Creative Camino (2022)

Four artists, four community pilgrims, a film crew and pilgrimage guides made the first modern pilgrimage along the full 160km walking route from Ferns to St Davids (now called the Wexford – Pembrokeshire Pilgrim Way ) 

Dubbed the ‘Creative Camino’, part of the wider Ancient Connections project, this cross-border journey further demonstrated the shared heritage of Ireland and Wales, both historically and between the band of pilgrims themselves. This was just one reason why the event was transformative for the pilgrims.

I was one of the commissioned artists to walk the Creative Camino along with musician-performers Suzi MacGregor and Kate Powell and performance artist Bonnie Boux. As part of the commission we created a performance in response to walking the route  I’m tired to the bones, which was performed in the Peace Garden, St David’s Cathedral in May 2022. We were then further funded to perform it again at Pilgrimage Today, a symposium in Enniscorthy, Wexford in March 2023. I also created some further spoken word pieces including I’m tired to the bones and we’re down to the bones of it and All who have gone before with pianist David Pepper, which we performed in Yr Hen Ysgol, Moylegrove and at Peppers restaurant and bar in Fishguard.

Sharing the experience

We now share our pilgrimage practice in a mini-workshop format, the Creative Pilgrimage days – bite sized artistic dives into the essence of pilgrimage. These days offer a sense of the special connection between pilgrims – a chance to connect with others in a creative context, as well as with the pilgrimage route and landscape itself.

Having experienced the Creative Camino as commissioned artists, we observed how creativity was a tool for deeper experience for members of the group. We all experienced in our different specialisms of how creative approaches can enable transformative experience. Part of that experience for us on the Wexford-Pembrokeshire way was the community, connection and the friendship bonds that were formed in the group over the 8 days walking.

Following the Creative Camino the four artists applied for follow on funding from Ancient Connections to pilot Creative Pilgrimage days along the route in Pembrokeshire and Wexford.