A day to affirm love and friendship, exchange cards, hand crafted love spoons and say, “Rwyf wrth fy modd i chi”. Saint Dwynwen, the Welsh patron saint of lovers, who lived during the 5th century, was a Welsh beauty who fell hopelessly in love with a man named Maelon Dafodrill.
Alas, as these tales typically play out, Dwynwen and Maelon could not live happily ever after. Stories differ but in one version, Dwynwen’s father forbade her to marry Maelon as she was betrothed to another. Deep in grief, longing to forget her love for Maelon, Dwynwen escaped to the woods and in sleep was visited by an angel. The angel answered her prayer by freezing Maelon.
Immediately regretting her request, Dwynwen asks God to release Maelon, to remain unmarried for the rest of her days, and to meet the hopes and dreams of true lovers forever more. It seems Dylan Thomas also shared this sentiment in one of his most famous poems, “Though lovers be lost love shall not”. With her heart on the mend, Dwynwen set off to build her chapel on the Island of LLanddwyn, off the Isle of Anglesey, to live out her days alone.
Over the centuries many love-sick lads and lasses have made the pilgrimage to Llanddwyn Island. It is believed that if the waters in a well located here boil or bubble, your love for another will be reciprocated. Located in North Wales, LLanddwyn Island is accessed near the southern entrance of the Menai straight and is part of the Newborough Warren National Nature Reserve.
Llanddwyn, meaning “The church of St. Dwynwen” is technically only an island at high tide, which is much to the visitor’s advantage. As long as you mind the tide table you can follow well traversed walking paths to visit the chapel ruins year round. For those who are itching for a longer hike you’ll have access to over 10 miles of walking paths, across LLanddwyn, Newborough Warren and parts of the Anglesey Coastal Path.
You may notice the ruins that exist today are not those of Dwynwen’s chapel but from a chapel built during the 16th century. Never the less, this location is still quite romantic and well worth a trip.
While its history is steeped in romance, this tidal island will appeal to lovers and singles alike. A day spent here will have you delighting over the resident bunny rabbits, pristine sand dunes of the beaches, restored pilot’s cottages and picturesque lighthouse. On a clear day you will enjoy beautiful views of Snowdonia and Llŷn Peninsula with a healthy dose of peace and quiet.
I’d recommend sturdy walking shoes, a picnic, and good company for this day out, and depending on how far you’ve ventured, a night at one of the top hotels or bed and breakfasts.
Tre-Ysgawen Country House Hotel and Spa and Jasmine Cottage are both currently rated as the #1 places to stay in Anglesey, so should not disappoint. Whether you visit for the outstanding natural beauty, hiking or romance, one should not hesitate to visit this tranquil coastal location in Wales.
Naomi is a Welsh-American living in Seattle, who travels to her homeland yearly and longs to live in Wales again. By day she can be found slogging away at her job in corporate America but by night you’ll find her moonlighting as pastry chef Maggie of Maggie’s Desserts.