ANCIENT CONNECTIONS is leading a free symposium to celebrate pilgrimage and address three key questions: how do you create a successful pilgrim route; what’s in it for all of us; and is there a difference between a tourist and a pilgrim?
The event on March 11th to 12th in Riverside Park Hotel, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, also marks the launch of the new Wexford-Pembrokeshire Pilgrim Way.
This will link Ferns in North Wexford with St Davids in Pembrokeshire and is part of the wider EU funded Ancient Connections project linking these two regions through arts, heritage and tourism.
The symposium is designed to appeal to a wide range of people from different backgrounds, including local businesses in the hospitality, tour guide and accommodation industries, tourism specialists and policy makers, academics – and researchers as well as local government representatives.
The programme begins on Saturday, March 11, with a keynote speech given by Satish Kumar, a trustee of the British Pilgrimage Trust.
Kumar undertook a peace pilgrimage from India to Moscow, London, Paris, and America in 1962 and he has subsequently devoted his life to campaigning for ecological regeneration, social justice and spiritual fulfilment.
Now in his 80s, Kumar is an inspirational speaker, teacher and author. An action-packed day will follow, with a mix of talks and open discussions on the key themes.
On Sunday, March 12, participants will be able to walk along part of the new pilgrim route in Wexford and reflect on the ideas that have emerged from the previous day’s discussions.
Alternatively, attendees can take part in a singing workshop as part of the Pererin Wyf – I am a Pilgrim project led by artist Rowan O’Neill with Span Arts.
The symposium is free and includes lunch. There is an optional dinner at Riverside Park Hotel costing £34 for 3 courses. Booking accommodation and travel is the responsibility of attendees.
The event is open to anyone interested in these themes on a first come first served basis.
Early booking is recommended. Please book your place via Eventbrite https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/pilgrimage-today-routes-to-flourishing-communities- enterprise-tickets-477337016867
If you are a local business owner in Pembrokeshire or Wexford and are interested in attending this event, Ancient Connections is keen to hear from you, and may be able to offer support for travel and accommodation.
Please email [email protected]
A broad spectrum of stakeholders and partners has been involved in shaping the ‘Pilgrimage and Flourish’ programme, including the British Pilgrimage Trust, which is leading the development of the new pilgrim route along with Pilgrim Paths Ireland, Journeying and Guided Pilgrimage.
Staff at St Cathedral & Diocese, who are celebrating the Year of Pilgrimage in 2023, have also been key stakeholders in the process.
2023 marks 900 years since Pope Calixtus II decreed that two pilgrimages to St Davids were the equivalent of one to Rome. A number of individual specialists have also contributed.
These include Jaeyeon Choe, Lecturer in Sustainable Tourism Development at Swansea University, Bernadette Flanagan, Associate Professor in Spirituality, at the South East Technological University (Wexford) and Christopher Catling, Chief Executive of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales and Chair of Welsh Places of Worship Forum.
Ancient Connections is funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Ireland Wales co-operation programme and led by Pembrokeshire County Council, together with partners Wexford County Council, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority and Visit Wexford.