Anglesey a Mon by another name

Just off the northwest coast of Wales sits an island with a slight of confusion over its true name.

Best known as Anglesey, the Welsh population prefer to call their island Mon.  Historians argue that the island was called Mon before the Norman invasions during the 11th century, but after the Anglo-Normans conquered the isle they renamed it Anglesey.  When the Welsh Language Act was passed by the British Parliament the island resumed its former name, but today the name Anglesey still refers to the County, but none of that really matters because it is still a nice island to visit.

There is no argument about the fact that Anglesey/Mon is the largest Welsh island, and also the largest island in the Irish Sea, the news of which may upset some of the Manx folk who live on the Isle of Man.

The island has a great number of attractions including Beaumaris Castle which is regarded by many as the finest of Edward I’s castles in Wales (but, to be honest, I’m not entirely sure how many other castles he had in Wales). Anyway, it is considered to be quite a good architectural monument and the sea and mountain views from the castle are quite spectacular.    

At the complete opposite end of the architectural spectrum stands Wylfa Nuclear Power Station.  There is a visitor’s centre attached to the power station, so if you’ve ever wondered how a nuclear power station produces the electricity we take for granted to light and heat our homes, and, I must admit I haven’t, this is the place to learn about natural sources of radiation and the safety measures taken to make nuclear a safe means of producing electricity. It’s so comprehensive there, you’ll be glowing with knowledge by the time you leave.

To be honest, my favourite place on Anglesey is the little known (hold on, I have to start a new line) Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyndrobwyllllantysiliogogogoch, which is the village with the longest place name in the world (although there is one in Iceland and another in new Zealand which do come close).

The word supposedly means “Saint Mary’s Church by the white hazel pool, near the fierce whirlpool with the church of Saint Tysilio by the red cave!”

Apparently the true story about the origins of the name was that when the railway was first built an enterprising businessman invented the word as a marketing ploy to attract visitors, and it worked!

And, in case you were wondering, because I sure did, Saint Tysilio was a Welsh bishop, prince and scholar who died circa 640 after living a hermetic life nearby.

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