When Nia Richards from the local Eisteddfod fundraising group of Penylan, Cyncoed, Roath and Cathays got in touch to see if we’d be up for making a Welsh language version of the world famous Cardiff Underground (Caerdydd Danddaearol) in order to help raise money for next year’s Eisteddfod in Cardiff Bay, we got pretty excited.
It’s amazing that our Cardiff Underground is so popular. (It’s currently up in St David’s shopping centre, and in summer 2017 was featured on a BBC One Wales TV documentary presented by Jason Mohammad about the city.) We loved the idea of creating a new version in Welsh that helped support next year’s Eisteddfod and, better yet, was something of cultural and historical relevance and importance in its own right.
If that sounds a bit lofty and pretentious, that’s because the Caerdydd Dandddaearol is no mere translation of the poster I created for fun and for my own amusement. This one, we’re very proud to say, is a fascinating celebration of the city’s history and Welsh language culture from one of the city’s preeminent linguistic historians.
Cardiff historian Dylan Foster Evans, Head of School of Welsh at Cardiff University, has infused this Welsh language version with rich historical and cultural detail that we hope will inform locals and encourage debate. It’s Cardiff, Jim, but almost certainly not as we know it.
And that’s regardless of whether you siarad Cymraeg or not – Dylan features many lost and forgotten historical references that will of interest and new to all of us. We had a lot of back-and-forth with me asking a lot of (probably impertinent) questions during the making of this. I hope Dylan didn’t mind!
This new version has featured in our monthly column in The Echo, has been the subject of S4C’s Heno programme (which broadcast live from the launch event organised by the fundraising committee), and sold exceedingly well at Tafwyl in July 2017.
The popularity has been a really welcome surprise, and way better than we’d hoped for. You can buy copies framed or unframed from our website or directly from the fundraising group – check out their Facebook page here.
“The map tries to the Welsh language names for many of Cardiff’s streets and sights literally on the map but does so in a playful way,” says Dylan.
“It also tries to uncover some of the city’s hidden Welsh past. The city has at times been slow to recognise its varied linguistic heritage and there is always a risk that some of its rich past could be forgotten. This beautiful map helps to rework that history whilst also raising vital funds for the National Eisteddfod.”
The original Cardiff Underground was tricky enough to do in English (and it was solely for fun, without any thought to it actually taking off in the way it has), so fair dos to Dylan and the team who kept the project on track and painstakingly informed this Welsh masterpiece. Da iawn all, and diolch yn fawr iawn!