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The Welsh Language

Welsh is one of the oldest living languages in Europe. Breton and Cornish are closely related to Welsh and Irish, Scottish Gaelic and Manx derived from the same language originally.

The Welsh language and the strength of religion have traditionally been mutually supportive. Tŷ Mawr Wybrnant in the Gwydyr Forest, Betws y Coed, is a famous symbol of the Welsh language as it was the home of Bishop William Morgan, who completed the translation of the Bible into Welsh in 1588. It was to make an important contribution to literature and standards of literacy in Wales, as well as to the development of the distinctive non-conformist sects of later centuries. The earliest written Welsh, dated at 700 AD, survives as an inscription on a memorial stone in Tywyn church on the boundary of the National Park.

Old Welsh traditions of folk singing and poetry have remained strong in Snowdonia since the days when bards entertained at the Princes' courts. Modern versions include events like the National Eisteddfod and locally organised festivals such as the Sesiwn Fawr in Dolgellau where Welsh and Celtic bands perform.

Watch the video below to see the highlights of the Snowdonia National Park Authority's stand at the 2009 National Eisteddfod of Wales at Bala:

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Welsh Facts

  • 562,016 people speak Welsh in Wales.
  • 65.4% of the population of Gwynedd speak Welsh.
  • 89% of young people between 3 and 15 in Gwynedd can speak Welsh.
  • 58.6% of the population of the Snowdonia National Park speak Welsh.

Click here to view a map of the population of Welsh speakers within each area.