One eisteddfod (eye-steth(e)-vod) Two eisteddfodau (eye-steth(e)-vod-eye)

Fishguard eisteddfod plate

This plate* depicts local landmarks: Nevern Cross, St Davids Cathedral, Pentre Ifan burial chamber and Lower Town Fishguard, where the estuary of the river Gwaun gives rise to Fishguard’s Welsh name – Abergwaun

Every big national event spawns a plate – probably several – and the coming of the National Eisteddfod to Fishguard, our local market town, in 1986 was a big event to be celebrated and remembered for more than just the rain and the sea of mud in the festival field.

Here, for example, is the Gwalia Male Voice Choir, a London Welsh group that won a cup in the Fishguard competition with its conductor, Wendy Halden.

y-national eisteddfod 1986 800x519 - copy

The National Eisteddfod’s eight-day programme of competitions in Welsh language poetry, song, dance and music is one of the largest and oldest festivals of its kind in Europe. The first recorded Eisteddfod was a meeting of Welsh artists at the court of Rhys ap Gruffydd of Deheubarth in Cardigan in 1176 but the tradition of an annual event was established in the mid 19th century. Its venue has since  alternated between North and South Wales.


© Copyright Humphrey Bolton and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

The National Eisteddfod ceremonies require a circle of stones, which Fishguard already had since first hosting the event in 1936.

I don’t have a commemorative plate to show you from 1936, but here is something better. There is nothing written on the back of this photo to help me identify the young men, nor the location but I suspect that it was taken at the 1936 Eisteddfod in Fishguard.

From the left: David George Walters, Jimmy Harries (Castle Terrace), Unknown Friend (can anyone identify him ?) and Evan Glyn George (David George’s cousin).

Glyn George and David George Walters in Dinas

Everyone seems very well wrapped up for the first week in August, but the grass looks dry, the sky looks bright and maybe the boys are even squinting a bit into the sunshine.

*Photo courtesy of Ann Hughes.


About bookvolunteer

I'm passionate about books, about Oxfam and about making the world a better place. When I'm not filling the shelves in Oxfam Wilmslow, I might be found reading the books I've bought in the beautiful surroundings of North Pembrokeshire.
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