Bealtaine at Ballina Arts Centre - Visit North Mayo

May is here and with it comes bluebells, sunshine – and Ballina Arts Centre’s contribution to the Age & Opportunity’s Bealtaine Festival, Ireland’s month-long national celebration of the arts and creativity as we grow older. Here is the 2022 Bealtaine Festival programme.

Screening: Nomadland (Monday, May 9)

The Ballina Arts Centre programme kicks off on Monday 9th of May with Nomadland, directed by Chloe Zhao, who won an Oscar as Best Director for this a beautiful, quiet portrait of the lives of America’s older transients who choose the open road, the huge skies and their small mobile spaces for life out of the mainstream.

After the 2008 financial collapse, widowed Fern (Frances McDormand), a former substitute teacher, finds herself forced out of her home in Empire, Nevada, when the local US Gypsum plant closes the mine, and with it, the town. Faced with a bleak economic future, she crams her scanty belongings into a beat-up, second-hand van and hits the road, travelling from town to town, state to state, in search of work. Along the way, she meets many kindred spirits: silver-haired, fellow modern-day nomads, whose entire generation suffered the same crippling economic blow. Featuring real-life nomads drawn from Jessica Bruder’s original book, this glimpse of hardship, the gig economy, and also love, fortune and kindness make for an unforgettable cinema experience.

Nomadland will be screened on Monday 9th May at 1pm at Ballina Arts Centre. Admission free. Booking essential.

TOUCHABLE: Guided Tour (Monday, May 16)

On Monday 16th May, the director of Ballina Arts Centre Sean Walsh will give a guided tour of TOUCHABLE, an exhibition by Caren van Herwaarden.Caren’s watercolors, drawings, collages and sculptures explore the meaning of humanity, physicality, suffering and eroticism. The artist finds strength in vulnerability, softness in mercilessness and comfort in dejection.  Her works are often a tangle of humans and horses; she views the naked animal without embellishment. In conflict situations where there is no control and the world is no longer socially engineered, her work suggests that we are all dependent on others.

TOUCHABLE Gallery Tour will take place on Monday 16th May, 1pm at Ballina Arts Centre. Admission free. Booking essential.

Screening: The Secret Scripture (Monday, May 23)

On Monday 23rd May, Ballina Arts Centre is showing The Secret Scripture, Jim Sheridan’s adaption of Sebastian Barry’s acclaimed novel.

The elderly Rose (the inimitable Vanessa Redgrave) is the last patient remaining in a psychiatric hospital, firmly refusing to transfer to another facility. Dr William Grene (Eric Bana) is called in, and his sympathetic approach leads Rose to recount the story of how, as a young woman (Rooney Mara) in Sligo, she met and fell in love with Michael McNulty (Jack Reynor), arousing the jealousy of the local priest (Theo James), whose obsessive love for her led to her ruination. This is a touching and poignant story, underpinned by anger at Rose’s treatment and that of so many women of her time.

The Secret Scripture will be screened on Monday 23rd May, 1pm at Ballina Arts Centre. Admission free. Booking essential.

Workhop: Introduction to Printmaking (Monday, May 30)

Finally, on Monday 30th May, Ballina Arts Centre will host Marianne Heemskerk’s Introduction to Printmaking Workshop, aimed at older people. Participants will – under Marianne’s guidance – be learning techniques of drypoint and carborundum on aluminium plates, and monoprinting. They will work from their own designs and experiment with print techniques and colour. Materials will be included, and no previous experience is required.

Marianne is a locally-based visual artist. Originally from Holland, she has been living in Ireland for many years and has extensive experience in the practice and teaching of printmaking.

She has exhibited widely in Ireland and her work is in a number of public and private collections.

Introduction to Printmaking Workshop with Marianne Heemskerk will take place on Monday 30th May 11am–3pm (with lunchbreak) at Ballina Arts Centre.  Admission free. Booking essential.

Booking for all events: Ballina Arts Centre, 096 73593 or

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