Wales Culture

Welsh culture is popularly associated with singing – particularly male voice choirs – and with harp music. However, there’s a lot more to it than that!

Welsh literature dates back to the 6th century, making Welsh Europe’s oldest living language. Welsh is a Celtic language, closely related to Breton and Cornish and more distantly related to Scottish and Irish Gaelic. It is still the mother-tongue of a large number of people, and is taught either as a first or second language in all schools in Wales. Courses in Welsh for adults are held all over the country; one special location for residential courses is the Nant Gwrtheyrn centre (details of this site are also available in Welsh). A Web-based Welsh course is also available.

Modern Welsh literature has been written in both English and Welsh in all the standard literary forms – poetry, drama, novels, short stories etc; one of the leading modern Welsh publishers is Y Lolfa, whose catalogue is now available on the Web.

A useful site containing information about many aspects of the poetry of Wales in both Welsh and English is available on the Web.

An excellent Welsh music magazine covering primarily the Rock Scene in Wales in both English and Welsh, Curiad, is published on the Web; another Web magazine with Welsh content is Britannia. Recordings of Welsh music – and Celtic music generally – are available from Fflach, whose catalogue is available on-line, and Sain, another well-regarded recording company. Information on Arts in Wales is available on the Web, and paintings, etchings and other works can be bought on-line.

There is also a website which specialises in Welsh Theatre.

Perhaps the most famous of modern Welsh writers in English is Dylan Thomas, who wrote ‘A Child’s Christmas in Wales,’ ‘Under Milk Wood,’ and many other works. The Dylan Thomas Centre in Swansea has its own interesting website.

The centre-point of Welsh-language culture is the annual National Eisteddfod (Eisteddfod Genedlaethol); this is a festival of music, literature and craft held alternately in North and South Wales, in a tradition dating back to at least the thirteenth century.

Discussions on current Welsh affairs can be found in theĀ group concerned primarily with North Wales affairs is also available.

A useful source for general Welsh history is available on the Web; there is also an excellent site which contains information about the little kingdoms which formed Wales in the early historical period.

Celtic mythology (and many other aspects of Celtic life in Britain and Ireland) form part of the Celtica exhibit in Machynlleth, Powys; the organisation provides its own substantial web pages.