Meet a quarter of the world

By | Category: Travel destinations

Site of the International Eisteddfod

Denbighshire is one of those counties in our countries that few have heard of. Buffeting the English border, this Welsh county is not as well-known as one town inside it – Llangollen.
Today this smallish town plays host to one of the most important musical festivals that summer brings us, the Llangollen International Music Eisteddfod. which opened yesterday. Some may know that this is where Luciano Pavorotti had his first big success outside Italy when he sang here in 1958. Or that he returned to Llangollen to acknowledge how important the eistedffod had been to him. For the next six days there is a range of music and dance from around the world. Yes the BBC National Welsh Orchestra is there but so is the Buena Vista Social Club and the New Zealand bass singer, Jonathan Lemalu as well as Orla and James Jordan from Strictly Come Dancing. The international eisteddfod has turned into a gathering of music from anywhere in the world; this year 50 countries will be represented by over 5,000 instrumentalists, singers and dancers. So, over a quarter of the world is represented here. The appeal of bridging the world is what draws tens of thousands of people will make their annual pilgrimage here.
This year the county has competition from another eisteddfod, the National Eisteddfod is also being held in the county town, Denbigh in early August. This is a Welsh language affair but, I have been to the eisteddfod a couple of times in my life and my Welsh is virtually non-existent. Anyone can enjoy the music, the art and the stalls without having to know the language and there are stewards who will translate if you really need to have it done. Two of the regular stewards are Welsh learners themselves having only decided to learn the language when they both retired.
The county is also home to one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites, Pontcysyllte Aqueduct which takes canal boats high above the land below. Always an astonishing site to the newcomer is the view of narrow boats way above your head. Completed in 1805, the aqueduct is the largest inn Britain and is part of an eleven mile stretch that goes through the county. Fed by the Horseshoe Falls outside Llangollen the iron trough that forms the aqueduct is only just under 12 foot wide and hardly more than 5 foot deep. But the views , the views alone would make you want to journey along the canal. You don’t need a boat as you can walk along a path. And this Friday a special event takes place when the aqueduct is illuminated.

Combine all of the eisteddfodau, the canal, the landscape and Denbigh Castle itself and you seriously wonder why more people don’t know the county.

For more about Denbighshire, click here

Images © Wrexham County Borough Council and Denbighshire County Council

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