Festival Programme for 2012 Announced

Ireland’s premier biodiversity festival, The Bealtaine Festival of Outdoor Science will take place this year from May 20-27th in venues throughout the Southeast with a week of outdoor events for all ages.

This will be the 8th year of the festival, which is organised by Calmast, the award winning science outreach centre at Waterford Institute of Technology. 

Events at this year festival include guided walks through JFK arboretum, a dusk chorus walk led by broadcaster and author Eric Dempsey on Sun May 20th at 7pm in Carriganore woods, guided walks of Fenor Bog on Fri May 25th, a bat walk on Sat May 26th, various guided walks through the copper coast geopark and a guided marine walk in Tramore on Tues May 22nd. There are also a variety of workshops for children including make an insect hotel and one on making a birdbox from recycled materials. Further information is available at www.livingearth.ie .  All events are free

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, JFK Arboretum, The National Biodiversity Data Collection Centre, Hill walking clubs, Lismore Heritage Centre etc.

The Bealtaine Festival of Outdoor Science aims to develop people’s awareness and interest in important environmental issues such as climate change and biodiversity and is held to coincide with the International Day of Biological Diversity on the 22nd of May.

In ancient Celtic times the festival of Bealtaine celebrated the arrival of summer.  The Bealtaine Science Festival of Outdoor Science celebrates the Living Planet with an emphasis on activities that increase understanding of our surroundings and the plants and animals that we share the world with.

The week 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 co-ordinates Maths Week nationally. 

Looking ahead to the events, Dr Nick Mc Carthy CALMAST, said they offered a chance to celebrate all that’s best about Irish nature and wildlife. “We’re hugely fortunate in the southeast to have easy access to a hugely diverse natural environment and we expect over 2,000 participants in the festival. The programme of free events for the Bealtaine Festival of Outdoor Science allows us celebrate our living Earth in a special way without leaving our own localities. By getting up close with nature we can get a new understanding and appreciation of our region.”


CALMAST’s  Dr Padraig Kirwan adds: “This is our eight annual Outdoor Science Festival and we have a special programme to mark International Day for Biological Biodiversity .We  can teach young people about the importance of biodiversity and environment by exploring their local heritage, while families can learn more about our woodlands, hills and coasts and visit again and again through the summer. This festival is a partnership of wonderful groups in the Southeast that despite economic difficulties are giving their time voluntarily to celebrate the marvellous natural heritage of the region.”


Further information is available at www.livingearth.ie while all events are free, bookings must be made through Eleanor Reade at Waterford Institute of Technology’s School of Science 051 302037 or ereade@wit.ie



Sheila Donegan


Waterford Institute of Technology


086 2347259