Visitors to Anglesey seem to love it, and it is a popular place to live. The approach is by one of two bridges across the Menai Straits. These are a narrow geological fissure flooded by the sea, through which fast flowing currents surge, and these are especially strong in the narrowest part between the two bridges, far too strong for swimming. At the north eastern end of the straits the surge loses energy as its waters meet up with the Irish Sea, and they drop their sediment on the wide Lafan Sands, where there is a thriving mussel farm. In the Straits there are two small islets, where there are houses. These flood occasionally at high tide, and used to be a tourist attraction in Victorian times.
Strangely, the name Anglesey is misleading, as some think it connects the island with the Angles, the English. It doesn't and the strongly Welsh population would not be pleased with the mis-identification. The name derives from the Celtic tribe who once lived there, the Deceangli. This was a Latinization of a local pronunciation which may have been something like dchangli, but we cannot be certain. We do know that Latin transformed words that it absorbed. The suffix sey is a Norse word denoting an island. Many coastal names in the British Isles have a Norse derivation.
Before the Romans the Druids made it their sacred isle, and, as they were fierce opponents of the Roman conquest of southern Britain, the Romans decided to destroy them once and for all. Suetonius Paulinus, who seems to have been a brutal thug, brought the ninth legion to the island, where after a ferocious struggle they overcame the Druids and destroyed their sacred groves. However, while Druidry was seriously damaged in Britain it carried on in Ireland and Scotland and as Jo Harrington's articles claim it enjoyed a rebirth for a while in North Wales after the Romans left. Suetonius was called from his massacres on Anglesey by the revolt of Queen Boudicca, which he put down with his usual severity.
After the massacres Anglesey served as the grain growing area for the Roman legions, in an economy that eventually became overdependent on the military, a condition that ruined Celtic Britain when the legions were withdrawn and contributed to the chaos that brought the Anglo-Saxons.
In the nineteenth century there was a major development, the discovery of vast resources of copper, which made a great mining industry at Parys mountain and the resulting vast quarry. The small port of Amlwch developed to service the copper mining industry, and it still operates, even now the mine has closed, though as a tourist site.
It is now famed for Anglesey sea salt, distilled from the pure waters that surge past the isle.This salt is a favourite of many people who enjoy high quality cooking and with gourmet chefs.
I am delighted that you liked the article. I am going to be visiting the island a few times in the coming months as our daughter on Anglesey is presenting us with a grandchild in November.
I'm Manx by heritage (live in America), but went to Wales, but only on the Mainland. Enjoyed reading this article!
As a child my family often visited North Wales in summer. I loved it there and still do.
Anglesey is a lovely island, beautiful villages, lighthouses, bays by the edge of the sea, old pubs.
Ty for posting this great article.
It is not for nothing that the first settlers called parts of the US east coast New England, and we can extend the comparison to Wales.
What a beautiful place! It reminds me of photos I've seen of the east coast in the U.S. I've never visited that part of the country, but maybe someday......
How nice! It's always lovely to be thought of by someone who is writing a positive piece!
Thanks. I was thinking of you when I wrote about sailing around Anglesey. I have done mountain walking, but I am really taken with coastal walking. I love the cliffs and the shoreline, and delight in exploring rock pools. And yes, I love history and delight in sharing my enthusiasm.
How lovely it was to walk with you on parts of this lovely island. Such history! Your love of that certainly shows through in this article!
You mention the size of Britain's coastline. The first man to walk the whole British coast worked the length at over 7000 miles; and the coast of Anglesey alone is 125 miles round. I thought that it would take three days to walk it, but I think now that four or five would be needed
That is great news, and it's nice that one of your kids has settled down close-by. That way you will get to see a lot of their child/ren. :)