Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau

Today marks the start of this season’s RBS  Six Nations Rugby, which kicks off at 7.45pm at the Millennium Stadium here in Cardiff with Wales versus England. The town will be buzzing in the evening, overrun with rugby fans in various states of drunkenness but with that extra special atmosphere that makes this such a fantastic place to be on such occasions, even if you’re not in the ground. It promises to be a bit chaotic, but it’s always an extra special day in Cardiff when the old adversaries meet. I’m going to head off home slightly earlier than usual in order to avoid the crush and to get home in time to watch the match on TV.

The Six Nations is a difficult competition to predict, at least in terms of the results of the rugby games, but there’s one battle whose outcome you can bet your bottom dollar on, and that’s the crowd singing which is always won by the Welsh. I’ll probably be able to hear all the way from my house.

Get a load of this example, from a few years ago which at least gives some idea what I’m talking about. This is the stirring  Welsh National Anthem Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau (Land of My Fathers). And if you feel like singing along, here are the lyrics (in Welsh, of course):

Mae hen wlad fy nhadau yn annwyl i mi,
Gwlad beirdd a chantorion, enwogion o fri;
Ei gwrol ryfelwyr, gwladgarwyr tra mâd,
Tros ryddid gollasant eu gwaed.

Gwlad, Gwlad, pleidiol wyf i’m gwlad,
Tra môr yn fur i’r bur hoff bau,
O bydded i’r heniaith barhau.

Hen Gymru fynyddig, paradwys y bardd;
Pob dyffryn, pob clogwyn, i’m golwg sydd hardd
Trwy deimlad gwladgarol, mor swynol yw si
Ei nentydd, afonydd, i fi.


Os treisiodd y gelyn fy ngwlad dan ei droed,
Mae hen iaith y Cymry mor fyw ag erioed,
Ni luddiwyd yr awen gan erchyll law brad,
Na thelyn berseiniol fy ngwlad.


22 Responses to “Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau”

  1. Simon Kemp Says:

    looks like 2001….but we got thrashed that day

  2. Rhodri Evans Says:

    I’m going to the game tonight. If I remember, I’ll try and video the National Anthem on my iPhone.

    The last Wales v England match I attended was in 2005, Wales beat England for the first time in over 10 years (home or away), winning 11-9 with shaven-legged Gavin Henson putting over a long-range penalty in the last few minutes. It put Wales on course to win the Grand Slam that year, the first time we’d achieved that since 1979, the last of 3 Grand Slams we won in the 70s.

    I can’t see Wales winning this evening. We have 3 British & Irish Lions out through injury ( Adam Jones, Gethin Jenkins and Leigh Halfpenny), and we’ve only won 1 game in our last 7.

    The series between England and Wales stands at 54 wins to England, 53 wins to Wales and 12 drawn. It would be wonderful for Wales to level the series. We’ll know by 21.45 tonight!

  3. John Peacock Says:

    Peter: you are presumably aware that the version of the Welsh anthem you quote is but a phonetic re-rendering of the English original?

    My hen laid a haddock, one hand oiled a flea,
    Glad farts and centurions threw dogs in the sea.
    I could stew a hare here and brandish Dan’s flan,
    Don’s ruddy bog’s blocked up with sand.

    Dad! Dad! Why don’t you oil Auntie Glad?
    Can’t whores appear in beer bottle pies?
    O butter the hens as they fly!

    • telescoper Says:

      That’s better than the John Redwood version

    • Rhodri Evans Says:

      Ah yes, the John Deadwood version, forever a classic….

    • Bryn Jones Says:

      I can recall being told about a school in Southeast Wales teaching pupils to sing “My hen laid a haddock on top of a tree …” instead of the correct words back in the 1980s.

      Yes, really.

    • Anton Garrett Says:

      Not Redwood’s fault, but an insensitive and foolish decision to appoint him as Welsh secretary.

      I got to the last 20 minutes of the rugby in the pub; the game was more passion than skill. I’m not sure about closing the stadium roof, though; I hesitate to call 30 men of that size a bunch of wimps, but…

  4. telescoper Says:

    Incidentally, I looked up the odds on William Hill today: England 8-15, Wales 13-8.

    Definitely worth a bet on Wales, I’d say.

    • Anton Garrett Says:

      Never bet on a 2-horse race.

      As someone who grew up in the late ’60s and early ’70s I still find it faintly strange that England are favourites to win.

  5. Rhodri Evans Says:

    Now Gavin Henson seems to have lost his way, off to Toulon after but a few weeks with Saracens. But, in 2005, it could be argued he was the man of the match against England:

  6. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Haley Gomez, Peter Coles. Peter Coles said: Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau http://wp.me/pko9D-2lw […]

  7. Rhodri Evans Says:

    For some reason the Welsh only ever sing the first verse of the National Anthem. Most people (including me) who even know the first verse (I wonder what percentage of Welsh people that is?), do not know the second or third verses.

    The anthem was written by Evan James and James James (father and son) of Pontypridd, in 1856. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welsh_national_anthem

    The Breton “national” anthem was written to the same tune as the Welsh one, but they do sing their 2nd and 3rd verses.

  8. Anton Garrett Says:

    I’ll miss this game as I’ve an engagement in Oswestry, which is as Anglo-Welsh a town as you can find (although oddly my nearest bit of Wales is to my east). Around there it is not hard to find people with Welsh accents supporting England, and vice-versa.

  9. Rhodri Evans Says:

  10. telescoper Says:

    Ah well, Wales 19 England 26.

    Cardiff was indeed very busy, not just around the Stadium but also in the pubs. I did manage to get home to see all the game. I have to say that I wasn’t particularly impressed with the quality, but it was quite exciting to watch.

    • Rhodri Evans Says:

      I’m biased (of course), but I think Wales created more chances than England, we just failed to finish them off. It was quite an exciting game, and the atmosphere in the stadium was electric. This was England’s first win in Cardiff in the 6 Nations since 2003.

      Wales have now not won a game in the last 7 (or is it 8?). Not good….

    • telescoper Says:

      Wales perhaps had more attacking opportunities, but both teams made too many errors.

      I thought Wales were very lucky not to have a player red-carded for a deliberate trip which the referee didn’t see.

    • Rhodri Evans Says:

      I didn’t see that either 🙂

  11. telescoper Says:

    Now that the first 3 games are over I have to say France is the only team that really impressed!

  12. […] however. Since it was St David’s Day there was a final rendition of the Welsh National Anthem Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau which the audience joined in. With the massed choirs belting it out as if their lives depended on […]

  13. […] rendition of Flower of Scotland before the kick-off. But there’s something special about the Welsh National Anthem on days like this. I’m glad they’ve dispensed with the professional pop singers that […]

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