New films explore the history and cultural heritage of five ports in Wales and Ireland

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At the Water’s Edge: Stories of the Irish Sea

Histories of five coastal cities in Wales and Ireland will be shown in a series of new films that will premiere in Aberystwyth later this month.

The eight short documentaries and one feature film, At the Water’s Edge: Stories from the Irish Sea, aim to promote the ports of Fishguard, Holyhead and Pembroke Dock in Wales, and Dublin and Rossler in Ireland, as well as the three ferry routes that connect them.

The films were produced as part of The Ports Project, Past and Present, a project that explores the history and cultural heritage of ports, presenting stunning views of the landscape and wildlife of the Irish Sea coast and revealing the human history of port communities.

In Fishguard, residents Gary Jones and Jana Davidson talk about the invasions of French pirates and armies, while Hedydd Hughes explains how children learned local legends.

samurai

Local historian David James also shares the unusual story of how the son of a Japanese samurai came to plant a ginkgo tree at Pembroke Dock, and local counselor Josh Bennon explores the secret location where the Millennium Falcon was built in Star Wars.

Professor Peter Merriman, Head of the Project Team in the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences at Aberystwyth University, said: “These films reveal the rich cultural heritage of the five port cities, following a group of locals who have an intimate knowledge of their local communities.

Coastal communities are often thought of as being on the geographic margins, but these films show how port cities have always served as important transit points as well as residential locations.

“Cultural tourism is an important part of the Welsh and Irish economies, and we want to attract new visitors from abroad to these cities, as well as engage local communities in the port heritage, in order to help combat economic deprivation.”

The films form part of a broader tourism campaign to raise awareness of the rich coastal and marine heritage of the five selected ports and their communities.

“Port, past and present films frame sounds, images and stories from across the five ports, enabling new forms of interaction with the shared past,” said project leader Professor Claire Connolly from University College Cork.

The feature-length documentary will be released at the Ceredigion Museum on May 26 at 7pm. Tickets are free and can be booked by emailing Rita Singer at ris32@aber.ac.uk .

The Ceredigion Museum will also host a traveling art exhibition researching the rich coastal history and heritage of the port communities.

Over the coming months, films will be shown for free across Wales and Ireland and then released publicly so that local communities can promote their own areas.

Film screening details:

* Ceredigion Museum, Aberystwyth: May 26

* Rosslare Port: June 17

* Pater Hall, Pembroke Dock: July 30

* Pumphouse, Port Dublin: August 13

* Theater Gwaun, Fishguard: September 25

* Ucheldre Centre, Holyhead: October 23

Ports, Past and Present is funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Ireland Wales Cooperation Programme, and operates across four institutions in Ireland and Wales, including University College Cork, Aberystwyth University, University of Wales Trinity St David and County Wexford Council.


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