Community Film Outcomes

Village Voices – ‘Little Things’ Rock Opera


Village Voices – ‘Little Things’ Rock Opera

Llangwm Village Voices was established to provide opportunities to minimise social isolation in rural Pembrokeshire and to bring together people and give them a sense of belonging, identity and purpose. This manifested itself in an incredible village opera based on the true stories of those who fought in WW1 and those left behind. It was played in venues around Pembrokeshire in 2014-2018 to celebrate the centenary of the conflict.

In 2020, the same team came together and proposed another opera, of an entirely different genre – a rock opera – entitled ‘Little Things’. The concept was to use the story of the friendship of St Aidan & St David but to project it into the dystopian future of 2122, where the planet has undergone an environmental disaster. The key message of the play would be that, like St David’s words “Do the little things”, it is not too late to save the planet if we all pull in the same direction.


The support given by Ancient Connections was for a first phase in this project, to write the words and compose the music, to engage singers, professional and non-professional from each region and to make a series of videos that could be used to leverage more funds in the future.

The team enlisted writer Peter George to write the Libretta and composer Sam Howley to create the musical score. They worked with Fishguard/Wales-based choir Bad Habits and Ferns/Ireland-based choir Chord-On-Blues; as well as several local school groups.


Here are the films they created:

Non’s Storm

Non, the mother of St David is cast out to sea in a boat without a sail at the mercy of the elements.

The Little Things 1

The year is 2122 and the Earth has had an environmental disaster.  The Celtic saints David and Aidan return to remind mankind that it is only by doing ‘The Little Things’ that balance can be restored to the planet and society.

Chaos Chorus

There are food and water shortages and the people that remain are forced to leave their homes in search of the precious commodity, water. This piece conveys the anger of our future generations.

The Bees

Young people from Wexford and Pembrokeshire, celebrating the importance of bees to the health and wellbeing of our planet.

The Little Things 2

Choirs from Ferns in County Wexford and Llangwm in Pembrokeshire sing together to celebrate Saints David and Aidan.

For more information or to get in touch with Llangwm Village Voices please click here to visit their Facebook page.

Arts Community Film Outcomes

Animating Schools ‘The Tales Between Us’


Animating Schools ‘The Tales Between Us’

Animating Schools was an Ancient Connections project led by Cardiff-based animation company Winding Snake. The project commenced in 2020 and brought together three schools: Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi in St Davids, Pembrokeshire, Scoil Naomh Maodhog and St Edan’s School, both in Ferns, County Wexford; to create a tri-lingual, cross-border animation piece entitled “The Tales Between Us”.

‘The Tales Between Us’ – English version:

‘The Tales Between Us’ – Gaelic version:

‘The Tales Between Us’ – Welsh version:

Children at these schools engaged in a programme of exchange visits and workshops in storytelling, script writing, puppet making and animation. The children were at the heart of this project, making choices about which stories to tell and how to tell them all the way along.

Watch the ‘Making Of’ film:

Many talented specialists from Ireland and Wales were involved in mentoring the children such as storytellers Joe Brennan, Lorraine O’Dwyer and Daniel Morden and Deb Winter, artist David Begley, writers Sylvia Cullen and Nigel Crowle and puppet makers Ann Shrosbree and Bill Hamblett from Small World Theatre. Music is by BAFTA Cymru winning composers Tic Ashfield and Benjamin Talbott with voice over by Sara Gregory and Róisín Murphy.


One pupil said of the project, “I really enjoyed the animation [project] because I had the chance to make new friends from Ireland and I also learnt some history about the local area.”

The film highlights tall tales and local legends that link the two regions; saints, sea beasts, banshees, mermaids, selkies and witches all feature in the film. We find out why no one ever goes fishing on St Martin’s Day, 11th November in Wexford and what happened to the mythical land of Cantre’r Gwaelod.


Glen Biseker of Winding Snake said, “There are a lot of stories and a rich history between the two regions, but finding the right parts from the [pilgrim] trail was a priority and a big undertaking. With the help of storytellers and writers we unearthed some great stories. The participant’s interpretation of those stories, through the production process, gives it a real identity.”

Ruth Jones, Project Officer for Ancient Connections said, “It has been wonderful to see this project develop over the last eighteen months. We’ve seen friendships flourish as well as a deeper understanding of the importance of knowing our stories and being able to share them. Winding Snake have given the young people involved such an incredible insight into animation filmmaking, and they have also learnt new skills from many other creative professionals. We hope that it’s an experience that they will remember all their lives and might even inspire some of them to take up creative careers.”

Arts Community Film Outcomes Pilgrimage

Pilgrim Fayre


Pilgrim Fayre

Ancient Connections, held a spectacular outdoor community event in St Davids Bishop’s Palace on Monday 29 May supported by local communities, artists, traders, visitors and project partners. The sun shone and over 4000 people enjoyed the lively occasion.

Highlights of the day included guided walks with Wexford-Pembrokeshire Pilgrim Way and St Davids Cathedral, a beautiful choir concert and performance by Span Arts and members of Côr Pawb, and demonstrations by the Tywi Centre’s master builders and makers.

Cardigan-based festival organisers and performers Small World Theatre, also created a spectacular Pilgrim Parade with pupils from Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi. Their two giant puppets of Saint David and a sea monster led a crowd through the town and into the heart of the festivities.

Film documenting the day’s activities:

“It was a sight to behold!” said Ancient Connections project manager Rowan Matthiessen. “We’ve been so fortunate to work with amazing Welsh & Irish artists, volunteers, partnering organisations and community groups throughout the 3-year project. Over 12,000 volunteer hours have contributed to making the project a success.”


Siobhan McGovern, Co-project manager continued, “The Pilgrim Fayre was a genuine celebration showcasing some of the finest talent, produce and crafts produced in West Wales. We wish to thank St Davids Cathedral and the Bishop’s Palace for supporting and hosting us, and everyone who took part and joined us.”


Cllr Thomas Tudor, Chair of Pembrokeshire County Council, who was at the event to greet delegates over from Ireland said, “We were delighted to welcome our Irish colleagues and friends to an event that truly represented the creative collaborations this project has achieved.”


Click here for more info on the event as well as similar events in the area.

Arts Community Film Outcomes

Festival of Ferns


Festival of Ferns

The Festival of Ferns was a community festival, led by Wexford based events company Lantern. The festival celebrated Ferns’ unique heritage as the site of St Aidan’s monastery, ancient capital of Leinster, seat of Diarmuid Macmurrough, the Gaelic king who is said to be responsible for the Noman invasion of Ireland.

During April and May 2023, Lanterns artist Caoimhe Dunn worked with schools and community groups to create beautiful puppets and costumes for the parade. She coordinated 12 fantastic workshops which had over 300 local participants.

The festival itself took place in Ferns on the bank holiday weekend of June 4th and 5th 2023. The Sunday had a music trail around the pubs in Ferns with over 15 bands playing throughout the day and night and a beautiful concert in St Edans Cathedral by traditional singer-songwriter Melanie O’Reilly.

Monday’s festival was launched by a parade from the cathedral to Ferns Castle with 85 participants from various local groups. The event continued with a festival in the castle grounds and performances from local musicians, choirs, dancers and medieval jousting from the Horse Men of Eire. The event was attended by around 2500 people from the local area.

The event could not have happened without the contributions of:

  • Fearna Mens Shed
  • Ferns Comhaltas
  • Helena Dunbar’s School of Music
  • Deirdre Furlong’s School of Irish Dance
  • Edan’s National School & Scoil Naomh Maodhóg
  • Ferns Community Development Association
  • Ferns Heritage Project
  • Ferns Medieval Experience
  • Small World Theatre
  • Enniscorthy Historical Re-enactment Society
  • Chord on Blues Choir

In addition we would like to thank Small World Theatre for bringing their giant Dewi Sant puppet over from Wales to join the parade.

The community of Ferns hope to fundraise in order to make the festival an annual or bi-annual event.


Arts Community Film Outcomes

Ferrytales by Ceri Ashe


Ferrytales by Ceri Ashe

Ferrytales is a one woman show about people in Fishguard with Irish heritage, written and performed by playwright and actress Ceri Ashe of Popty Ping Productions. The piece was commissioned by Ancient Connections in 2020 as part of our arts commissions programme and explores themes of identity, heritage and connection.

As part of the research and development of the show Ceri sought out and interviewed a number of Irish ‘immigrants’ living in Wexford and incorporated their stories into the play. It also delves deep into Ceri’s own story; brought up in West Wales by an English mother and Irish Father in a village where most people were Welsh Speaking.

How did this shape her and how she views the world?


The show was performed at Theatr Gwaun in 2021 as part of the first “On Lands Edge” Festival, another Ancient Connections initiative.

Click here for more information on Ceri’s work or to get in touch.

The following film is a showreel for the play:

Arts Community Film Outcomes

Pererin Wyf / Is oilithreach mé / I am a pilgrim


Pererin Wyf / Is oilithreach mé /
I am a pilgrim

Pererin Wyf was a participatory arts project led by the arts organisation SPAN arts, Welsh artist Rowan O’Neill and co-facilitated by Irish artists Rachel Uí Fhaoláin from Ceol Mo Chroí and John Ó Faoláin from Traditional Archive Channel. The project aimed to discover people’s connection to home through story and song, connecting to ‘Celtic Diaspora’ from Pembrokeshire and Wexford across the UK and beyond.

The project took its title and inspiration from an 18th century hymn by the prolific Welsh writer William Williams Pantycelyn; though quickly went beyond this to encompass any song which calls you home.

Cocreation is at the heart of how SPAN arts work, the engagement of the participants helped to shape the project and its outcomes, from their contributions to the digital map which took the project in new directions and created new avenues for collaboration to the stories they shared which shaped the exchanges and films.


Click here to view the story map.


The project commenced with a series of online participatory talks or enquiries into themes of home, hiraeth, cynefin and the experience of the Celtic diaspora. These were followed by online and in-person song-sharing workshops and by two exchange trips which led to Rachel Uí Fhaoláin writing a new song for the project. 

‘Pererin Wyf / Is Oilithreach Mé / I am a Pilgrim’ is a 20 minute documentary showing how the project unfolded:

The new song was sung by Span Arts community choir Côr Pawb as part of the ‘Y Canu Mawr’ event at St David’s Cathedral on May 29th 2023.

Here is the live stream recording of that event:

The project engaged over 200 participants from Wales, England, Ireland and North America, with overwhelmingly positive feedback. Particpants talked about gaining a deeper understanding of Welsh and Irish cultures as well as an opportunity to connect with themselves and others:

“It gave me a space to reflect on songs from my own Irish heritage as well as songs that might mean something to my Welsh sons now.”


“The deep connections between Ireland and Wales and the spread of people from both to places around the globe.”


“It has been a pilgrimage in itself over the many events.”

The new song ‘An Dara Craiceann’ has been beautifully recorded and is available to watch in this film by filmmaker John Ó Faoláin from the Traditional Archive Channel:

Community Outcomes Pilgrimage

Pilgrim Product Development


Pilgrim Product Development

As part of Ancient Connection’s business support strand, we worked with a number of businesses in Pembrokeshire to develop new bespoke tourism products that linked in with the new pilgrimage route. Five businesses were supported to develop and test the following products:

Pilgrim Tokens

St Davids Cathedral designed and produced beautiful pilgrim tokens, pendants and pilgrim bags with the with the bee of St Aidan and the dove of St David forming the basis of their design. These are now for sale in St Davids Cathedral shop and the Ferns Medieval Experience.

 Click here to visit the St Davids Catherdral Online Shop.

Art Photography Book

Karel Jasper’s art photography book documenting her Creative Camino 2022 experience is now printed and distributed to local gift and bookshops in North Pembrokeshire.

To buy a copy of the book, Click here to visit Karel’s website.

Pilgrim Merchandise

Ditsy Puffin Designs have created a catalogue of pilgrim merchandise for a more budget market (e.g. mugs, pin badges, water bottles etc.) for sale in various outlets in Pembrokeshire and Wexford as well as online.

These are now on sale. Click here to visit Ditsy Puffins website.

International Walking Tour Product

Waterford Camino Tours have now developed a new guided pilgrimage product ‘St Davids Way’, along the Pembrokeshire section of the route, marketed to Irish and North American tourists.

Click here to see Waterford Camino Tour’s offering.

Pilgrimage On Wheels

North Pembrokeshire Trade and Tourism have developed a mini-bus pilgrimage aimed at cruise ship visitors and those who, for whatever reason are unable to access the new pilgrimage route on foot. It starts in Goodwick and ends at St Davids and visits many of the important spots along the pilgrimage route in between.

The product is now publically available and bookable on their website. Click here to view.

Community Outcomes Pilgrimage

Wexford Pembrokeshire Pilgrim Way


Wexford Pembrokeshire Pilgrim Way

The new pilgrim Route between Ferns in County Wexford and St Davids in Pembrokeshire is a major legacy of the Ancient Connections project. 

Click here for more information on the route, guided pilgrimages, accommodation, transport and pilgrim passports.  

In addition an Outdoor Active app was developed that includes an interactive digital map which runs using GPS technology, route content, turn-by-turn guide, and audio interpretation guide produced for 18 locations.

Click here to view the route on the Outdoor Active App

Archive Community Stories

The Shared Stories of North Pembrokeshire and North County Wexford


The Shared Stories of North Pembrokeshire and North County Wexford

Shared Stories Introduction

This document aims to highlight some of the wealth of historical stories, archaeology and folklore that connects the north-west Pembrokeshire coast in Wales, with north Co. Wexford in Ireland, with a particular focus on the communities of St Davids, Fishguard, Goodwick, Ferns, Enniscorthy and Gorey. Even on the surface, these communities have much in common, being largely historically focused on the coast for their living, whether from trade or fishing, but the connections go much deeper and much further back in time.

We will discover the shared stories of north Co. Wexford and north-west Pembrokeshire and how the two regions have influenced each other through the movement of people, ideas, technology, culture, religion, and occasionally, conflict. We will examine these connections from the time of hunter-gatherers in the Mesolithic Period, passing on to the time of the first farmers in the Neolithic, the transformative arrival of metalworking in the Bronze and Iron Ages, to the time of St David and his Irish pupil St Aidan. From those early days of Christianity, we travel on to the time of castles and conquests with the Normans and their role in Pembrokeshire and Co. Wexford. We will look at later trade and commerce and explore some of the folk tales and traditions in the two regions.

These stories reveal that the Irish Sea has never been a barrier; it has always been a highway.

Archive Community Stories

Cross-Border Stories Pamphlet

Cross-Border Stories Pamphlet

This booklet was created by Abarta Heritage and Angharad Wynne on behalf of Rediscovering Ancient Connections, a cross-community project which seeks to rediscover and revive the shared heritage between north County Wexford and northwest Pembrokeshire. This shared heritage extends back to our earliest monuments, connects our patron saints and brings us up to modern times.

While researching these ancient connections, a number of interesting stories were shared with us. Many of these stories focused on the friendship between St David, the patron saint of Wales and St Aidan, the patron saint of County Wexford, which this pilgrimage route is based around.

Below you will find ten of our favourite connecting stories about St David & St Aidan, Norman knights, pirates and daring adventurers. We hope you enjoy these stories as much as we have.