Anglesey, Wales

Anglesey, a uniquely positioned island set between two dominating islands (Great Britain and Ireland), and connected to the world by two bridges, one train and daily ferries. Its history spans millenniums, as archeological digs, monuments and stones herald back to pre-historic times. It was recorded by Ptolemy as part of Ireland and not England. The Romans had difficulty subduing the druids but when they finally conquered the land, a Roman road was built from one end to the other. After the Romans, Anglesey was raided and overtaken by the Irish, Norwegians, Danes, Vikings, Saxons and Normans before Edward I of England conquered all of Wales in the 13th century.

Holyhead, the largest town on Anglesey is on Holy Island, about four miles out from Anglesey. It functions as a port, with ferries from Ireland and Europe dropping off and picking up passengers. The train also starts on Holyhead, so ferry riders can just walk from one end of the ferry building to the other for the train. There are lots of little towns scattered across the island, which focuses mainly on agriculture and tourism. About 70,000 people are permanent residents. A poll revealed that over 50% speak Welsh. Anglesey was in the news when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge lived on the island due to Prince William’s search and rescue occupation.

Places of interest include the town with the longest name, arguably in the world, Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, as well as Plas Newydd,  an 18th century home of the Marquess of Anglesey, and the Menai Suspension Bridge, designed by Thomas Telford and completed in 1826.

A favorite site is Beaumaris Castle. A square and concentric castle, it was commissioned under Edward I after conquering Wales. It is considered a perfect example of its type. French builders called the area beaux marais, or beautiful marshes, and so the name stuck. It’s a fairytale castle and even has a mote. It opens in March and has reasonable admissions rates. The town of Beaumaris is also worth an explore. Its convenient to stay in Beaumaris if you want to be in Anglesey for a while. Bus links from the train station take tourists and locals to Beaumaris daily.

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