Deffro Mae’n Ddydd Y Ddraig Goch Ddyry Gychwyn

September 26, 2008 at 3:35 pm | Posted in Cardiff, Crest, Cymraeg, English, Motto, Portugal, Welsh | 2 Comments
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Deffro mae n ddydd in Ferroviários Barreiro Portugal 24 September 2008
Deffro mae’n dydd wood carving

in Ferroviários Barreiro Portugal, 24 September 2008

Awake it is the day!  The Red Dragon will lead the way!


Dear Fernando,

Thanks very much for sending me a picture of one of the two carved wooden paddles in your club!

I hope you enjoy my translation for the slogan you have found in Portugal.  I guess some Welshmen must have visited Barreiro in days gone by and left these words behind.

Deffro mae’n ddydd = Awake it is the day!

Y Ddraig Goch = The Red Dragon

ddyry gychwyn = will lead the way!

Thank you very much for sending your photograph.

Here’s more background from a Welsh-English dictionary:

Y ddraig goch a ddyry cychwyn [ø dhraig gookh aa dhø-ri gøkh-win]
A line in a poem by Deio ab Ieuan Du (fl. 1450-1480), Llangynfelyn, Ceredigion

In 1953, it was added as a motto below the dragon on the royal badge of Wales – a symbol showing the authority of the English monarch over the Welsh nation.

It is literally ‘the red dragon gives a leap’ and it is taken as meaning ‘the red dragon inspires the Welsh people onward’.

In Cardiff, there is a hospital in Whitchurch that has these words on display in a crest in the main hall.  According to  the Archives Network Wales:

The Cardiff Lunatic Asylum was officially opened in 1908, and was later renamed as the Cardiff City Mental Hospital. Between 1914-1919 the hospital was taken over by the military.

Also, the same motto was used on the collar and cap badges of the 16th Battalion Welsh Regiment, known as The “Cardiff Pals”, during World War I.



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  1. I saw the title of your post and thought, “Wait! It’s not St. David’s day! What’s going on here?”

    (Glad that’s settled.)
    [Response: Hello Breen! Did you think I only use Welsh on one day per year? I use it almost every day, but only for simple greetings, some of which I cannot even spell, because I learned them orally 😉 Tomorrow, please say hi to everyone you know who knows us, and watch out for a visitor next Sunday.]

  2. Thank you very much.
    I also had yesterday the help of Dr. David Jenkins (Uwch Guradur/ Senior Curator,
    Amgueddfa Genedlaethol y Glannau/ National Waterfront Museum,
    Heol Ystumllwynarth/ Oystermouth Rd.,
    SA1 3RD).
    He gave me the same translation and was very interested in the wood carvings.
    For me the welsh language has a sense of magic and is very beautifull.
    When I return to the club where the carvings are and i explained and said “Awake it is the day!” same people had shudders, like a ghost had spoken. Because they are in that wall for so many time in silence in a language unknow and now finally they were talking.
    The only history i know of these carvings (big ones) is that they belong to a paddle steamer and were on the paddle boxes (they are two – the left and right side) as decoration along side with the ships name (who is lost).
    The carving has also a horse and sea horse holding a crest: looks like a bear standind holding a flag with to strippes, like this).
    Again, thank you very much and sorry for the poor english.
    Best wishes,
    Fernando da Mota

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