38. A Welsh prison was an IRA "Training College."
After the Easter Rising of 1916, many of those who had taken part were interned at Frongoch, near Bala, in North Wales. the British interned more than 1,800 Irishmen in what later became known as "Sinn Fein University" for it was here that the internees were organized into avid revolutionaries. Inspired by hearing the locals speak Welsh, the internees conducted their meetings in Gaelic and planned the post-war government of Ireland.
They included many key figures in the IRA, such as Michael Collins, who became Director of Intelligence, and Richard Mulcahy, who became Chief of Staff. The camp provided a hard core of disciplined men who were ready to organize the armed resistance necessary to win Irish independence.
39. The oldest ethnic society in the US is Welsh.
The Welsh Society of Philadelphia claims to be the oldest ethnic society in the US. In 1729, a small group of Welsh people living in the city (which had a large Welsh-speaking population at the time) founded the Society of Ancient Britons to honor St. David, the patron saint of Wales (whose day is celebrated on March 1st). Benjamin Franklin often attended their banquets, for which he printed the tickets. After the Revolution, in which many Welsh fought for independence, the group re-organized under its present name. It has been extremely active in Welsh-American affairs for the past 260 years.
40. Cardiff has the world's largest retractable-roof arena.
Rapidly being completed in time for the World Rugby Cup competition to be held in Cardiff, the Welsh capital, during the 1999-2000 season, is the Millennium Stadium. The new 75,000 seat, all-weather stadium will replace the world famous Arms Park to become the world's largest arena with a retractable roof. it will also contain a rugby museum, a riverside walk, a public plaza and will be suitable for all sporting events and concerts.
41. The "Ugly House" was built and inhabited in one day.
Situated on the A5 road between Betws y Coed and Capel Curig, in Snowdonia, North Wales, the "Ugly House" (Ty Hyllt in Welsh) was built around 1475. At the time, a loophole in the law allowed a tenant to own the property if he could build a house complete with fireplace and chimney between sunrise and sunset and have smoke coming out of the chimney. Using undressed boulders, four local brothers completed the task to take possession, not only of the stone building, but also of the land upon which it stood for as far as they could throw an axe from each side of the house.
42. A Welsh coracle crossed the English Channel in 1974.
Designed for use in the swiftly flowing streams of Wales, the coracle has been in use for centuries, having been noted by the Roman invaders as early as the 1st Century A.D. A keel-less, bowl-shaped fishing boat, originally constructed of a covering of animal hides over a willow framework, the sturdy little craft resemble a walnut shell Todays' coracles, seen only on the Rivers Teifi, Towy and Taf, use calico or canvas in place of hides. In 1974 as part of a publicity stunt, a Welsh coracle (similar to the Irish curragh) managed to cross the Channel to France, piloted by Bernard Thomas in 13 and one half hours. The journey was undertaken to demonstrate how the "bull-boats" of Mandan Indians of North Dakota could have been copied from Welsh coracles introduced by Prince Madog in the 12th century (see Fact No. 1).
43. The Mumbles Swansea Railroad was the first in the world to accept paying passengers.
On March 25, 1807, the Mumbles to Swansea railroad, begun three years earlier to carry limestone and other materials to the docks, began accepting paying passenger on a regular basis, thus making it the world's first. Horses were replaced by steam locomotives in the 1870's and by electric in 1929. The line, also the world's longest surviving railway, finally closed on Jan 5, 1960.
44. A Welshman was the first man in The world to transmit and receive radio waves.
History has credited Italian-born Guglielmo Marconi as the inventor of the wireless radio, and German scientist Heinrich Hertz as the one whose name was given to radio waves, yet eight years before Hertz, a Welshman named David Edward Hughes became the first to transmit and receive radio waves. Hughes, who died in 1900, also invented the printing telegraph utilized in the USA by the West Union Telegraph Company in 1857 and that became the adopted standard in Europe; the carbon microphone, which made possible practical telephony; and made major contributions to electrical science.
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