Documentary Films

Ports, Past and Present Documentary Films

This is a new series of documentary films about five Celtic port towns in Wales and Ireland that are connected and intertwined by the ferry routes that serve them. To get to know the landscape and the history, we hear from the people in the know. We meet up with several local characters and hear of their passion for the heritage and how their love for the place they call home is shaping the future.

The films were produced by Mother Goose Films and Ports, Past and Present, a project which explores the history and cultural heritage of the ports, showcasing stunning views of the landscapes and wildlife of the Irish Sea coast and revealing the human histories of the port communities.

Watch the full series on our YouTube channel.

In Fishguard, residents Gary Jones and Jana Davidson talk of invasions by pirates and French armies, while Hedydd Hughes explains how she teaches children about local legends. In Rosslare Harbour, the Todd family from Fishguard meet their Irish in-laws, the Fergusons.

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

In Dublin and Holyhead, poetry by Gillian Brownson and Gary Brown celebrates the centuries old link of their ports. Historian Gareth Huws explains how traces of Bronze Age settlements can still be seen in the Ynys Môn town.

Professor Peter Merriman, project team leader at Aberystwyth University’s Department of Geography and Earth Sciences said:

'These films reveal the rich cultural heritage of the five port towns, following a range of local people who have intimate knowledge of their local communities. Coastal communities are often seen to be on the geographic margins, but these films show how port towns have always served as important points of passage as well as sites of dwelling.

'Cultural tourism is an important part of the Welsh and Irish economies, and we want to attract new overseas visitors to these towns, as well as engage local communities with their port heritage, in order to help combat economic deprivation.'

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

Project leader Professor Claire Connolly from University College Cork said: 'The Ports, Past and Present films frame voices, images and stories from across the five ports, enabling new forms of engagement with a shared past.'

To inquire about the use of these films to promote your area or business to prospective visitors, please contact Rita Singer: ris32@aber.ac.uk.

Browse below for stories recorded by Rita Singer during the preparation of the documentary films.