Celebrating our Living Earth in the Southeast of Ireland

Bealtaine Festival 2012 will take place  from

20th - 27th May

and will include International Day for Biological Diversity on 22 May the theme of which will be Marine Biodiversity

United Nations - Decade of Biodiversity

Ireland’s premier biodiversity festival, the Bealtaine Festival of Outdoor Science runs this year from the 20th May to the 27th May and again includes International Day for Biological Diversity on May 22. The festival is supported by the Heritage Council.

This will be the 8th year of the festival and to date we have had hundreds of events introducing thousands of people to the outstanding natural resources of the Southeast of Ireland.

The festival  was chosen on the Guardian (newspaper) website as being one of the top ten world wide events for International Day for Biological Diversity Day in International Year for Biodiversity (2010).

Over 2,500 people participated in the week- long festival held in the south-east of Ireland, and this number is expected to be even higher for 2012.

This unique and inclusive festival is a partnership between visitor centres and organisations in the south-east of Ireland interested in promoting science outdoors and is particularly designed for young people. Partners include the Waterford City and County Councils,  Copper Coast Geopark, Waterford Institute of Technology Research Groups and Department of Chemical and Life Sciences, The National Biodiversity Data Collection Centre, Hill walking clubs, Lismore Heritage Centre etc.

Over 30 events will be held during the festival for students and the public. Why not join in and learn about marine biodiversity; go on guided woodland walks; learn to identify birds with experts; build mosaics on the beach with renewable materials; learn to build birdboxes; learn about our native trees, bats, insects and landscape.

In Celtic times the festival of Bealtaine celebrated the arrival of summer. The Bealtaine Festival of Outdoor Science celebrates the Living Planet with an emphasis on activities that increase understanding of our surroundings and the plants and animals with which we share the world. The Living Earth on which we depend for our sustenance and comforts and which depends on us for its protection.

So many people learn about science and nature from books or documentaries on television. Bealtaine offers a chance to experience the practical side of science, to get out into the fresh air with experts in marine biodoversity, botany, zoology, ecology and other environmental sciences. Participants can learn about the natural amenities in the region and continue to explore throughout the summer.

Bealtaine aims to develop people’s awareness and interest in important environmental issues such as climate change and biodiversity.

The festival is co- ordinated by CALMAST, the leading centre for the promotion of science, maths, engineering and technology in Ireland. In addition to the Bealtaine festival, the centre organises three other science festivals annually – the Waterford Science Festival, Waterford Engineering Week and it co-ordinates Maths Week nationally. The directors of CALMAST – Eoin Gill and Dr Sheila Donegan are the only Irish recipients of the EU Descartes Award for Science Communication.