If you are holidaying in North Wales this year, you will have an opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich folklore of the country. For one of the best examples, take a day trip to Llanddwyn Island, which is a short walk from the beautiful Newborough Beach on the south west corner of the Ilse of Anglesey.
This stunning location is well worth visiting for the unique ecosystem of the Newborough Warren sand dunes, which are roamed by wild ponies. There is a long stretch of sandy beach, breathtaking views over the mountains, and miles of forest walks. However, do not fail to take the walk to out to Llanddwyn Island to the more northerly end of the beach.
The island is connected to the mainland by a peninsula that is cut off in very high tides, but is perfectly safe for most of the time. On this romantic headland, you will find two lighthouses, a row of pilot’s cottages, and the ruins of an old church. Here you also will discover an ancient legend that still resonates in modern Wales and beyond.
Dwynwen was a Welsh princess who lived during the 5 th century AD, and is said to be one of the 24 daughters of St. Brychan, a Welsh prince. Legend has it that Dwynwen fell in love with a young man named Maelon, but the love affair was doomed when her father refused permission for them to marry.
The unfortunate Maelon was turned to ice, and shortly afterwards a visiting angel granted Dwynwen three wishes. Her first wish was for Maelon to be thawed out; her second that she could live quietly as a nun for the rest of her life; and the third that she could help all lovers to find true happiness.
Dwynwen spent the rest of her life as a hermit nun on the island, and the ruins of the church have become a pilgrimage site over the centuries. St Dwynwen’s Day is celebrated on 25 January, when Welsh people give each other tokens of love, such as cards, flowers, and gifts.
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