Frongoch Internment Camp
Frongoch Camp just outside Bala was set
up to take German prisoners in 1915. It acted as a parent
camp under which affiliated work camps for prisoners across
Wales were organised and in June 1919 held 2106 German
prisoners. However it is most famous for a short period
in 1916 when the German prisoners were moved out and replaced
by Irish prisoners.
In 1916 Republican groups attacked
Dublin in what was known as the Easter Rising. This started
on Easter Monday, 24th April, and the Republicans held
out for 6 days before surrendering. The British authorities
arrested a large number of men, many of whom had not been
directly involved in the attack, and a large proportion
of these ended up at Frongoch.
There were a maximum of
1800 Irish prisoners at the camp, but by August 1200 had
been released. The rest were released just before Christmas.
This short period of time was of considerable significance
to Irish history because prisoners from several different
Republican groups were held together and could freely mix.
They also had classes on everything from Welsh to military
strategy and tactics, and Frongoch has become known in
Ireland as the 'University
Part of the camp used a building originally built as a
distillery for Welsh Whiskey in 1889, while the rest of
the camp was composed of wooden huts on a field to the
north. Very little now survives and Ysgol Bro Tryweryn
now occupies the site of the distillery. One hut, which
may have come from the camp, stood until recently and was
used by the Women's Institute. Others may have survived
as garden sheds in the local area, having been dismantled
The field that held the northern part of the camp was
also used as accommodation for workers building the dam
across the Tryweryn that flooded the village of Capel Celyn
and created the Llyn Celyn Reservoir in the 1960s.
Distillery building reused as prisoner of war camp