Grand Bard Elizabeth Carne’s speech for St. Piran 2019

Dydh da dhywgh hwi oll! Fest lowen ov vy bos omma hedhyw rag an keskerdh ma avel Bardh Meur Gorsedh Kernow/ Hello everyone! I am very happy to be here today for this parade as the Grand Bard of Gorsedh Kernow.

It’s wonderful to see so many people here celebrating our very special Gool Peran/ St Piran’s Festival.

We in Cornwall are special. We are unique. What makes us so special and unique? Our culture, our heritage and particularly our language. We have a wonderful Celtic language which was spoken on these islands long before English. When Piran landed in Cornwall it is the language he would have heard. It is all around us in Cornwall in our place names and many family names. It was almost lost to us in the 19th century, but thanks to the revivalists who gathered the remembered words and phrases from people who still used them, and used the manuscripts of the middle ages, we are now able once more to use our own Cornish language, Kernewek.

We should all embrace the language to ensure it has a bright future. It is spoken now by more and more people. I myself learned Cornish many years ago and In those days our numbers were small, but thanks to the efforts of enthusiastic volunteers we have grown and grown. There are very few people living in Cornwall today who do not know of the existence of Kernewek and large numbers know a few words. Businesses are now using the language in letter headings and advertising. It is good for business and is becoming part of everyday life. Our children should be given the opportunity to learn the language at school, and some schools in Penzance and Liskeard have been lucky enough to work with my fellow bards but this is still a dream for the majority. Of course it requires funding and, although Cornwall Council has been very supportive, we do not receive any money from the UK Government.

Today, to celebrate St Piran’s, Gorsedh Kernow is pleased to launch a new film about the journey of the statue of St Piran from Mabe Quarry in Penryn to the Vallée des Saints in Brittany. “Viaj an Delow ”, put together by Matthi ab Dewi, is now available to view online on the Gorsedh Kernow website. It was filmed by Mab Hirnans, Stephen Gainey, a well respected local businessman and fervent Cornish speaker who died recently and in whose honour we launch this film today. 

So let us go forward and celebrate St Piran and Kernewek. Try saying Dydh da! Instead of Hello! Splann! When you think something is Brilliant! Meur ras! As a Thank you! Please wave your flags even more enthusiastically and join me in wishing everyone Gool Peran Lowen.

Splann! Meur ras!


Link to film

Link to Piran events listed on Gorsedh Kernow website