The route of a new-transnational pilgrim path has recently been presented in Fishguard, North Pembrokeshire before a full house. Celebrating the ancient Celtic links between Ireland and Wales, the Wexford-Pembrokeshire Pilgrim Way will connect the early Christian monastic site at Ferns, Co Wexford, with St Davids City in Wales. Taking an average of 9 days to walk, the new path will consist of 5 stages in Wexford and 4 stages in Pembrokeshire and an Irish Sea crossing between.
The route of the new path was introduced by David Pepper from the British Pilgrimage Trust.. As Pilgrimage Officer for the Pembrokeshire side of the route, he is working to engage with the community and develop the route infrastructure.
Mr Pepper is now dedicated to working on the Wexford-Pembrokeshire Pilgrim Way, a pilgrimage that reconnects two Celtic Lands, two Celtic Saints that leads to one transformative journey.
“We are at the beginning of an exciting journey that will help to revive the rural economy of North Pembrokeshire. Pilgrims are likely to spend 2.3 more times in the local community compared to other tourists. This is in the very nature of travelling by foot and traditionally staying one night in each community along the way” said Mr Pepper. “ The route will reconnect with North Pembrokeshire communities such as Fishguard & Goodwick, Llanwnda, St Nicholas, Tregwynt, Mathry, Trefin, Llanrhian, Porthgain, the Dowrog Common corridor before leading into the city of St Davids “
This was not just a presentation about the economic benefits of pilgrimage to the local area, there was a creative input from Artist Ailsa Richardson, reciting poetry from Dewi Emrys Pwll Deri and her own works inspired by having walked the Wexford-Pembrokeshire Pilgrim Way as part of the Ancient Connections Creative Camino. Collaboration is a key part of developing this route and on the panel for the evening we had Iain Tweedale from Journeying who brings with him a wealth of experience of leading pilgrimage and Christine Smith from Guided Pilgrimage who took us on a tour through the recently launched website and explained how businesses can sign up to be partners in the development of the Wexford-Pembrokeshire Pilgrim Way.
“Pilgrimage is the largest growth area in tourism at the moment”, added Iain Tweedale, “And the beautiful landscapes, nature and art of Pembrokeshire, along with the destination of St Davids Cathedral and it’s connections to Ferns in County Wexford make this route unique and distinctive.”
For further information, visit: wexfordpembrokeshirepilgrimway.org
For further information:
David Pepper (Pembrokeshire Pilgrimage Officer, British Pilgrimage Trust)
NOTES FOR EDITORS, PROGRAMME PRODUCERS
In both the southeast of Ireland and the southwest of Wales, a robust tradition tells of the Irish-born St Aidan journeying to study under St David, patron saint of Wales. Aidan was gifted honeybees by David on his return to Ireland. These then thrived within the famous monastery he founded at Ferns. A lifelong bond was thus created between two saintly men and two Celtic lands with David later journeying to Wexford and leaving his mark on the landscape. The new path celebrates the relationship between the two renowned Celtic saints.
Partners involved in developing the Wexford-Pembrokeshire Pilgrim Way:
British Pilgrimage Trust: https://britishpilgrimage.org
Pilgrim Paths Ireland: https://www.pilgrimpath.ie/
Guided Pilgrimage: https://www.guidedpilgrimage.co.uk
Ancient Connections: https://ancientconnections.org/