Bees link saints Aidan and David in Ferns

By Dan Walsh

A new public art commission will be launched in St. Edan’s Cathedral, Ferns. Do the Little Things is a new public artwork designed for two locations: Ferns and St David’s, Pembrokeshire, commissioned by Ancient Connections and is an EU funded cross border arts, heritage and tourism project.

Bedwyr Williams’ distinctive proposal was selected from a shortlist and Do the Little Things connects the two communities of Ferns and St David’s through the practice of beekeeping, reflecting the medieval story of St David and his friendship with St, Aidan, who, it is believed, brought bees back to Ireland from Wales.

“Bees have linked Wales and Wexford since the 6th century, when it is reported St David gifted a hive of bees to an Irish pupil to keep, after his monastery bees twice followed their favourite monk home to Ireland and had to be brought back”, said the Very Revd Paul Mooney, Dean of St. Edan’s Cathedral. Ferns, who added; “We’re delighted to welcome this striking symbol of the ties between us and to honour the friendship between our own Saint Aidan (Mogue) or Edan, and Saint David of Wales.”

Three oversized skeps (traditional beekeeper’s hives) made from cedar wood are being installed in both locations. These living sculptures will contain bee colonies that are being cared for by local beekeepers and community groups, who will be harvesting and selling honey in labelled jars designed by the artist and local school children.

Bedwyr says: “I’m interested in objects that invite communities to become active participants to make the artwork whole. St David’s last words were “Gwnewch y pethau bychain” or “Do the little things.” This ethos has guided the development of my proposal, which is founded on the story of St David and St Aidan and steeped in the magic and history of these two intertwined locations.”

Sited in the grounds of St Edan’s Cathedral Church heritage graveyard, the work opens to the public on Saturday from 12 pm. The launch event will bring community groups to the site for a question-and-answer session with the artist and local beekeeper from ‘Ferns Honey’, Joe Kelly; folklore and storytelling, and a performance of music and song by Melanie O’Reilly, David Creevy and the ‘Chord On Blues’ Ferns Community Choir, led by Mary Moulds.

The event is free and all are welcome. Please book via Eventbrite;

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