Older People explore their Creativity this Summer

Older adults will be given an opportunity to develop their creative talents through a partnership programme between Age Friendly Ireland and Creative Ireland, delivering creative initiatives to support health and wellbeing in older age.
Over this summer and autumn, older people across the country will have the opportunity to take part in new creative initiatives that are being delivered by Age Friendly Ireland. Creative Ireland is funding the initiatives which respond to research on the value of creative engagement for older people’s health and wellbeing.

Director of Creative Ireland, Tania Banotti said: “I am delighted that the Creative Ireland Programme is supporting Age Friendly Ireland to enable older people across Ireland develop and engage with creative initiatives at a regional level. The Creative Ireland Programme is founded in the principle that creativity is good for our well-being as individuals, as communities and nationally. Research findings published last year by TILDA (The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing) showed conclusively that creative activity positively impacts the lives of older adults by supporting their health and wellbeing.”

The regional initiatives were developed in consultation with Older People’s Councils, which are established citizen structures under the national Age Friendly Programme. The initiatives will be open to all older people in the community to take part allowing them sample diverse forms of creative engagement.

The six regional initiatives are being delivered by creative partners who were selected following an open call earlier this year: Music Network, Creative Lives, Music Alive, Age & Opportunity, Munster Academy of Dance and artist facilitator Rachel Lartey.

South East Region - A River Flows Through it: Creative Engagement with My Place

Arts Facilitator Rachel Lartey will will bring individuals and groups from the counties of the south east together in an exchange of creative responses to the natural and cultural environment of their immediate riverine or coastal neighbourhood. The project will respond to the impact of the Three Sisters rivers on the landscape and cultural heritage of the region. Older people who live near these historic waters will reflect on how their lives have been influenced by their riverine neighbourhood and to express this relationship in a creative way.

East Region – Creative Lives : A series of outdoor creative events in public parks

Creative Lives will deliver a series of events offering creative activities in outdoor settings tailored to suit older people. The programme will include a mix of creative activities provided by commissioned professional artists alongside showcase opportunities for local creative groups seeking new regular participants. Priority will be given to activities that are suitable and accessible for older people. Activities will include music, film, local history, and walking routes.
Age & Opportunity will facilitate a series of creative happenings celebrating cultural lore activity related to Brigit/St Brigid; collectively sharing older people’s knowledge and celebrating active customs and folkloric traditions associated with Brigit; particularly the cloak 'brat Bhríde', the cross and the Brideóg, though craft-making workshops. The regional initiative will explore Celtic wisdom through poetry and myth, linking the natural world learnings to the elements of fire, earth, air and water.

Midlands Region – Making Music in the Midlands: Music Network Teaching Residency

Music Network will deliver a music teaching residency for people in the midlands aged 55 and over. Through this residency series, Music Network will create a quality, interactive learning experience for older people. The series will support older learners’ musical participation and the broader community by engaging people with live music outside of the standard concert format. The focus of this initiative will be on returning to playing an instrument and sharing the joy of group music-making.

West Region – Music Alive: The Road to Life

The Road of Life is a travelling roadshow of workshops that will offer older people taster music & songwriting sessions. Musician Ger Wolfe will lead a mini tour of eight counties in the West region, incorporating literature and proverbs linked to older age. Older people will have an opportunity to input to the sessions through singing and sharing stories that stir people’s memories and imagination. The sessions will incorporate a taster song writing & composition section and aim to work on ‘sketches of songs’ that might be inspired by local proverbs, expressions or stories.

Dublin City Region – Dance train the trainer initiative with end of project public performance

Munster Academy of Dance will deliver a ‘train the trainer’ style initiative in Dublin City, training local older people in ceili dance over eight workshops. Dance leaders will be identified to take part, who will in turn train older people in their local groups. The initiative will include an end of project performance event with a panel discussion, animation and other creative elements.

Chief Officer of Age Friendly Ireland, Catherine McGuigan commented: “These new regional initiatives are very timely given the context of the UN Decade of Healthy Ageing. Creativity in all its forms supports healthy ageing and these initiatives will encourage older people to explore all their latent talents across a wide range of creative engagement. As always with the Age Friendly Programme, we emphasise the inherent knowledge and skill base in our older population. The bespoke initiatives support a number of the World Health Organisation’s domains for age friendly communities, including Respect & Social Inclusion, Social Participation, Community Supports & Health.”

For more information on the six regional creative initiatives and to find out how to take part contact :

  • Project Contact A River Flows Through it: Creative Engagement with My Place South East Region - [Kildare, Carlow, Wicklow, Wexford, Waterford, Kilkenny] Rachel Lartey M: 0871422289.
  • Creative Lives : A series of outdoor creative events in public parks East Region – [Fingal, South Dublin, Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown, Louth, Meath] General Enquiries T: +353 46 9097000 (Age Friendly Regional Manager | Louise Edmonds or National Manager| Emer Coveney)
  • Age & Opportunity: Creative happenings celebrating cultural lore related to St Brigid North Region – [Donegal, Cavan, Mayo, Monaghan, Sligo, Leitrim] General Enquiries Age & Opportunity: T: +353 (0)1 805 7709
  • Making Music in the Midlands: Music Network Teaching Residency Midlands Region – [Offaly, Roscommon, Westmeath, Longford, Laois] Sarah Ledwidge : M: 083 0162718 programmesadmin@musicnetwork.ie
  • Music Alive: The Road to Life West Region – [Limerick, Kerry, Clare, Galway City, Galway County, Tipperary, Cork City, Cork County] General Enquiries: T: +353 46 9097000 (Age Friendly Regional Manager/Emer Coveney)
  • Dance train the trainer initiative with end of project public performance Dublin City Region – [North West Area, South Central, Central, North Central, South East] Niall Byrnes M: 086-8150341