Friday, 25 January 2013

Big Loves

Dydd Santes Dwynwen
Is love in the air for you today? Here at the Oakeley Arms, we're hoping for some romance, because today is Dydd Santes Dwynwen (St Dwynwen's Day), the Welsh equivalent of Valentine's Day.

image by nellart on
Today celebrates the Welsh patron Saint of lovers - Dwynwen, and of course, like any good love story, her path to true love didn't really run smoothly. And so the story goes......
A long, long time ago, there lived a beautiful princess, in fact she was the most beautiful princess in all of Wales. Princess Dwynwen was the daughter of Brychan Brycheiniog, the powerful Welsh king of the 5th century.  One fateful evening, King Brychan organised an enormous feast for all the noble families of the land. During the party Dwynwen soon caught the eye of the handsome Maelon. After the party, he declared his love for her and they vowed to marry as soon as they could.
As young lovers often don't, they hadn't counted on the wrath of Dwynwen's father, for his daughter was a valuable asset to him and she had been promised to another powerful family. A heartbroken Dwynwen told Maelon of her father's plans and the young man was furious. He pushed his princess to the ground and spat angry rage at her as he marched away.
Dwynwen was so upset that she ran as far north as she could and by the time she'd reached the dark forests of Anglesey, she was exhausted. She prayed to forget her love for the cruel Maelon and as she fell into a fitful sleep she was visited by an angel. The angel first turned Maelon into a frozen block of ice, ha, and then granted the young princess three wishes.
Dwynwen still thought Maelon cruel, but she was a kind soul and wished him to be thawed, and live a happy life. She also wished that the dreams of all true lovers across Wales be granted. Her final wish was for herself - she wished never to go through the heartache of love again. Dwynwen vowed to dedicate the rest of her life serving God.
And she didn't go back on her word. She became a nun, and founded a church on the remote island of Llanddwyn, just off the coast of Anglesey, living as a virtual hermit for the rest of her days. In medieval times, the church became an important place for religious pilgrims, many coming to pay their respects to the tragic Dwynwen.
You can still see the ruins of a church on Ynys Llanddwyn today, although it is a much later building than Dwynwen's. You can walk to the island from Newborough Beach at low tide, so why not woo your loved one with a romantic winter day out at the beach.

The beautiful Ynys Llanddwyn
Newborough beach is just over an hour's drive from the Oakeley Arms - perfect for a day trip! Ask our staff if you need help or directions. For details of a walk and parking, click here


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