June 15, 2024

Is this the warmest Welsh welcome in the world?

Bwrlwm ARFOR award ; Pictured is Mirain Gwyn at her B&B Taldraeth in Penrhyndeudraeth . Picture Mandy Jones

A Gwynedd B&B owner is in the running for an award for providing the warmest of Welsh welcomes – right down to duvets and pillows made with organic Welsh wool

Mirain Gwyn has run the Taldraeth guesthouse in Penrhyndeudraeth on the edge of the Eryri National Park for the past eight years and is passionate about the Welsh language, culture and heritage.

She and husband Geraint have transformed the former Victorian rectory into one of Wales’s most special places to stay with a Welsh ethos.

Guests from all corners of the globe have been welcomed to Taldraeth, which has a five star Gold rating from Visit Wales and have written glowing reviews of their stays on social media and review sites.

Now Mirain has been shortlisted for an award at the Gwobrau Mwyaf Cymraeg yn y Byd (Most Welsh in the World Awards) organised as part of the Bwrlwm ARFOR scheme that’s run by Anglesey-based consultancy firm Lafan.

The aim of the competition is to celebrate all things Welsh in business across the four counties with the highest percentage of Welsh speakers, Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire, Gwynedd and Anglesey.

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in Aberystwyth on June 20 and Mirain is thrilled to have been shortlisted in the category for the Most Welsh Individual.

She said: “I am passionate about the Welsh language, its culture and heritage and our visitors get a taste of that from the moment they step in through the door.

“It is not just the warm welcome in Welsh that they receive but it extends throughout the guesthouse.

“Guests are offered tea or coffee with homemade Welsh Cakes and Bara Brith served on 1970s Portmeirion Totem pottery designed by Susan Williams-Ellis as soon as they arrive.

“The house is full of Welsh antique furniture some of which date back to the 17th Century. My father was an avid collector and his influence can be seen in the house.

“It’s a shame that the craftsmen who made the dressers did not include their names so their history is lost – unlike the clocks in the house which have the names of their makers on them.

“We have paintings of local scenery by Welsh artists on the walls with Welsh textiles such as Welsh wool tapestry blankets and Laura Ashley fabric and Welsh organic wool duvets and pillows are made locally at Harlech,” said Mirain.

At breakfast guests can feast on locally sourced produce and are often served by Mirain’s young daughters, Anest, 11, and Alis, 8.

“Guests are often surprised to hear us speak Welsh with each other but then understand that the language is the one we use naturally throughout the day. It is what they would expect to hear if they travelled abroad and they are often fascinated to hear Welsh,” she added.

Taldraeth was built in 1858 along with the nearby Trinity Church and funded by Lousia Jane Oakley, widow of William Gruffydd Oakely. The Oakelys lived at Plas Tan y Bwlch, Maentwrog, and owned several slate quarries at Blaenau Ffestiniog.

Used as the church’s Vicarage up to 2013, it was purchased by Mirain and Geraint and named Taldraeth, meaning location above the estuary. Care has been taken to retain the original features of the house and garden.

The garden includes a Victorian walled garden and an orchard which includes unique Welsh fruit trees developed in Gwynedd by Ian Sturrock.

A keen gardener, Mirain uses the fruit and vegetables from the land to make her own jams and chutneys which are served at Taldraeth. She also runs Pantri Taldraeth which sells the products to guests as well as events such as Christmas Fayres.

The purpose of the competition is to encourage businesses to use Welsh to boost their bottom line – and put a smile on people’s faces at the same time.

It certainly seems to have succeeded with dozens of entries finally whittled down to 30 finalists in seven different categories.

A spokesperson for ARFOR said: “Our aim is to create a buzz around the use of Welsh in a business or commercial environment and how it can help businesses thrive and provide careers for our young people so they don’t feel they have to move away.

“We have received dozens of nominations from a variety of businesses across the four counties of Ynys Môn, Gwynedd, Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire and those shortlisted for an award are those the judges feel are doing their utmost to use and promote the Welsh language on their premises, their marketing and their social media channels.

“We have 30 finalists and we are conducting a public vote on social media.

“We wish all of them the very best of luck at the forthcoming award ceremony and hope the other nominees continue their good work in using and promoting our language.”

The Bwrlwm ARFOR campaign is part of the ARFOR Two scheme that was launched in 2022 in succession to the 2019 ARFOR programme to continue to strengthen and promote the economic resilience of the Welsh language in the four counties.

ARFOR Two is intended to provide economic support to communities that are strongholds of the Welsh language, increase opportunities to see and use the Welsh language on a daily basis and help young people under the age of 35 to stay in or return to their communities.

For more information about Bwrlwm ARFOR and the support that’s available for the use of Welsh in business contact Lafan by emailing [email protected]