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From April 2019 to August 2023, Pembrokeshire County Council, together with partners Wexford County Council, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority and Visit Wexford worked collaboratively to deliver 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 from 2019 to 2023.
Ancient Connections sought to revive and celebrate the ancient links between communities in North Pembrokeshire and Wexford. Research for the project looked at the links that exist between us, from the Paleolithic through to the Mediaeval era, and more recent history such as the first manned flight across the Irish Sea in 1912. Many of the stories uncovered 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 was to motivate both communities to rediscover their shared heritage; to be mentors for one another; sharing knowledge, experience and skills and build new friendships to create a stronger sense of identity and place. For four years the project created a burst of creative activity in both regions including: the 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.
For more information on all the activity that took place and outcomes of the project, click here to visit the Project Library.
Ancient Connections sought creative and innovative ways to attract visitors to North Pembrokeshire and Wexford outside of school and summer holidays. To this end, a journey to create a new pilgrimage was undertaken. The proposed route is between Ferns and St Davids and 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.
Click here to find out more.