AN iconic symbol of Celtic pilgrimage - a coracle - will take centre stage during a literary music festival in Bangor.

The R S Thomas Festival Finale will be held in Bangor Cathedral on Sunday July 1.

The event, which starts at 2.30pm, includes the world premiere of an orchestral composition by Bangor composer Ellen Davies.

"Pilgrimages," inspired by the poetry of RS Thomas, and the land and seascapes of the Llyn Peninsula will be performed by Ensemble Cymru with Anne Denholm the Royal Harpist.

To accompany the performance a film and soundscape is being housed inside a coracle, a tiny boat, and will be on display between Monday, June 18 and Sunday, July 8.

The coracle has become a symbol associated with Celtic pilgrims. RS Thomas’s poem Pilgrimages begins: “ There is an island there is no going to but in a small boat..."

Ellen teamed up with Bangor-based documentary film maker Peter Roch and National Poet of Wales Ifor ap Glyn to create the soundscape and film.

Ellen said: “Pilgrimages draws together my own Welsh heritage, the history, culture and landscape of Wales, crystallised in the Welsh harp, a key feature of the work.

"The performance includes a soundscape incorporating readings by Ifor ap Glyn of the three poems by Thomas which inspired the music.

"Pilgrimages describes the dangerous pilgrimage to Bardsey Island off Pen Ll?n, and the poet's quest for understanding his own life journey."

"The the early pilgrims who travelled to Bardsey went by coracle, so it seemed appropriate to house the soundscape inside a real one which we have been fortunate to borrow from St Hywyn’s church."

Ellen and Peter visited Aberdaron, where RS Thomas lived, to capture images reminiscent of the imagery in the poems.

Ellen said: "I hope people will come and experience the installation and listen to the music it inspired. "

The cathedral programme, on Sunday, July 1, also includes a performance of new poetry by Owen Lowery. Owen has been paralysed from the shoulders down since the age of 18 years old and uses a breathing machine to stay alive.

There will also be a premiere performance of US composer Rob Moran’s work “The Other.” It will be performed by Bangor-based clarinettist Sioned Roberts and festival director Susan Fogarty.

Bishop Barry Morgan, the former Archbishop of Wales, will open the programme with a short Evensong by the Cathedral Choir including anthems by Bangor composer William Matthias and Monteverdi directed by Paul Booth

Tickets are free but must be booked as places are limited.

The annual poetry & art festival celebrates RS Thomas & ME Eldridge in Aberdaron.

The 2018 Festival’s theme is “Inspired by Others” and will take place between June 28 to July 1.

For bookings and details of the full festival programme contact: Susan Fogarty, director of the RS Thomas & ME Eldridge Society 01758 703039

“For a taster see: