The rest of the UK might be celebrating all things hearts and flowers on 14th February, but in Wales, we like to do things a little differently. We have our own patron saint of lovers and this one is no Roman man – she’s a lady from Anglesey. St Dwynwen’s day is celebrated on 25th January and commemorates the life of Dwynwen, one of King Brychan Brycheiniog’s daughters in the 5th century. As with every legend worth its salt there are many different versions, but this telling of the tale is the one we know and love best:
Dwynwen fell in love with a man named Maelon Dafodrill but her father had already promised her hand to someone else. Distraught, our Dwynwen begged God to make her forget Maelon. An angel presented her with a potion to drink to erase her painful memories and helpfully turned Maelon into a block of ice so he could plague her no more. However, God granted her three wishes and perhaps having a change of heart she wished for Maelon to be thawed, for God to meet the needs of all lovers and for her to never marry. She set up convent on Ynys Llanddwyn and lived alone there for the rest of her days.
Today, Ynys Llanddwyn is a beautiful place for couples to visit. There are beautiful mountain views, wild ponies to watch and you can still see the remains of St Dwynwen’s church on the little island. The well there is said to be sacred and the movement of the fish shows the destinies of lovers – starcrossed or otherwise – who gaze into the waters. Active fish are said to indicate a faithful husband! The surrounding Newborough Warren nature reserve is also well worth a look. Will you be going there this Dwynwen’s Day?
If you’re planning to go away this St Dwynen’s Day, then take a look at our itinerary for the perfect romantic break in North Wales.
By Ben Griffin