In May 2022, I had an amazing opportunity to be part of the Ancient Connections Creative Camino. I was one of four of the community pilgrims; there were eleven of us in total, four artists, four community pilgrims, the pilgrimage guides and a film crew. We started in Ferns, in Ireland, the ancient capital of Leinster, home to the smallest cathedral in Europe, and we ended the walking at St Davids Cathedral, which was a significant pilgrimage site during the medieval period. We walked a total of 155kms over eight days.
Being surrounded by a small intimate group of creative people was an experience like no other. The journey was filled with spontaneous live music, song, poetry and dance. I watched and listened with awe at the others in the group, such a mixture of ages, talents and interests. The experience was totally unique and incredible.
For me, a Pilgrimage is an ancient spiritual ritual of purposeful walking as a tool to deepen my understanding of myself, my relationship with my environment and the community. Walking in nature is one of the main times I am without the distractions of daily life and to-do lists, when I can be fully present with myself and my environment, with nothing else to think about other than my experience in every footstep.
I loved walking the ancient pathways of our ancestors through contrasting terrains, weather and in two different countries. Alongside this were sacred parts of our landscape to be discovered, some obvious, some hidden, but all part of the pilgrim path we walked.
I feel privileged to have the opportunity to produce a Black and White Photography book about my experience. Retracing my footsteps again and again through memories, photographs and words, has been a life changing process. Each time another layer of pilgrimage unfolds for me. On one of the pilgrimage days I have been on, I was introduced to a piece of writing by RS Thomas the final part reads; ’The point of travelling is not to arrive but to return home laden with pollen you shall work up into honey the mind feeds on.’ Sums it up perfectly.
My beautiful limited edition fine art book is currently available to buy from Seaways Bookshop (Fishguard), Victoria Bookshop (Haverfordwest), St David's Cathedral Shop, Melin Tregwnt Woollen Mill, The Golden Sheaf (Narberth) and The Ferns Medieval Experience (Ferns, Wexford) and directly from myself.
Selected photographs from 'The Way of a Bee', available to purchase.