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Nursing homes across Ireland celebrate the arts with events and exhibitions

Friday May 20, 2022

“When we first met back in February to brainstorm ideas to enter the National Arts in the Nursing Homes Day award, we wanted to ensure that our project was challenging, stimulating yet meaningful to our residents,” said Máire O’Farrell, Assistant Director of Nursing at Kiltipper Woods Care Centre.

The artistic and creative talents of hundreds of nursing home residents across the country were celebrated during National Arts in Nursing Homes Day on Friday 20th May. Arts events and exhibitions were hosted within nursing homes as part of the annual Age & Opportunity Bealtaine Festival celebrations. Over 140 nursing homes participated in the 2021 celebrations, and 2022 is building upon the success of the inaugural event.

The residents at Kiltipper Woods Care Centre really enjoyed the day.

Terry (89): “It was lovely being involved. We all worked together to finish the whole project.”

Paddy Purcell (70): “It was an honour to take part in such a prestigious event.”

Una Kinsella (60): “I really enjoyed doing the art project. It made me feel alive again. I loved doing the flowers.”

This year, National Arts in Nursing Homes Day featured award winning projects undertaken by residents at Kiltipper Woods in Co Dublin, Dealgan House in Co Louth and Esker Lodge in Co Cavan. Kiltipper was the inaugural recipient of the National Arts in Nursing Homes Day Award, with Dealgan House and Esker Lodge also recipients of awards for their projects. Kiltipper’s National Arts in Nursing Homes Day celebration saw the unveiling of a steel sculpture representing the meaning of life, family and nature for nursing home residents. Dealgan House entails the creation of dolls that will sit within a natural wood environment and Esker Lodge has created a large canvas of visual art representing the theme of ‘Connection to Animals and Nature’.

Máire O’Farrell, Assistant Director of Nursing at Kiltipper Woods Care Centre: “The residents were supported to explore their creativity and self-expression by creating renewable decorations using various recycled materials. Our completed Art project will be proudly displayed in our new ‘Bealtaine Garden’ where a seating area for spending relaxing time residents has been created. This will be a calm place where residents can connect with their friends, family and nature, thus embellishing our innate desire for interdependence.”

Lorraine Cross, Visual Artist working with the residents at Kiltipper Woods Care Centre: “Taking on the Bealtaine theme with the residents of Kiltipper Woods Care Centre was like a duck to water. They loved it. It was a total pleasure getting to work on this project and one to be remembered for the mutual joy of having the craic with the residents in the process.”

Dr. Tara Byrne, Arts Programme Manager and Bealtaine Festival Artistic Director said: “With the deep enjoyment, connection and release that the arts can bring to us, National Arts in Nursing Homes Day helps put the arts right at the heart of people’s lives in nursing homes and day care centres around Ireland.”

Tadhg Daly, Nursing Homes Ireland CEO states: “Art fulfils such an integral role in meeting the social care needs of residents in nursing homes. National Arts in Nursing Homes Day once again provided us with an opportunity to celebrate the gift of expression, joy and gratification that art and creative works bring to residents on a constant basis. For a number of weeks, nursing home staff and residents were engaged to create works that were celebrated by fellow residents, families, staff and visitors to nursing homes at Friday’s celebrations. There was great excitement, enthusiasm and pride in seeing the creativity of residents being recognised nationally and celebrated across the country.  Nursing Homes Ireland are delighted and extremely proud to partner with Age and Opportunity’s Bealtaine Festival to recognise the creative talents of older people in our nursing homes.”

Media can contact Michael McGlynn, Nursing Homes Ireland Communications and Research Executive, at 087 9082970 or Melissa Byrne, Communications Manager Age & Opportunity, at 087 6933690.

Pictures available from Maxwell Photography. 

Watch: Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway: An Introduction to the Arts