The Cymric Project

RMS Cymric.jpg
RMS Cymric at Liverpool with tender SS Magnetic

The Cymric Project is an initiative which aims to incease knowledge of the oldest languages of Britain and Ireland focusing on such prominent Ulster people of Welsh descent such as E Estyn Evans and C.S Lewis, such Ulster families as Welsh, Walsh, Wallace, Price, Rice, Hughes and Meredith and of RMS Cymric .

Welsh (Cymraeg or y Gymraeg) is a member of the Old British or Brittonic branch of the Celtic languages still spoken natively in Wales, by some along the Welsh border in England, and in Y Wladfa (the Welsh colony in Chubut Province, Argentina). Historically it has also been known in English as “the British tongue”, “Cambrian”, “Cambric” and “Cymric”.  The Brittonic (also Brythonic or British Celtic) languages (Welsh: ieithoedd Brythonaidd/Prydeinig, Cornish: yethow brythonek/predennek, Breton: yezhoù predenek were formerly spoken throughout the British Isles, the Isles of the Pretani, by the native Britons of both islands. So they are now represented not only by Cymric, but by Cornish and Breton as well. Notice that in the native speech they are also called Pretanic. In our British passport Britain is Prydain or Pretania.

Brittonic was also originally spoken in the British Middle Kingdoms straddling the Borders between  modern England and Scotland, many of whose inhabitants, known as the Border Reivers, were forced into Ulster by James 1. These kingdoms were Strathclyde (Areclut) or modern Glasgow, Goddodin or modern Edinburgh, Aeron or modern Ayrshire, Rheged or modern Galloway,  Dumfries and probably Cumbria, Elmet or modern Yorkshire, Bryneich , later Northumbria, Deifr or Dewr , a region between the River Tees and the Humber. Brittonic was also spoken in Ireland before Gaelic or Erse and elements are still present in placenames particularly in Antrim and Down (Old Ulster or Ulidia) but also throughout the island. Prominent are Bangor, Lambeg, Glenavy, Tullycarnet, Ballymiscaw (Stormont), Castlereagh and Knockbreda.

A greeting in Cymric is one of 55 languages included on the Voyager Golden Record chosen to be representative of Earth in NASA’s Voyager program launched in 1977. The greetings are unique to each language, with the Cymric or Welsh greeting being Iechyd da i chwi yn awr ac yn oesoedd which translates into English as “Good health to you now and forever”. The Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 Act gave the Welsh language official status in Wales, making it the only language that is de jure official in any part of the United Kingdom.

RMS Cymric was a steamship of the White Star Line, a precursor to the Titanic, built by Harland and Wolff in Belfast and launched on 12 October 1897. She had originally been designed as a combination passenger liner and livestock carrier, with accommodations for only First Class passengers. During the stages of her design layout, it became clearer to the designers at Harland and Wolff that combining passengers and livestock had become rather unpopular, so the spaces designated for cattle were reconfigured into Third Class accommodations. She departed Liverpool on her maiden voyage on 29 April 1898, arriving in New York City on 9 May 1898. She spent the first five years of her career on the White Star Line’s main passenger service route between Liverpool and New York, until 1903 when she was transferred to the less traveled Liverpool-Boston route, which she sailed on for nine years before being returned to the Liverpool route in 1912.

During both the Boer War and the Great War she was pressed into service as a troop transport. On 8 May 1916 she was torpedoed three times by Walter Schwieger’s U-20, which had sunk RMS Lucitania  a year earlier. Cymric sank the next day with the loss of five lives, 140 miles northwest of Fastnet. While the general location of the wreck of the Cymric is known, the wreck has not been found. The Titanic, of course, has famously been found and one of her tenders, the brave little troop carrier the SS Nomadic has been retored in Belfast, where she was built, but the tender SS Magnetic is lost forever. She was sold to ship breakers on 20 October 1935 and was scrapped at  Port Glasgow.

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