Laverbread is a pungent, nutritious speciality that consists of seaweed boiled for several hours to make a soft paste, which is then rolled in oatmeal and fried. Traditionally served with cockles and bacon it makes a hearty Welsh breakfast.
Welsh Cakes are a type of griddle scone and usually contain dried fruit; they can be served hot or cold and can also be split and covered with butter or jam. My aunt used to make plain ones for me whenever I visited, if stored in an airtight container they will easily last a week mmm …
Wales is a bi-lingual country. All the population speaks English, and a small percentage speak Welsh as their first language.
The rights of Welsh speakers have improved significantly over the last 30 years. Now, not only are road signs bi-lingual, but all administrative and legal / governmental work is bi-lingual ... at last.
As a consequence there is a rise in the prominence of Welsh, so although the common language is English, spoken with a strong Welsh accent, you will encounter many Welsh words and hear full-blown Welsh being spoken!!
It is well worth learning a few words - it is a beautiful language, very old and musical. It is so old and previously neglected that it has few words for scientific / modern terms ... hence you will notice a lot of Welsh words are mutations of the English ... but at least the language is alive!
In southern Snowdonia, Welsh is the first language. Areas around Portmadoc and Harlech are strong Welsh / Cymraeg speaking.
Wales now has its own National Assembly, similar to Scotland's Parliament, giving the area much greater identity and say over its own affairs, including the languages.
Until it was banned in 1849 cockfighting had been enjoyed by all social classes in Wales who would flock to their local cockpits which would have been either indoor or outdoor pits, to witness birds fighting to their deaths. Cockerals were bred and trained to fight and became much prized birds.
The Cockpit at St Fagans The National Museum of Wales is a 17th century circular thatched building which originaly stood in the yard of the Hawk and Buckle Inn, Denbigh. Since the ban it had been used as a slaughter house and a garage among other things. the interior had no original fittings so the seats and fighting stage are reconstructions.
You can't think about Wales without picturing Sheep and it has been like that for hundreds of years. Sheep have always been important both for food and clothing.
Sheeps wool has always been popular and more so before the importation of cotton and after that man made fibres.
Woolen Manafacture has always been essential to rural communities and there would have been a lot of small wool mills all over wales where farmers would take their wool to be processed into cloth for their own use. All the processes of the Wool production would be undertaken all under one roof, from the teasing and dyeing of the fleece to the finishing of the fabric.
The Woolen Mill at St Fagans is typical of the many small mills that would once have been found all over Wales. It was built in 1760 and extended during the 19th c to accomodate new machinery. Wool was proccessed here until 1947.
This mill was re erected at St. Fagans in 1952
Both Handlooms in the mill date from the mid 18th c and were converted to flying shuttle not long after. The spinning jack is said to be the only one still working and it was made by John Davis of Llanbryn mair around 1830 with the carding engines being purchased second hand at the same time from a mill in Yorkshire.
The internal water wheel powers all the machinery and can be seen on the ground floor.
As with all the craftsmens buildings at St Fagans the Mill continues to produce traditional shoulder shawls and Welsh Carthenni (Blankets) and are all for sale.
the Original site of the Mill was at Esgair moel, Llanwrtyd, Powys
From the 18th century to the late 1940's most farmers in Wales used horses to do the work on the farm.In order to feed the horses Gorse was grown on a large scale but as it is very tough it had to be crushed to make it edible. Smaller Farms would bash their gorse by hand but Water driven mills like this one at St Fagans used heavy metal spikes to crush the gorse and had become quite common by 1800 but by 1850 farmers were using lighter and cheaper hand operated machines.
The Bruised Gorse would normaly be mixed with straw chaff and at the time was considered to be good food for horses
The Mill in the picture came from Deheufryn Farm, Dolwen Denbighshire it was originaly built after 1842 but was disused by 1866. It was re erected at St Fagans 'The national Museum Of wales' in 1983
Many customs have survived in Wales one being the giving of Love spoons by the men of Wales. This custom dates back to the 17th century. Traditionally the spoons were carved by the common man who maybe lacking in a formal education were skilled in many arts and crafts, many hours would be spent decoratively carving the handle of the wooden spoon so that he could present it to a young girl in the village as a token of love and affection. The custom continues today and Love spoons are used to commemorate many occasions not just love. You can buy them from many art and craft shops all over Wales and they are now given to celebrate births, christenings, birthdays, engagements, marriage and anniversaries. They make a great gifts or souvenirs
Cawl is a wonderful dish, perfect for winter evenings, basically it is a lamb (or beef) and root vegetable stew (leeks optional)...but there is more to it than meets the eye.
Sometimes Cawl is served as a two-course meal. The broth is strained off and served as a light soup, then the meat and vegetables are the main course.
Traditionally cooked in a cauldron over an open fire ... but now more often in a slow-cooker or casserole dish.
Caerphilly Cheese is known as "the crumblies". It originates from South and West Wales, and is moist and pale, with a mild and salty taste. It was first made around the 1830’s, Until then the coal miners of South Wales had probably taken enjoyed a bit of Cheddar down the pits, but Caerphilly supplanted it because of its fresh taste and softer texture, The rind of the cheese protected it from the miners’ dirty hands (Just like the thick crust on Cornish Pasties) and not least because of its saltiness which was helpful in replacing salt lost in the hard physical labour of working down a Coal Mine
It is now produced in South-western England as well as Wales.
Caerphilly reminds me very much of Greek Feta Cheese and it is lovely crumbled and mixed with salads or cooked on top of tomato and meat dishes and of course it’s a must for Welsh Rarebit or as it is more commonly called Cheese on Toast.
The flag of Wales is divided into two: White and Green with a red dragon in the centre, facing to the left.
The symbol of the dragon was perhaps first seen in Wales in Roman times, as a standard, and was used by the Anglo-Saxons , and , possibly by King Harold and by Richard II in the crusades. It was recognised as a symbol of Wales by the time Welsh archers were serving in the English army at the battle of Crecy in 1346. King Henry VII carried the dragon banner at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 which ended the War of the Roses . Henry later decided that the red dragon should figure on the official flag of Wales. |.
Those interested in the myth of King Arthur will know his father was Uther Pendragon. And the wizard Merlin was born in Wales.
I had been a little worried about travelling in Wales due to my lack of knowledge of the language. As soon as we hopped out of our car in Monmouth we went to a market and bought some goods. I asked the seller if they spoke Welsh and they explained that on the border counties it wasn't spoken that much but further into Wales it was. True to form in Fishguard we heard several people speaking the language. How nice to keep these languages alive.
You'll probably notice the language when travelling to Wales. Welsh language is a Celtic language spoken as a community language in Wales.
Signages in Wales are bilingual, so you won't be lost. The locals also speak English.
Though English is the main language in Wales, Welsh is spoken in some parts of the country. Welsh is a Celtic language and can be very difficult for beginners to pronounce and speak. One of the first things you'll notice if you enter from England is the road signs in both Welsh and English. To hear Welsh spoken you'll have to travel a little farther. Though many people speak and understand Welsh, it is not spoken everywhere. West Wales, from Carmarthen to the coast, and North Wales are probably the best places to hear Welsh being spoken.
A misconception is that all people from Wales should be given the tag Taffy. This is incorrect. According to my guide (from Penarth) the only real Taffy is from Cardiff where the river Taff cuts its way through the middle. Obvious really when you think about it.
While this may seem a bit picky it's certainly worth remembering when you are travelling around Wales where English is still a second language to many.
I guess the name has been used by English people for everyone of Welsh origin. Given that the Welsh name for Wales means Foreigner it's clear that there is quite a bit of water under that bridge!!!
In Glamorgan between Barry and Bridgend are a number of attractive thatched cottages built in traditional manner.
They contarst with the stone built houses built elsewhere in south Wales, so keep an eye open for them when driving around.
This is a Victorian town home that has been nicely restored to a very comfortable and modern hotel....more
From A @ M Evans Wrexham This is an extremely well run hotel which is done by David an Louise...more
Not a bad place but considering the jenivore hotel next door, which has rooms from £12.50 pppn, and...more
More Regions in Wales