtual Bealtaine festivals, it is very special to be getting people back in touch with the nature and heritage that surrounds them” says Ryan McGivney of Calmast.

“We are excited to host so many amazing workshops and talks, it is a fantastic opportunity showcase the beautiful flora and fauna to locals and tourists alike”.

The festival takes place through financial support by Science Foundation Ireland, Waterford, Kilkenny Tipperary and Wexford County Councils. Bealtaine is also funded by STEM companies in the region, Waterford based Bausch & Lomb, West Pharma and Sanofi. Danone provided funding for the programme in Wexford, with Abbott and MSD supporting from Tipperary. 

There is a wide variety of events on offer all surrounding the theme of biodiversity. To secure a place at some of the events, booking is required and strongly advised. To book check out the Bealtine festival website at www.livingearth.ie.