Celebrating our Living Earth in the Southeast of Ireland, 13-22 May

Biodiversity Festival in the South East – celebrate our living earth!
Ireland’s premier biodiversity festival, The Bealtaine Festival of Outdoor Science celebrates its 7th birthday in May, starting on the May 13th with a week of outdoor events for all ages.

The festival last year was chosen by the Guardian newspaper as being one of the top ten world wide events for International Day for Biodiversity. 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 2011.

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 Waterford Institute of Technology, the Copper Coast Geopark, The National Biodiversity data collection centre, Waterford City and County Councils, Hill walking clubs , Lismore Heritage Centre etc.

If you have ever struggled to identify flowers, birds, bats or trees, or wondered how to navigate in the dark then this is the festival for you. Over 30 events will be held during the festival for students and the public, including 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 or learn about saving energy.

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 that we share the world with.

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 leading experts in archaeology, zoology, ecology and other environmental sciences.

Bealtaine aims to develop people’s awareness and interest in important environmental issues such as climate change and biodiversity. This year Bealtaine celebrates the International Year of Forests and finishes with the International Day for Biological Diversity on 22nd May, the theme of which will be Biodiversity and Forests.

As such, the organisers of Bealtaine, CALMAST are delighted to welcome the return of Professor Liam Dolan, Sheridian, Professor of Botany at the University of Oxford and world- class researcher in the area of land plant development. Prof Dolan will explain how his research in studying the developments of plants has led to a greater understanding of how plants work and may lead to the production of plants which can withstand extreme conditions such as drought or cold to provide food supplies for people in difficult climates.

A special feature this year is an exhibition on loan from the RDS on seismology, which will be accompanied on May 13th by an interactive presentation from the Dublin Institute of Advanced studies explaining earthquakes, how they are measured and Ireland’s contribution to this science.

The festival is coordinated 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. The directors of CALMAST – Eoin Gill and Dr Sheila Donegan are the only Irish recipients of the EU Descartes Award for Science Communication.

For more information on Bealtaine visit the festival’s website at or

Sheila Donegan, Director
Tel: 051 302449/ 086 2347259