New pilgrimage route has spring in it’s step
The exciting new Wexford-Pembrokeshire Pilgrim Way was one of the subjects discussed at a major international pilgrimage symposium facilitated by Ancient Connections that took place on March 11 and 12 in the Riverside Hotel, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford. Titled, “Pilgrimage Today – Routes to Flourishing Communities and Enterprise”, the symposium celebrated the ancient Celtic links between Ferns, Co Wexford and St Davids in Pembrokeshire, Wales which is currently celebrating a particularly special year for 2023 marks the 900th anniversary of Pope Callixtus II declaring that two pilgrimages to St Davids was equal to one journey to Rome.
The event focused on 3 vital questions: ‘How do you create a successful pilgrim route? What are the benefits for local communities? Is there a difference between a tourist and a pilgrim? The questions were lively debated throughout the weekend and many important subjects came up such as education, future generations, community, diversity, sustainability and how people from all walks of life can access pilgrimage so that it is open to all.
The keynote speech was given by Satish Kumar. Kumar became world-famous when he undertook a peace pilgrimage from India to Moscow, London, Paris, and America in 1962. Subsequently, he devoted his life to campaigning for ecological regeneration, social justice, spiritual fulfilment and his words were a true inspiration to all that attended the event with his closing words of “Be a lover, be a pilgrim” setting the atmosphere for the weekend and the future of this new pilgrimage route.
There was strong representation from Visit Wales & Fáilte Ireland which shows the significance of growth in this form of spiritual tourism, with booking.com also naming ‘pilgrimage’ as one of its top travel predictions of 2023. As well as discussions there were engaging workshops and a large group of pilgrims exploring part of the new Wexford-Pembrokeshire Pilgrim Way on Oulart Hill to the remarkable monument of Tulach a’tSolais before meandering down to the warm welcome of bygone days Story Telling house in old Oulart Village. The symposium was well attended with up to 200 guests including local businesses in hospitality, tour guides and accommodation industries, spiritual tourism specialists and policymakers, academics and researchers, local government representatives and community activists.
With the beginning of spring now here, it is the perfect time to get those walking boots out and discover a new rhythm along this new celtic route, connecting two celtic lands, two celtic saints that truly is a transformative journey.
There are a wide range of events coming up over the year with the next one being a community pilgrimage on Good Friday April 7th in St Davids raising money for Tŷ Shalom. For further information and to find out about the next official events along this new cross border route please visit https://wexfordpembrokeshirepilgrimway.org/events/
For further information
David Pepper (Pembrokeshire Pilgrimage Officer) 07985339009
Eoghan Greene (Project Officer, Ancient Connections) 087 3386005
NOTES FOR EDITORS, PROGRAMME PRODUCERS
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/