Categories
Pilgrimage

Pilgrimage

Arts Project

Pilgrimage

Pilgrimage is an ancient concept; stretching back through history across cultural and religious boundaries, historical and economic spectrums, regardless of race or gender. It has been argued that pilgrimage fulfils a basic human need to reconnect to oneself through the simple process of putting one foot in front of another on the destination to a sacred or special place.

Ancient Connections is rediscovering historic links and ancient stories that connect the communities and culture of North Pembrokeshire with their counterparts on the East coast of Wexford. In particular, it is exploring the link between the city of Saint Davids and the village of Ferns, two significant sites associated with the early Celtic church. St Aidan studied in Wales with St David and after this he journeyed to Wexford where he set up his own monastery in Ferns.

St Davids has been a place of pilgrimage since the middle ages and still is. People are drawn to the area for many reasons for refreshment of body, mind and soul. It is recognised as a special place, a ‘thin’ place in Celtic terms, a place where hearts are opened and emotions are touched.

Modern day pilgrimage isn’t necessarily religious or even spiritual but an opportunity for reflection, connection and discovery; perhaps finding a new sense of purpose, direction and wellbeing. Pilgrimage in modern times is becoming increasingly popular with TV programmes such as Pilgrimage; The Road to Rome and The Road to Santiago. The Santiago de Compostella pilgrim trail, which was boosted through EU funding in 1987, has been a major success story with numbers increasing from under 3,000 per year to over 300,000 now.

A New Route

2023 will commemorate 900 years since Pope Callixtus II declared two pilgrimages to St Davids equal to one to Rome. This date and the Ancient Connections project could be a launch pad from which to start building a pilgrimage route on both sides of the Irish Sea. Could pilgrimage/transformational tourism be as successful in Wexford and Pembrokeshire as it has been in Northern Spain?

Ancient Connections has commissioned a feasibility study to assess the potential for a new pilgrimage route that links Ferns and St Davids. In May 2021, the trailblazing Creative Camino pilgrimage will take place, an experimental journey led by guides from Journeying based in Pembrokeshire and Wexford Trails. Traveling with them will be a group of artists and community pilgrims, who will be responding creatively to the experience. It is hoped that this combination of stakeholder research and hands on experiential journeying will point to the next steps for building and promoting this new route.

Date: Ongoing

Categories
Pilgrimage

Creative Camino

Arts Project

Creative Camino

Ancient Connections is undertaking an experimental and creative pilgrimage from Ferns to St Davids in May 2021 – the Creative Camino. The project is teaming up with Journeying, a Celtic focused walking and pilgrimage guide company based in Pembrokeshire and Wexford Trails, who promote a series of tourism trails across Wexford County. The project will be an experiential feasibility study to ascertain the possibility of promoting a new pilgrimage route between Ferns and St Davids as a means to encourage stronger links between these two regions, as well as attract overseas visitors in a sustainable form of cross-border tourism. A feasibility study has also been undertaken to assess the long term viability of this route.

2023 marks the 900th anniversary of the granting of a privilege to St Davids by Pope Callixtus II in Rome, who declared that two pilgrimages to the Cathedral were equal to one journey to Rome. 

 

The Journey

The start of the pilgrimage will be marked by a spectacular celebration event in Ferns; pilgrims will then make their way mostly on foot to Rosslare where they will take a ferry to Fishguard. Finally, they will walk the Pembrokeshire coast path, arriving with a warm pilgrims’ welcome at St Davids Cathedral.

Media and Documentary

Throughout the journey, the experiences of the pilgrims as well as the beautiful scenery, heritage sites and wildlife will be documented by Llif:Flow a digital media company based in Angelsey. The stills and footage will be used to promote the project and new pilgrimage route concept across social media platforms and a short documentary film has been commissioned as promotion and legacy.

Date: November 2020 – June 2021

Funded by: Ancient Connections

In Partnership with: Journeying and Wexford Trails

Project Outputs: 
Eight artist performances or event
A Documentary film
Short media content for social media and still photos

Learn More at: www.journeying.co.uk/wexfordtrails.ie