My mother was eight years old when Capel Celyn was drowned. She remembers it happening, though she didn’t fully understand it at the time, she was left with a feeling of unease.
We walked the dam at Tryweryn and she told me, “They could take whatever they wanted.” If it could happen to Capel Celyn it could happen to any Welsh village or community, even to Groes where my mother was born.
The slow walk over the dam and back to out car couldn’t have taken more than three quarters of an hour, but walking there, seeing the beauty with the knowledge of 50 years of drowning, was bizarre.
It felt like a pilgrimage, a memorial and family bonding all in one. To know there was once a small thriving community, full of all the things I know my mother loved and hated about rural, Welsh life in her youth, almost feels like a burden in this beautiful place.
Though its a burden, as all history can be, it felt more like a connection when I saw the Free Wales Army had left a shrine on the dam. Someone else has been there, someone else remembered and cared enough to visit, to leave flowers.
That act of memorial, of “cofio”, reinvigorated me, made me realise my project is important, that sharing knowledge, sharing burdens, sharing history is important.
There was no acknowledgement of Capel Celyn anywhere that visitors could see. Liverpool apologised in 2005, but there is no sign or place of recognition at Tryweyn in 2015. The FWA gives unofficial awareness, but more needs to be done.