Island of Lovers – Llanddwyn Island

In the 5th century AD a story of love and heartbreak was the reason for a young woman to retreat to Llanddwyn Island, a small tidal island off the coast of Anglesey, and follow the life of a hermit.

Llanddwyn-Island-Celtic-Cross-1

The modern celtic cross commemorates the death of St Dwynwen in the year 465.

Dwynwen was the most beautiful of 24 daughters of King Brychan Brycheniog. She fell in love with a prince called Maelon Dafodrill but because she was already betrothed to another man, rejected his advances. Maelon was furious and attacked her and for this sin was frozen in a block of ice.

Llanddwyn-Island-Ruins-1

The ruins of the church. In the background you can see another cross.

Her heart broken, Dwynwen ran away to pray when she was granted three wishes by an angel: 1. that Maelon be revived, 2. that she could help people who were unhappy in love and 3. she never wanted to be married. She then retreated to the solitude of Llanddwyn Island.

Llanddwyn-Island-Cross-Lighthouse-2

Dwynwen’s Cross. It is inscribed ‘On the sixtieth year of Queen Victoria’.

Dwynwen became known as the patron saint of lovers and pilgrimages were made to her holy well on the island. Legend says that the faithfulness of a lover could be predicted through the movements of some eels that lived in the well. Llanddwyn means “The church of Dwynwen” and the ruins of a church can still be seen. But there is more…

Llanddwyn-Island-Lighthouse-2

Llanddwyn Island Lighthouse. The tower is from around 1873.

Llanddwyn-Island-Small-Lighthouse

The old lighthouse.

Llanddwyn-Island-Pilotcottages-3

Pilots cottages – this row of four cottages was built for the pilots who guided ships into the Menai Strait. From 1840 a lifeboat was stationed here and manned by the pilots as well as volunteers from Newborough. The cannon was used to summon the lifeboat crew

Llanddwyn-Island-Panorama

Panorama of the island with the two lighthouses.

As this is such a magical place and named after the patron saint of lovers what better way to end the day than with a sunset.

Llanddwyn-Island-Pilotcottages

Unfortunately you can’t see the wind. It was freezing!

Llanddwyn-Island-Crosses

Shortly afterwards the sun vanished behind some clouds.

Llanddwyn-Island-Cross-Ruins

It really is a magical place.

Llanddwyn-Island-Cross-Lighthouse

Dwynwen’s Cross and the lighthouse one last time.

As Dwynwen is the patron saint of lovers, she is the Welsh equivalent of St Valentine. Her Saint’s day is 25th January and is often celebrated with cards and flowers, it is after all the Welsh Valentine’s Day.

Llanddwyn-Island-Sky

Time to go home.

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6 thoughts on “Island of Lovers – Llanddwyn Island

  1. Gorgeous atmospheric photos and very interesting post. I am just recently subscribed to your blog and really have enjoyed reading your previous posts especially your days out in Wales. Thank you for sharing them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: The tragic love story of Rhys and Meinir | design and dragons

  3. Pingback: All is ‘tickety-boo’ – this was 2015 | design and dragons

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