"Voyage dans le pays de Galles"

Name of traveller

Alfred Erny (b. 1838) and Henri Martin (1810–1883)

Reason for travel

  • travelling as cultural tourist and visit to the Caernarfon Eisteddfod 1862

Date of travel

August 1862

Aberystwith est le Dieppe du pays de Galles. Tous les ans, un grand nombre de baigneurs viennent y passer la saison d’été ; aussi pendant ce temps la ville est bruyante et animée. Elle est bâtie sur un promontoire au confluent des rivières Rheidol et Ystwith, et à peu près au milieu de la baie de Cardigan. (Erny 274)


  • architecture: appreciation of Roman remains, gothic castle ruins and standing stones as Celtic monuments
  • art: contains a map of Wales and copperplate etchings by Pierre Eugène Grandsire (1825-1905) that also appear in the account by Jules Gourdault
  • clothing:
    • Flemish costumes worn by women in Pembrokeshire
    • notes women's hats, but these are in decline
    • notes women's clothes made from material of red and black squares
  • customs:
    • Welsh culture less assimilated than Scottish or Irish
    • notes Welsh custom of decorating graves with flowers, as is done in France, but not England
    • notes on marriage customs, compared with Brittany
    • notes Welsh way of carrying infants in shawl
    • description of a Mari Lwyd painting on pub sign in Llanover
    • visit to Caernarfon Eisteddfod and general history of eisteddfodau
    • notes on superstitions and supernatural creatures, e.g. ghosts, fairies, 'pooka' (pwca)
    • descriptions of Welsh music and triple harp as national instrument; harp description more technical than most
    • coracles on Teifi
  • history: roots Welsh history in antiquity with writings of Giraldus Cambrensis (1146-1223) and King Arthur
  • industry:
    • Machynlleth as centre of Welsh wool manufacture 
    • air pollution from copper production in Swansea, mountains of ash either side of road in Merthyr
    • visits Dowlais iron works, description of Merthyr illuminated at night by forges
    • manufacturing at Neath 
  • language:
    • use of Welsh language designates locations of the real Wales
    • notes he heard more speeches in English than in Welsh at the Eisteddfod
  • literature:
    • references to Triads and character of Welsh poetry; Charlotte Guest's (1812-1895) translation of The Mabinogion; Iolo Morganwg (Edward Williams) (1747-1828)
    • appreciation of the private library of Lord and Lady Llanover, Benjamin Hall (1802-1867) and Augusta Hall (1802-1896)
  • people:
    • travels with Henri Martin (1810–1883) as far as Barmouth, text contains footnotes by him
    • Welsh people are more similar to the French than to the English 
    • visits Augusta Hall (1802-1896) at Llanover Hall
    • visits M. E. Williams (Iolo Morganwg's grandson) in Dowlais
  • terrain:
    • frequent references to Arthurian legends and Mabinogi with regards to specific locations, such as Caerleon, Cefn Bryn and Carmarthen
    • picturesque, romanticised landscapes and roads
  • Spanish translation: "Viaje al País de Gales." La Vuelta al mundo: Viajes interesantes y novísmos por todos los paises. Con grabados por los mejores artistas. Vol. 6 Madrid: Imprenta y Libreria de Gaspar y Riog, 1867. 114-48. Print.
  • click here to read the full account

Nationality of traveller


Language of publication

French; translation: Spanish

Gender of traveller


Type of publication

illustrated travelogue


Erny, Alfred. "Voyage dans le pays de Galles." Le Tour de Monde 15.1 (1867): 257-88. Print.