From a Bloody Big Hole to a Lucrative Blue Lagoon

Folk Perspectives on Precarious Times

From Planet 244

by Phil Jones

Congratulations to the winner of our 2021 New Writers’ Article Competition! Phil Jones describes how an Abereiddi folk musical generated reflections on the ways in which the turbulence, profiteering and stark inequality of the industrial revolution are paralleled in our pandemic era.

‘We were here; the slate people came and dug a bloody big hole; the slate people left; we’re still here.’ – villager in Abereiddy, or What Did the Industrial Revolution Ever Do for Us?1

Twelve miles along the coast from Abereiddi (or Abereiddy, to use the anglicised spelling) in Fishguard’s St Mary’s Church, two narrators set the scene with the help of Abereiddi villagers who enter and leave the stage as almost-ghosts while the audience is drawn into the hamlet’s past – ‘Our cottages are made of stone. We work on the big farm and we keep a few beasts of our own.’2 There are two lime kilns and a handful of small fishing boats. There is optimism and the village is jovial – the quarry is growing and work is coming.

Sign in to read more
Subscribe here