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Song of the Water presents two stories set in the time of the early saints by Diana Powell. In ‘Gift’, we are submerged into the birth of St David in a visceral and watery account seen through his mother’s eyes. It is said that Non, a powerful saint in her own right, gave birth to David on a clifftop in a terrible storm. In ‘A Pilgrim’s Wife’, we meet St Gwenonwy ach Meurig, a welsh noblewoman who married St Gwyndaf, an aristocrat and native of Brittany. St Gwyndaf was a contemporary of David and Aidan, and it was a falling out with the latter over a holy well that led to his settling at Llanwnda, at least for a while. Of Gwenonwy, we know very little. Did she embrace this ascetic lifestyle on the bleak and wild coastline of North Pembrokeshire, or did she long for her old life of relative luxury or did she pursue a different path all of her own? The two stories are illustrated with fluid and earthy etchings by Flora McLachlan.
A reliable and clean source of water is essential for any community, so it is easy to understand how important wells were for pre-modern peoples. More complex is the mystical relationship humans have developed with these sites, which are imbued with a sacredness that predates Christianity. Holy Wells of Wexford and Pembrokeshire is a series of five chapbooks celebrating holy wells in two regions with common ancestry and history. Since at least the Bronze Age, sea travel between these two lands has meant cross fertilisation of traditions and common names associated with wells of both regions. Of significance is the long-standing friendship between two early Christian saints: David, who became the first Bishop of St Davids; and Aidan, born in Ireland, who spent time in Wales and then founded monasteries in Ireland, including at Ferns. In Oilgate, Wexford, there is a well dedicated to David and, at Whitesands near St Davids in Pembrokeshire, there is one named after Aidan. Each of the five books approaches the subject from different perspectives and mediums, including fiction, poetry and essays as well as photographs and prints.
Holy Wells of Wexford and Pembrokeshire is a series of five chapbooks commissioned by Ancient Connections, an EU funded arts, heritage and tourism project linking north Pembrokeshire with north Wexford led by Pembrokeshire County Council with partners Wexford County Council, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority and Visit Wexford. The series coincides with the launch of a new pilgrim route; Wexford-Pembrokeshire Pilgrim Way between Ferns in County Wexford and St Davids in Pembrokeshire. The holy wells explored in this series through fiction, essays, photographs, poetry and prints are all on or close to the new pilgrim route.
Published by PARTHIAN
185 x 130 mm