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Pembrokeshire County Council, together with partners Wexford County Council, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority and Visit Wexford are working collaboratively on Ancient Connections, an exciting cross-border arts, heritage and sustainable tourism project funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Ireland Wales co-operation programme.
Ancient Connections is reviving and celebrating the ancient links between communities in North Pembrokeshire and Wexford, from the Stone Age through to Mediaeval pilgrimage, and more recent history such as the first manned flight across the Irish Sea in 1912. Many of the stories reveal strong links between these two Celtic lands, for example the long term friendship between St David, patron saint of Wales, who spent much of his life in St Davids, and his pupil and protégé St Aidan who is closely associated with Ferns in Wexford.
The project’s aim is to motivate both communities to rediscover their shared heritage; to be mentors for one another; sharing knowledge, experience and skills and building new friendships to create a stronger sense of identity and place that will continue to flourish in years to come. For the next three years, there will be a burst of creative activity in both regions including: commissioning of new artworks, revival of traditional skills, promoting pilgrimage in the modern world, archaeological digs, storytelling and gathering, live music and schools projects, as well as mentoring and support for businesses and community projects.
The Ancient Connections vessel, a handmade wicker boat, carries the wishes, dreams and prayers for the project written by communities and school children in Pembrokeshire and Wexford. Community involvement and participation is at the heart of the project, if you’d like to get involved there are many opportunities such as joining our teams of History Hunters or Tourism Ambassadors, volunteering at archaeological digs or attending our community events and music festivals.
Ancient Connections seeks creative and innovative ways to attract visitors to North Pembrokeshire and Wexford outside of school and summer holidays. To this end, the project is exploring the feasibility of promoting a new pilgrimage route between Ferns and St Davids that takes the pilgrim on a transformational journey through Wexford’s beautiful countryside across the Irish Sea and along Pembrokeshire’s breath taking coastal path, pausing to visit ancient churches, heritage sites and holy wells along the way.
The Creative Camino in August 2021 is a trailblazing tour, preparing the way for a more permanent modern pilgrimage route that links Wexford and Pembrokeshire, boosting the economy in both regions.