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The stirring six foot Hiraeth poem that defines what it is to be Welsh

05 Aug 2023 4 minute read
Hiraeth by Andrew Challis situated in Boduan, which hosts this year’s National Eisteddfod (Credit: Andrew Challis)

We’ve all felt it on occasions in our lives.

Look up the definition of the word ‘hiraeth’ via Google and you will be served up this meaning: Deep longing for something, especially one’s home (especially in the context of Wales or Welsh culture)

It’s a word that is very personal to Wales and the Welsh – something we’ve all experienced at times.

Now, thanks to Welsh poet Andrew Challis that word has been wonderfully summed up thanks to a poem penned by the wordsmith, which has been displayed in a six foot presentation near Boduan, the location of this year’s National Eisteddfod.

The poem is situated on a quaintly decorated roundabout green where many people have stopped to read it.

“I wrote the poem Hiraeth a while back and posted it on social media again recently,” said Andrew.

“It seems to have become my most popular piece to date and its words seem to resonate with the people of Wales who tell me that I’ve explained the feelings of hiraeth perfectly.”

The poet said he was inspired to pen Hiraeth after experiencing it himself.

“I decided to write the poem as I personally experience ‘hiraeth’ when being away from Cymru for long periods and many, many Welsh folk have told me that they feel the very same,” he said.

He recently teamed up with Welsh actor KC Flanagan after the performer saw the written version of Hiraeth online.

“He liked it so much that he got in touch with me to ask my permission to record it and use it when presenting to directors,” said Andrew.

TV viewers may have seen the actor most recently appearing in Emmerdale earlier this year – and he certainly shows his acting chops in this wonderful video.

“I didn’t need asking twice and I am humbled and honoured to be complimented in such a way,” said the poet. “KC then recorded my poem and sent it to me for my approval and I’m blown away by it.”

The actor added music to his stirring narration and it certainly adds emotional heft to the words.

“KC had chosen to use the beautiful ‘Myfanwy’ by Joseph Parry as it was his Nain’s name,” said Andrew.

“Little did he know that Myfanwy is my favourite song so it looks like our collaboration was meant to be.

“He has really brought my words to life and I know many who have seen and heard his performance on social media totally agree.”


When you come from Wales there’s a feeling of belonging,
for those that have left for different lands a constant sense of longing.

This longing is called ‘hiraeth’ only the Welsh can understand,
a yearning for their nation and wonderful homeland.

‘Hiraeth’ it exists and indeed it can be strong,
the love for Wales is palpable for the place that you belong.

Often being away from Wales you feel there’s something that you lack,
‘hiraeth’ is the magnet that wants to draw you back.

‘Hiraeth’ an emotion, not easy to explain,
whenever you leave
the heart does grieve
to be back in Wales again.

It can feel there’s something missing, in your life there is a hole,
there’s an ache within your heart and a pining in your soul.

No matter how long ago you left, how long you’ve been apart,
‘hiraeth’ is there always and Wales is in your heart.

𝐂𝐨𝐩𝐲𝐫𝐒𝐠𝐑𝐭 Β© π€π§ππ«πžπ° π‚π‘πšπ₯π₯𝐒𝐬

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Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
8 months ago

Nicely done Mr C! It was Rhys Ifans who first made me aware of β€˜Hiraeth’ and what it means and I identified with it immediately. Despite the fact I have never lived anywhere else, I have always had the sense of belonging perhaps moreso than the longing. When I leave Cymru for a short time (holiday or working away) I get the feeling then and when passing a β€˜Croeso I Gymru’ sign on my return, the profound feeling that I am home descends upon me every time. That’s Hiraeth.

Andrew Challis
Andrew Challis
8 months ago
Reply to  Fi yn unig

Diolch o’r galon!!

8 months ago

British! β€œWelsh” was an English Victorian invention so they could turn the English into British people.

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