Immerse yourself in nature and celebrate the beauty of biodiversity during the 20th annual Bealtaine Living Earth Festival, taking place from 18-26 May. This year’s festival, coordinated by Calmast at South East Technological University (SETU), promises over 20 free events to celebrate biodiversity and natural heritage.

While school events are in high demand, there are still plenty of opportunities for families and adults to connect with nature. From woodland adventures to seaside explorations, urban and rural biodiversity tours, to discovery events, there’s something for everyone. 

Spanning across the south east, events are scheduled at venues including Marlfield Estate in Clonmel, Castlecomer Discovery Park, Seal Rescue Visitor Centre, JFK Arboretum, and Lafcadio Hearn Japanese Gardens, Wexford Town Library among others. 

Among the highlights is a special event dedicated to bees and pollinators on Sunday, 19 May, at 3 pm at St Patrick’s Gateway in Waterford. Featuring renowned environmentalist Eanna ní Lamhna and SETU horticulturalist Yvonne Grace, this event offers a fascinating exploration of the vital role that bees play in our ecosystem, coinciding with the eve of International Bee Day. 

EcoKids Discovery Day events are taking place throughout the festival at Castlecomer Discovery Park in Kilkenny. Children will encounter both land and aquatic invertebrates, and take part in a scavenger hunt to learn about what aspects make our woodland ecosystem work in harmony.

On Tuesday, 21 May at Wexford Town Library join a conversation with Professor Conor Murphy, Maynooth University. As director of the Irish Climate Analysis and Research UnitS (ICARUS), Conor Murphy will talk about insights on climate change from his native Wexford, including how rainfall patterns are changing, signals in our weather records, coastal erosion, sea level rise, and impacts of climate change for coastal communities, farming, and water supplies.

Additionally, Denis Cullen will lead a city walk starting in Ballybricken in Waterford city, meandering down to John’s Pill River, and tracing the stream up to Supervalu on 21 May at 7pm. On 23 May local historian and naturalist Shay Hurley will lead a biodiversity walk at the trailhead at Marlfield Estate in Co Tipperary. 

The launch of an engraved poem celebrating the biodiversity of Kilfarrasy and the Copper Coast, featuring poet Mark Roper and Geopark manager Robbie Galvin, takes place on 24 May at 11 am.

Speaking about Bealtaine Living Earth Festival, Eoin Gill, director of Calmast STEM Engagement Centre at SETU, said, “Our festival, founded and coordinated by SETU’s Calmast, is a testament to our deep connection to the living earth and our responsibility to safeguard it. Supported by Waterford City and County Council’s festivals fund, the Bealtaine Living Earth Festival has been a pioneering force in celebrating biodiversity and participating in International Day for Biodiversity longer than any other Irish initiative. We look forward to celebrating biodiversity and natural heritage during the 20th annual festival.”

The full list of events can be found at Bealtaine Living Earth Festival’s website Booking is essential.