March 5, 2018
St Piran’s Day
Here’s hoping a healthy dose of Cornish Nationalism will be celebrated on March 5, St Piran’s Day.
Legend tells us how Piran, originating from Ireland and know there as ‘Ciran’ , was cast to sea tied to a millstone on the order of the Irish King who was suspicious of Piran’s miraculous powers. Although the sea was treacherous Piran survived, the stormy seas calming as he floated on the millstone until he reached the shores of Cornwall.
Many Cornish names now echo Piran’s, for example ‘Perranporth’, ‘Perranzabuloe’ and ‘Perranarworthal’. It was at Perranporth beach, however, where Piran was said to have landed, and where he began to build an oratory to promote Christianity. The oratory is now preserved in the towans (sand dunes) at Perran Sands. His first disciples were said to be a badger, a fox and a bear, which is perhaps connected to his other well-known attribute – that he liked a drink!
Piran is perhaps most famous for his accidental discovery of tin, when a blackstone on his fireplace got so hot that a white liquid leaked out; the first tin smelting. It was this discovery that earned Piran the title Patron Saint of ‘Tinners’, tin mining historically being a fundamentally important industry in Cornwall.
It was this discovery that also formed the basis of the Cornish flag, the white-hot tin on the black of the ore.
The Who’d Have Thought It Inn in St Dominick will be celebrating St Pirans Day with a traditional Shout of Cornish songs and shanties, led by the wonderful voices of Shout Kernow. There’ll be plenty of Cornish ale and pasties to keep everyone fed and watered. They will be singing Trelawny alongside pubs across Cornwall at 9pm. Always a fantastic evening and a Who’d tradition.
Grab yourself a pint by 8.30pm, and let’s ‘Shout’
First published in Love Saltash – March 2018