Les Survivances Celtes au Pays de Galles

Name of traveller

Claude-François Courseau (b. 1954)

Reason for travel

  • study trip abroad as holder of a Zellidja Travel Grant

Date of travel

5 July to 9 August 1971

Bangor commence à se peupler. Demain commence en effet l’Eisteddfod national. La ville est prête à cet événement et ne vit que par lui. Partout paraissent des petits drapeaux gallois, des livres gallois, des manuels de vocabulaire Anglais-Gallois. Les Celtes arrivent. (Courseau 35)


  • agriculture: decribes the region between Builth Wells and Llandrindod Wells as prime agricultural country
  • art: contains a number of photographs
  • customs:
    • attends the Llangollen International Eisteddfod and the Bangor National Eisteddfod
    • is impressed by the international character of Llangollen during the festival week
    • describes the great excitement in Bangor leading up to the National Eisteddfod; discusses new members inducted into the Gorsedd, among them is Welsh pop musician
    • enrolls temporarily as student in the University of Wales, Bangor, to carry out research on Welsh traditions; socialises with fellow students and describes the routine of his days at university
    • interprets displays of the Welsh flag or the CYM sticker on cars as signs of Welsh nationalism
    • describes pub culture as token of English civilisation, but filled with Welsh traditions
    • everything is shut in Cardiff on Sunday
    • visits St Fagans National History Museum and learns about Welsh traditions, but is disappointed because there is little on Celtic traditions
    • concludes that Welsh culture is distinct from English culture, but remains thoroughly British by way of life and economy
  • history: relates the history of Conwy Castle and the reason why the Welsh hate Edward I (1239-1307)
  • industry:
    • south Wales characterised by fields of factories, tall chimneys and oil refineries
    • travels north through the Black Country; the landscape is still as black as described in Richard Llewellyn's novel How Green Was My Valley (1939)
    • sees deprivation, unemployment and abandoned houses in the Black Country
  • language:
    • finds few Welsh-speaking students attending the university in Bangor, although the university offers Welsh studies, has a large Welsh library and most signs are bilingual
    • in south Wales only old people speak Welsh
    • learns some Welsh words; does not dare speak English at the exclusively Welsh National Eisteddfod
  • politics:
    • discusses Welsh politics; describes Plaid Cymru as a fairly large independence movement and identifies with his new Welsh nationalist friends
    • concludes that the Welsh need to make more of an effort to gain greater autonomy and preserve their Welsh culture, but does not believe in Welsh independence
  • recreation: goes swimming in the sea and mountain walking
  • terrain:
    • apart from the name, there is nothing particularly interesting about Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch
    • Wales is a country of mountains which protected Welsh culture against foreign invaders
  • transport:
    • modes of travel: hitchhiking; on foot
    • motorway through south Wales cuts through industrial landscapes

Nationality of traveller


Language of publication


Gender of traveller


Type of publication

diary; report; travelogue


Courseau, Claude-François. Les Survivances Celtes au Pays de Galles. 1971. Rapports de premier voyage Zellidja jusqu'en 1974; 4814. Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris. MS.