Hiraeth - Hiraeth Meaning

Hiraeth

Hiraeth is a word that doesn't easily translate into English - it brings together the feelings of homesickness, nostalgia and longing. Hiraeth is a pull on the heart that conveys a distinct feeling of missing something irretrievably lost. 

Hiraeth is a Welsh word in everyday use in the Welsh language. It is also one of a few Welsh words that is commonly used in the English language, untranslated like "bach" and "cwtch".

Hiraeth - Hiraeth Meaning - Homesickness and Nostalgia - Coming home to Wales - Severn Bridge
Hiraeth - Homesickness, Nostalgia, Coming Home over the Severn Bridge - More Useful Welsh words, phrases and sayings, click here...

 

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Hiraeth Meaning

    Hiraeth, commonly is translated as "homesickness" bit it is more than that. It means a deep sense of longing, a yearning for that which has past, a sense of homesickness tinged with grief or sorrow over the lost or departed.

    One attempt to describe hiraeth in English says that it is “a longing to be where your spirit lives.” This description makes some sense out of the combination of words that describe this feeling. The place where your spirit feels most at home may be a physical location that you can return to at any time, or it may be more nostalgic of a home, not attached to a place, but a time from the past that you can only return to by revisiting old memories. Maybe your spirits home could even be neither of the above, one from which you are not only separated by space

    Thoughts of Home - Feelings of Hiraeth

    Everyone will have different thoughts of home but here are five iconic Welsh images (including the main image above)...

    • Pont Hafren (Severn Bridge), coming hoe to Wales over the Severn bridge
    • Yr Wyddfa - Wales' highest mountain
    • St Dwynwen (Patron Saint of Lovers) and Llanddwyn Island
    • Cardiff, Capital city of Wales and Cardiff Castle
    • St David's city, home of the Patron Saint of Wales

    Yr Wyddfa Ynys Llanddwyn - Llanddwyn Island - Ynys Môn St Dwynwen Cardiff, Capital City of Wales - Cardiff Castle St David's City - Ty Ddewi 

    The FelinFach Hiraeth Collection

    So iconic a word is hiraeth that we have called our Welsh Tapestry Collection, "Hiraeth". Welsh tapestry blankets, throws and cushions are also an iconic pattern and famous the world over. It seemed to us that "nothing says Hiraeth more than an iconic Welsh tapestry blanket". 

    Welsh Tapestry Blanket - Harlech Welsh Tapestry Blanket - Portmeirion Welsh Tapestry Blanket - Draig Goch

    How is Hiraeth Pronounced

    As it is often used in the English language, it is a common question to ask how to pronounce it – try saying “here-eyeth” and you wont be far away! Interestingly there is an equivalent word in Cornish and Breton languages (other Celtic languages) “hireth” in Cornish and “hiraezh” in Breton.

    Hiraeth in Welsh Songs and Poetry

    There are many example of the word hiraeth being used in English language songs and poetry but almost certainly the most famous is in the Welsh song, “ We’ll keep a welcome”. It was composed by Mai Jones, born in Newport, Gwent, (6th February 1899 – 7th May 1960).  

    In 1940, Mai collaborated with lyricists Lyn Joshua and James Harper to create the now world-famous Welsh song "We’ll Keep a Welcome".  Whilst an entirely English language song, it uses the word hiraeth to describe the longing to be back home in Wales, as follows;

    This land of song will keep a welcome
    And with a love that never fails
    We'll kiss away each hour of hiraeth
    When you come home again to Wales

    We’ll Keep a Welcome Lyrics

    Far away a voice is calling
    Bells of memory chime
    Come home again, come home again
    They call through the oceans of time

    We'll keep a welcome in the hillsides
    We'll keep a welcome in the Vales
    This land you knew will still be singing
    When you come home again to Wales

    This land of song will keep a welcome
    And with a love that never fails
    We'll kiss away each hour of hiraeth
    When you come home again to Wales

    We'll keep a welcome in the hillsides
    We'll keep a welcome in the Vales
    This land you knew will still be singing
    When you come home again to Wales

    This land of song will keep a welcome
    And with a love that never fails
    We'll kiss away each hour of hiraeth
    When you come home again to Wales

    We'll kiss away each hour of hiraeth
    When you come home again to Wales

    About FelinFach

    Welsh Blankets - Hand woven in in Wales in limited numbers Wool Throws - Hand woven in Wales  Craft Courses - Natural Dyeing Gift Cards - By Post or by Email Welsh Tartan Scarves Sheepskin Rugs

    Our company, FelinFach Natural Textiles is located in the heart of the Preseli area of Pembrokeshire near to Boncath. We design Welsh blankets and the iconic Welsh Tapestry blankets which are traditionally woven at Welsh mills. We also design and make natural hand dyed yarn, cotton, silk and wool scarves are all available in our yarn store and shop. We also offer Welsh tartansSheepskin Rugs, Gift Cards and tools and books for crafters and knitters - Cocoknits, Laine, Amirisu and Making to name a few! Our candlessoaps and hair care products are all hand made. Lastly, craft courses on hand dyeing with 100% natural dyes in the purpose designed FelinFach Dye Studio. We are a proud supporter of the Campaign for Wool, All Things Wales and Global Welsh.

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    Last update 30th July 2022

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