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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.