"The arms that you wield now are not such as your forefathers wielded; but they are infinitely more effective, and infinitely more irresistable" ~ Cymru Fydd leaflet, 1890

Thursday 20 June 2013

St David's Channel - Culfor Dewi Sant

I was looking at a map one day and something struck me as being odd. In order for you to play along at home I'll post a similar map for you to see if you can spot the oddity.
This is not the offending map, this is just a tribute.
Did you see it? If not it's that bit of water between the Irish Sea and the Celtic Sea. Between the celtic country of Wales and the celtic country of Ireland. The stretch of water known at St George's Channel. This old remnant of colonialism marks the sea between St David's and Rosslare.
St George's Channel
So I thought about what I would like to rename it. Something that celebrates both Wales and Ireland perhaps? But then I noted that Ireland already has the Irish Sea so that's that covered and anything else would be a bit greedy. We also have the Celtic Sea that stretches between Wales, Ireland, Cornwall and Breton so we're good on the celtic angle too.

I did a quick google and came across this blog. It's all about celebrating saints in Ireland. And it appears to be one long party across St George's Channel. But on March 1st they hold a veneration to St David of Wales. And on the link I have just posted there is a paper that states the following.

However, this [St Dai] great Apostle of the early Celtic Church, although he may not have spent any time in this country, was associated with it by lineage and family ties of a very remarkable kind.

I've only taken a tiny snippit from the page. It's a lengthy post and quite interesting but it does appear that St David is quite popular amongst our Irish neighbours. Also, St George's Channel does not have a direct translation into Irish, instead it's listed as Muir Bhreatan which (roughly) translates as Sea of Britain. So I can't see how a name change would cause any offence in Wales or in the Republic. It might cause some offence across the border in England but that's not our problem. This bit of water is off our coast and not theirs. And if the whole world can get used to calling a really famous landmark Uluru after all those years of colonial rebranding then I'm sure this will be fine.
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Here's what I propose. The section of water between the celtic nation of Wales and the celtic nation of Ireland should be renamed to the St David's Channel (Culfor Dewi Sant). In honour of the 'Celtic Apostle' that links both countries and of course the city nearest to the channel.

And now brings me onto where I mention that I raised a petition on the Senedd website calling for the renaming of the channel. And now here is where I mention that the petition I created has been rejected due to the Welsh Senedd not having the neccesary powers to rename a stretch of Welsh sea off the Welsh coast.

This is the reply I had from the (always friendly) petitions clerk.

As you know, before we can host an ePetition we have to check if the petition is within the Assembly’s powers. The Assembly does not have the powers to re-name this channel.

I have looked at the issue in more detail, so that I could hopefully advise you on who would be the appropriate body to contact. However, there is no definitive answer. The UK does not have an official Geographical Names authority.
So I guess we're stuck with old St George then?

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  1. Thanks for the link to my blog. Irish interest in your national patron is of long standing. Indeed, I think the first mention of Saint David is in our 8th/9th century calendars, The Martyrology of Tallaght and the Féilire Óengusso. He also features in a number of Irish saints' Lives and is portrayed as a great monastic teacher who taught a number of famous Irish saints their trade. The cult of Saint David received a boost with the coming of the Cambro (rather than the Anglo-!)-Normans in the 12th century, thus he is the patron of Naas, County Kildare.

    1. Thanks for the info, I just googled Naas and found out it's twinned with St David's.