You may or may not know that the Welsh have their own equivalent to Valentine’s Day, which falls on the 25 January, and is known as St Dwynwen’s Day. It’s a day when people express their feelings for a loved one, with romantic gifts such as handmade Welsh love spoons, flowers, or other special treats.

Who exactly was St Dwynwen and why is she called the patron saint of Welsh lovers? The tale can be traced all the way back to the Isle of Anglesey in the 5th century. Here lived a princess named Dwynwen, along with her father and many sisters. When Dwynwen fell in love with a prince named Maelon Dafodrill, she asked her father permission to marry.

Sadly, permission was not granted, and a distraught Dwynwen prayed that her now painful memories of her loved one be erased. This unfortunately resulted in Maelon being turned into a block of ice. Upon being visited by an angel and granted three wishes, Dwynwen was keen to make amends.

She wished that Maelon be thawed from the ice; that all true lovers on earth should find health and happiness, and that she should never wish to marry again. All three wishes were carried out, and Dwynwen devoted the rest of her life to God, living as a hermit nun.

The ruins of the church where St Dwynwen lived out the rest of her days became a pilgrimage site over the following centuries, and can still be visited today. It is situated on Llanddwyn Island, which is just off the beach, by the beautiful Newborough Warren National Nature Reserve on Anglesey.

The island is attached to the mainland, and is accessible by foot except when the tides are unusually high. As well as the church, there are two lighthouses, and a row of pilot’s cottages. The perfect place for a romantic lover’s walk!

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