‘Separated from the mainland by the Menai Straits, and quite happy with that thank you very much, Anglesey is a beacon for those who like their monuments ancient, their landscapes lofty and their lives unfurnished by excitement.’
Anglesey makes much of its rich history and many tales of conquering armies. This is borne partly of pride, but largely because nothing of note here has happened since 1851.
Two fine bridges connect the island to mainland Wales, and with many thousands passing over every day. These masses continue through to Holyhead docks, where they catch the ferry to Ireland as quickly as possible.
Beaumaris Castle, found on the eastern coast of the island, boasts World Heritage Site status, and with the Museum of Crime and Punishment nearby, the town is popular destination for families. With the museum possessing the last surviving hard-labour treadwheel in Britain, parents can enjoy an hour’s peace and relaxation while their progeny play with their iPhones and work out even shorter ways of writing the word ‘Whatever’.
In common with much of North Wales, there is a fierce pride in the Celtic ancestry of these parts, with Welsh speakers making up 70% of the population. The heavily subsidised Welsh language channel S4C is popular. S4C’s sports coverage is notable for covering football matches with such small crowds it is possible hear crowd members addressing the referee by his first name when calling him a tosser.
Anglesey’s coat of arms commemorates the honourable but bitterly-fought duels for control of Welsh hearts fought by sheep and dragons down the ages.
5th Century BC – Ancient Neolithic tribes place numerous stone megaliths and menhirs on the island plains, making the largest single contribution to Anglesey’s economy to date.
120 AD – Roman colonists bring roads, coins and a logical language to the island. They are ignored.
853 – Aggressive Danish invaders launch a devastating raid on Celtic settlers, laying waste to huge areas of wasteland.
14th Century – Fertile farming land helps Anglesey to cement its position as ‘the breadbasket of Wales’. Sadly, things take a turn for the worse when it is realised that wood is a better material for making baskets.
1957 – Actress and comedienne Dawn French is born in Holyhead. Her parents, determined that their daughter should have every chance to succeed, immediately move to the comparatively cosmopolitan rural Devon.
1959 – Marianglas-born Hugh Griffith wins an Oscar playing ‘Tiresome Welshman’ in Ben Hur.
1966 – Anglesey’s coastal zone is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, encouraging thousands of British tourists to visit the untouched and outstandingly clean beachees.
1967 – Anglesey’s designation as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is rescinded.
2005 – Anglesey resident Thomas Thomas wins a gold medal in shooting at the International Island Games. He is congratulated by his wife, Gweneth Gweneth, and three daughters, Gweneth, Thomas and Thomas.
Did You Know?
Pentraeth is home to one of Britain’s last remaining red squirrel colonies. Harassed and out-competed in the wild by their grey counterparts, red squirrels have been forced to evolve even bushier tails, wider eyes and cuter poses to stave off extermination.
Anglesey is one of over twenty-five small islands to take part in the friendly International Island Games. Held biennially, the event gives enthusiasts a chance to get their hands on their very own chocolate medal. In the 2007 Island Games Anglesey won five medals, including golds in shouting, digging and the 100 metre read.
Despite its low population, Anglesey can claim connections to two notable musicians – Motorhead frontman Lemmy and classical singer Aled Jones. Although there have been calls for the two to join up for a duet, all of these have been sarcastic. Inspired by the local idols, the locals on Anglesey often gather together in pubs to produce some of the most horrific Open Mic nights in the country.
Lemmy relaxing with his two warts, Barry and Tony.