Wales And The Welsh
By Andrew Davies Burd
Capital City: Cardiff Population: 3,092,036 National Day: Saint David’s Day (1st March)
Croeso i Cymru! Siarad Cymraeg. Rydw yn hoffi rygbi a chanu. Dydw yn ddim yn hoffi Lloegr.
What!? That’s not English! Exactly, it’s Welsh and along with English it is the official language of Wales. The Welsh language is currently experiencing a resurgence in popularity and it is reported that 22.7% of the population of Wales can speak Welsh. Apart from Wales, Welsh is also spoken by approximately 5,000 people in Chubut Province, Argentina.
In Welsh schools it’s compulsary to learn Welsh upto the age of 16 and there are even Welsh schools where all subjects are taught in the national language. It is also used on all official documents, in the Welsh parliament as well as on all road signs.
For any motorists visiting Wales, here are some Welsh driving essentials:
Araf! (slow down!)
What’s more, the longest place name in Europe, and the second longest in the entire world, is in Welsh. Try to get your tongue around this…
Could you imagine having to spell that whenever someone asked you for your address?
Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch is a large village in Anglesey in North Wales. Convienently 76% of the 3,000 inhabitants speak Welsh fluently. However, for those of us who don’t here’s the English translation…
The most popular sport in Wales is rugby. There is a great tradition of rugby in Wales and the national team has enjoyed a lot of success over the years although they have never won the World Cup, their best result being a third place finish in 1987.
The Welsh rugby team’s most fierce rivals are their near neighbours England. The importance of beating England is nicely encapsulated by Welsh band the Stereophonics.
The Welsh are also passionate singers and there are few more rousing sounds to a Welshman’s heart than the sound of 80,000 rugby fans in Cardiff’s Millenium Stadium singing the Welsh national anthem, Land of My Fathers (in Welsh)…
In the past Wales was one of the largest exporters of coal in the world. The coal industry provided work for thousands of people and the coal was exported all around the word with ships leaving from Cardiff docks. Nowadays, the coal mines are closed although it is possible to take guided tours underground to see what life was like for the men, animals and children who worked “down the mines”.
Wales is a very green country with beautiful rugged coastlines as well as the splendid Snowdonia national park. Britain doesn’t have very high mountains, but Mount Snowdon in North Wales is the second highest at 1,085m.
If you prefer city life to the wild outdoors, Cardiff city centre and Cardiff bay offer plenty of entertainment; watch a sports event or concert in the 74,500 capacity Millennium Stadium, go out for dinner in one of Cardiff Bay’s many bars and restaurants or visit the castle or just go shopping in the centre.
Are you interested in visiting Wales? Take a look at the study holidays we organise in the wonderful Welsh capital, Cardiff (or Caerdydd in Welsh!)
Andrew: 348 708 1635
Alessandra: 333 417 7010