Historic Ferryside/Hen Glan-y-Fferi

Ferryside and the surrounding area is steeped in history, both recent and ancient. Many of the most stunning castles in West Wales are within an hour of the village, with Kidwelly Castle only 5 miles away and Llansteffan Castle overlooking Ferryside from the top of the hill on the opposite side of the estuary. It is an area rich in scenery and wildlife, and the entire area of Carmarthen Bay is designated a European Special Area of Conservation.
In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Ferryside like this:"FERRYSIDE, a village and a chapelry in St. Ishmael parish, Carmarthen. The village stands on the river Towy, near its mouth, and adjacent to the South Wales railway, 4 miles NW of Kidwelty; and has a station on the railway, and a post office‡ under Kidwelty. It is a pretty place; overlooks a great expanse of tidal sand; is a rising watering-place, frequented by the people of Carmarthen and neighbouring towns; has a good inn; and possesses the recommendations of beautiful situation, pure air, excellent bathing-ground, cheapness of living., and command of excursions. ..."
Ferryside was once at the heart of the cockling industry in Carmarthen Bay. Cocklewomen from the neighbouring village Llansaint would collect about 650 tons of cockles a year, a traditional practice that continued until around 1900.  Harvesting cockles is still an active industry today in Ferryside, although without the donkeys. 
In the mid 19th century, the village had a population of 895 people, not that much different than the population today (the 2021 census puts the population of Ferrysode at 861). These photos from around 1900 show the centre of the village.  The White Lion Pub is visible on the right hand side of the large photo.  The pub is still going strong over 100 years later and will be the location for sessions during the Festival. St Thomas Chuch in the top left photo will host our Gala Concert on the Saturday night.
The coming of the railway in the 1850s opened up Ferryside as a popular seaside holiday destination, which it continues to be to this day.  Today there are direct trains to Ferryside from Swansea, Cardiff, Bristol, London and Manchester, for those interested in taking the train to the Festival.  The train voyage up the west coast of Wales to Ferryside is stunning. Be sure to sit on the left hand side of the car!
Gŵyl Uilleann Glanyfferi will be held on the 150th anniversary of the very first music and cultural festival staged in the village. On 14 April 1873 the first Ferryside eisteddfod was held. An eisteddfod is a festival of Welsh music, song and poetry, and is a tradition which some date back as far as the 12th century. Annual eisteddfodau were held in our village through the First World War. While the first one in 1873 was a small affair, with only a few individuals and choirs competing, by 1904 up to 3,000 people were coming to the village to watch the competition. The National Eisteddfod of Wales (held annually since 1861) served as an inspiration for founding the annual Feis Cheoil in Dublin in 1897, and official delegations were regularly exchanged each year between the two events. Gŵyl Uilleann Glanyfferi will re-establish this history of annual gatherings of traditional music and song in Ferryside, drawing from both the Welsh and Irish traditions.