Catholic interest in the Eisteddfod
From our Welsh Correspondent WHILE the Royal and National Eisteddfod at Ebbw Vale, which ended on Sunday, was apparently a financial failure, and while the Catholic witness on the field (at the Catholic tent) was not quite up to recent standards of display, it was in some respects an eisteddfod of special importance to Catholics.
The High Mass at the parish church on Tuesday last week for example, was attended by a good number of Catholic working-class men-who told me of their Cambro-Irish background and of the history of the Irish settlers in Ebbw. I was gratified to find how keenly they all supported the Eisteddfod, though none had any Welsh.
One of the snags about Catholic support of the eisteddfod seems to be that there is a rather large gap between such loyal folk and the cerebralised, often Welsh speaking, members of Y Cylch Catholig, so many of whom are converts. Undoubtedly, of the latter group the most redoubtable was Thursday's president, Saunders Lewis, whose address, relayed from the great pavilion, was heard by thousands upon the field.
S.L. (as we call him) was not by any means well received by rather more than half the crowd; but one part of it was more than ordinarily enthusiastic. Speaking, of course, in Welsh (S.L. would rather read a book in French than in English) he rebuked those who had recently invented the slogan "Bread before Beauty"-a reference to the industrial projects in north Wales-and put before them the ancient slogan "Death rather than Shame". He moved forward to a powerful, and, to many people, surprising plea on behalf of the doomed Tryweryn valley.
His play Brad ("Treason") was acted on Thursday and Friday evening. It concerns the plot of the German generals against Hitler and brings before us the question of a just revolt. Many Welshman arc speculating about what they believe may be his ulterior motive though for many years he has shunned public activity of a directly political sort.
My happiest recollection of the eisteddfod was of being congratulated by a steward and some others on having won the crown. The crowned bard this year has the same name as the chaired bardLlew Jones. But I am vain enough to admit that I do look like the former.
He is reported as having said he has too many chairs (won at local eisteddfodau) 80 in all. I wonder whether he would let me, his double, have one.