ONE of Mid Wales’s greatest men who has been forgotten in his own country but remains a hero in Italy was featured in an S4C programme.
Benjamin Piercy, of Trefeglwys near Caersws, who was responsible for some world famous railway designs in Wales and Sardinia, was included in the Welsh travel and history series Dylan ar Daith which will be shown again tonight at 11.30pm.
Piercy is remembered in Italy, where he is still praised for transforming life in Sardinia by designing and building the island’s railway system almost 150 years ago.
In the programme he is praised by the President of Sardinia, Francesco Pigliaru, who is amongst the Sardinians appearing in the programme O Drefeglwys i Sardinia.
It follows the great engineer’s journey, from his pioneering work on early Welsh railroads to see how his rail network is still a vital part of Sardinia’s transport system.
“The development of the railroads in those days was similar to the development of the internet today, and Benjamin Piercy was a major player,” said the series presenter, the journalist Dylan Iorwerth.
“The strange fact is that very few people in Wales have ever heard of him, but people in Sardinia – including the President – keep his name alive.”
On his own journey, Dylan visits houses where Benjamin Piecry lived and sees some of his engineering masterpieces.
As well as railways, he helped modernise farming in Sardinia and became a close friend to Italy’s charismatic military leader, Guiseppe Garibaldi.
“Benjamin Piercy was responsible for some world famous railway designs in Wales and Sardinia, but he was far more than just a designer,” says Dylan Iorwerth.
“He had a great ability to get projects off the ground and he was very determined, overcoming a financial crash and even a war of independence.
“Benjamin Piercy was responsible for transforming Sardinia and his influence can still be seen there – it was exciting to find places where he’d lived and pieces of his work.”
After his time in Sardinia, Benjamin Piercy came back to Wales and bought the Marchwiel estate near Wrexham where few know of his achievements.
In contrast, Dylan and the television crew from the production company Unigryw, were invited to a ceremony on an estate in Sardinia – where a country mansion is now a museum to remember the Welshman.
Further chances to see the programme will be at 11.30pm on October 14 in an audio signed version, and at 10.45pm on October 25. It is also available online on demand for some 30 days.
See full story in the County Times