A visit to the Urdd Eisteddfod

Last week, I visited the Urdd Eisteddfod at Llancaiach Fawr, near Nelson, Caerphilly. The festival attracts fluent Welsh speakers, learners and non Welsh speakers to the Maes who come to enjoy the many competitions, events and activities on offer throughout the week long event. The Urdd Eisteddfod is a unique celebration of our language and culture and provides a fantastic opportunity for our young people to use Welsh outside of the classroom.

Amongst the many visitors to the Maes were a group of school pupils, aged between 10 and 11, who had travelled a longer distance than most to take part in the Urdd Eisteddfod competitions. They were pupils from Ysgol yr Hendre, Trelew, in Patagonia. Patagonia has been much in the news recently as this year is the 150th anniversary of the establishment of “Y Wladfa”, the Welsh settlement in Patagonia. In May 1865, the Mimosa sailed from Liverpool to Patagonia with more than 150 passengers on board. Their aim was to establish a welsh colony where they could protect the Welsh language and where the Welsh language and culture would thrive. There have been many celebrations to mark the anniversary including the unveiling of a memorial plinth at Liverpool’s waterfront to mark the voyage of the Mimosa.

The school pupils from Ysgol yr Hendre also had an opportunity to visit the Senedd in Cardiff Bay where they performed for the Assembly’s Presiding Officer Dame Rosemary Butler AM.

It was recently announced that Bridgend would be hosting the Urdd Eisteddfod in 2017 and I look forward to welcoming Mistar Urdd and his friends to Bridgend.