The Eisteddfod is a Welsh festival of literature, music and performance, whose tradition dates back to at least the twelfth century, when the first recorded  Eisteddfod was run by Lord Rhys, at his castle in Cardigan in 1176. He invited poets and musicians from all over Wales to compete, and a chair at his table was given as a prize, (in Welsh eistedd means "to sit.") This was subsequently replaced by a silver trophy in the design of a chair.


The first major Eisteddfod took place at Carmarthen in 1451, later followed by the next large scale event held in Caerwys in 1568.


At that time the contests were only open to professional Welsh bards who were sponsored by nobility and, to ensure the high standards were maintained, Elizabeth I ruled that the bards should take an examination and obtain a license.


Following a decline in the Welsh arts, and deterioration of the Eisteddfod, it was kept going by small informal gatherings, until a revival in the eighteenth century.


In an effort to save native Welsh traditions, which were being eroded by the up and coming Methodists, in 1789, Thomas Jones organised the first public eisteddfod in Corwen, and its success of the event led to a revival of interest in Welsh literature and music. However the first of the "new" Eisteddfods was held in 1792 at Primrose Hill, London.


When the Blue Book, a survey carried out by non Welsh speaking Anglicans in 1847, was used to attack and degrade the people of Wales, it had the effect of galvanising the Welsh into strengthening their national culture, and leading to the first National Eisteddfod taking place in Llangollen in 1858. Which has led to it becoming the largest festival of competitive music and poetry in Europe.



Llandudno Bardic Circle


Portmadog Bardic Circle


Portmadog Altar Stone




Britain Tour