Imagine Wales, and the images of majestic dragons, vibrant daffodils, verdant leeks, and herds of grazing sheep might spring to mind. But the heart of Wales, this quaint peninsula nestled on the west of the UK, pulsates with more than just iconic symbols. Our art, our discoveries, our narratives, and our people breathe life into the vibrant ethos of Welsh culture, making us a proud nation with a rich heritage to share.
In Wales, we nurture a deep sense of 'Hiraeth'. This untranslatable Welsh term embodies a profound longing for Wales, mingling homesickness with nostalgia and encapsulating the deep-rooted pride we feel for our country and culture. It's the heartbeat of Hiraeth that fuels our journey of celebrating Welsh culture.
The poetic Welsh language
The Welsh language, or Cymraeg in our native tongue, is a poetic language very different from English. Its ancient roots extend to the first recorded written word found on a 700 AD tombstone. Cymraeg even predates the Roman occupation of Britain and the arrival of the Anglo-Saxons!
Cymraeg has weathered many a storm. From being banned in public administration and the legal system by King Henry VIII to the ignominy of the Welsh "Not" in the 19th century that shamed school children for using it. Despite these hardships, the language stands resilient.
Far from dying out, it flourishes with over 900,000 (29.7%) Welsh speakers as of 2023, according to the annual population survey. This marks a positive trend from 2010's 700,000 Welsh speakers. With the Welsh government's ambitious plan to have one million Welsh speakers by 2050, Cymraeg's future looks bright indeed!
If you’re visiting Wales, we invite you to use a few phrases. Many of our team members speak Welsh as their first language. A warm "os gwelwch yn dda" (please) and a courteous "Diolch" (Thank you) goes a very long way with the locals.
A land of song and creativity
Did you know that our passion for singing has earned us the affectionate nickname of the 'land of song'? From choirs to rugby matches, every corner of Wales reverberates with music, making the Welsh mountains come alive with the sound of song.
Creativity forms an integral part of our cultural fabric. Our land has nurtured several renowned musicians, artists, authors, and actors, such as Catherine Zeta-Jones, Roald Dahl, and Anthony Hopkins.
Wales proudly hosts the largest festival of competitive poetry and music in Europe - the Eisteddfod. This annual cultural feast celebrates music, dance, the visual arts, and a range of original performances, each with the Welsh language at its centre. Even if Cymraeg isn't your mother tongue, you'll find yourself swept up in the Eisteddfod celebrations! This year’s event is hosted by Llŷn and Eifionydd - just 20 miles down the road!
A natural paradise
When picturing Wales, you can’t escape its beautiful landscapes. The sloping mountains of Eryri are so synonymous with Wales, that a trip to our beautiful country isn’t complete without a trip to the breathtaking national park.
We’re incredibly lucky that our humble pizzeria and ice cream parlour finds itself nestled in such a picturesque part of the world, with panoramic views of mountains of the Eryri mountain range and Yr Wyddfa itself. It’s difficult to not feel proud of your country when you’re met with such natural beauty on your doorstep.
With the Welsh landscape comes a desire to protect the beautiful countryside, mountains and beaches that surround us. With 55% of our electricity consumption deriving from renewable sources and a remarkable global rank of third-best at recycling, our efforts in sustainability are clear to see. In 2021, Wales achieved a recycling rate of 65.2%, aiming to reach 70% by 2025. This surpasses the UK-wide rate of 44.6%, showcasing our passion for maintaining our clean landscapes.
As a business, we take sustainability seriously. We have offset our carbon footprint since 2021 and we are proudly part of the Plastic Free Yr Wyddfa Ddi Blastig project. Furthermore, we have promised to donate 10% of any profits from our wholesale ice cream pots this year to the conservation of Eryri National Park through the work of Cymdeithas Eryri (Snowdonia Society).
A hotbed of invention and innovation
One aspect of Wales that often goes under the radar is our significant contribution to technology and innovation. From mathematics to the internet, Wales has been at the forefront of many pioneering advancements. Here's a glimpse into some notable Welsh inventions, discoveries, and innovations:
The Equals symbol
In the 1500s, Welsh mathematician Robert Recorde introduced the plus and minus signs to the UK and invented the globally used equals symbol.
Welsh politician Aneurin Bevan was the architect of the UK's National Health Service, pioneering a healthcare system accessible to everyone, regardless of wealth.
Working alongside Alan Turing on early computers, computer scientist Donald Davies made a breakthrough when he invented packet switches - one of the key founding principles of the internet.
Tennis might be synonymous with Wimbledon now, but its birthplace is Wales. Major Walter Clopton is often credited as the inventor of modern "Lawn Tennis".
The Jolly Roger
Besides the red dragon, Wales is responsible for another iconic flag - the Jolly Roger. Designed by Bartholomew Roberts, a Welsh pirate, who is regarded as the most successful pirate when capturing vessels.
A taste of Wales
Wales is synonymous with its foods and flavours. With an environment and landscape perfect for agriculture, Wales boasts a long list of world-famous delicacies and unique dishes.
We’re proud to use so many local Welsh suppliers for our ingredients at Glaslyn, not just because they’re Welsh, but because they are famed for being delicious, quality ingredients. They also allow us to serve a unique Welsh flavour which can’t be replicated outside of Cymru!
Wales is world-renowned for its cheese, rivalling the likes of France and Switzerland for its creamy soft cheeses. We top our pizzas with Feta, blue cheese, smoked cheddar, and many others from Eryri and Anglesey.
For generations, sheep have been raised on the grasslands of Wales and have been bred to be one of the best-tasting lambs in the world. Welsh lamb has a sweet, melting texture, a delicious addition whether you’re planning a roast, or like us - topping a pizza! Our lamb comes from our Catering Managers’ Farm just a few miles up the road!
While the hills and mountains tend to be best suited for sheep, the flatter parts of Wales are perfect for dairy farms. Even though the Welsh weather can be a bit wet, you can guarantee that it will provide lush green grass for happy cows. Welsh milk goes into making so many Welsh delicacies, from cheese and cakes, to our award-winning ice cream. We have recently partnered with a local farm Llaethdy Plas Isa Dairy, so we know exactly where our milk is coming from and it’s not too far from cow to cone.
Celebrate Welsh culture
Wales has an incredible amount to offer, whether you’re looking for heritage and history, food and hospitality, beauty and scenery or whatever else you may want.
The National Eisteddfod is in Gwynedd this year, and there’s no better way to celebrate what Welsh culture has to offer. Get your tickets here!
If you’re in the area for the Eisteddfod weekend, check out Beddgelert Tourism to see how you can best experience our local area.