A VISIT by the First Minister and a celebration of Welsh culture have been bringing Cardigan Castle's modern day revival in line with its historic connections to the first national Eisteddfod.

First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones officially opened the £12m tourist attraction - including its Eisteddfod exhibition - during a tour of the castle on Thursday.

And the day of celebrations did not stop after the minister left, with the castle hosting its first cultural event on the site of the 1176 Eisteddfod that evening.

Among those attending the unveiling ceremony were the Mayor of Cardigan, local councillors and business representatives. It was also a chance for many of the funders and partners of the castle project to view the results of their efforts.

The afternoon began with a musical performance by Ysgol Uwchradd Aberteifi Choir. They were followed by speeches and a performance Dawns Flodau by Ysgol Gynradd Aberteifi.

The castle key was also ceremonially presented on behalf of the community of Cardigan to the nation.

The unveiling was rounded off with a performance by critically acclaimed harpist Claire Jones, from Crymych.

Mr Jones said: “Cardigan Castle is a blend of the old with the new. Bringing together the castle’s heritage and culture and mixing it with modern times including the superfast broadband you can now get here.

“I am glad that we live in more enlightened times where buildings of heritage can be restored and they are seen worth preserving rather than being demolition because of the expense to keep them running.”

In speeches made by representatives from the Big Lottery Fund and Heritage Lottery Fund it was described how the opening of the castle would benefit the community, bringing in people to the area to help surrounding businesses, provide jobs for people in the area and provide a new sense of community around the castle.

The evening brought the first concert to be staged on the lawns of the recently opened castle.

Cyngerdd Beirdd a Chantorion bought together some of west Wales’ finest poets and musicians for a special evening showcase of Welsh talent.

Among the performers were acclaimed harpist Claire Jones, mezzo-soprano Eirlys Myfanwy Davies and baritone Deiniol Wyn Rhys.

Also attending was reigning winner of the National Eisteddfod Chair, and renowned Cardigan-born poet, Ceri Wyn Jones.

Cris Tomos, spokesman for Cardigan Castle, said: “This special event was rooted in the tradition that started here at the Castle in 1176, and brimming with young and fresh talent that are successful on the Eisteddfod stage today.

"It’s apt that we are celebrating the completion of Lord Rhys’ castle with an evening of music and poetry, while showcasing the wealth of talent on our doorstep.

“With a target to attract more than 30,000 visitors to the castle in its first year, these events will play a crucial role in helping us to bring in both local people and tourists alike, and establish Cardigan Castle as one of west Wales’ leading tourist attractions.”