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This report is taken from PN Review 160, Volume 31 Number 2, November - December 2004.

Letter from Wales Sam Adams

As many readers will be aware, the National Eisteddfod, which always occurs in the first week of August, is a movable feast. The venues are announced sufficiently in advance to allow preparation and, especially, fund-raising in the chosen locality commensurate with the scale of the undertaking. Make no mistake, the National is big; in rural parts it can dwarf its host. This is one reason why it is always designated to a town or village `a'r Cylch', that is, `and its surrounding area'. The other, and more precious, reason is that, for that one week in many years, perhaps a lifetime, the people of a fairly wide district can, if they have the inclination, take a share of the responsibility for maintaining a great engine of the Welsh language, and enjoying themselves in the process. The culture of the chapel appears in terminal decline, and the efforts of education and administration to fill the void are, at best, hit and miss. The Eisteddfod, spluttering and backfiring as must be expected from time to time, remains a reliable machine dedicated to this purpose. For the rest, there are only activist organisations like Cymdeithas yr Iaith (the Welsh Language Society).

This year the Eisteddfod returned to Casnewydd a'r Cylch, Newport and District. It had previously occupied the site at Tredegar Park, Newport, in 1988. Despite the efforts of its town, and now city, council in the last decade or so to refurbish the centre and add the odd aesthetic ...


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