The 25th of January is St Dwynwen’s day, the patron saint of Welsh lovers. Recently a tradition of celebrating St Dwynwen’s day as our equivalent of St Valentine’s has become established. St Dwynwen herself was an early Celtic saint who lived in 5th Century Anglesey.
There are a few variations in St Dwynwen’s legend, but the most common one is as follows:
Dwynwen was a young woman who was in love with a young man named Maelon, but Maelon betrayed her trust by forcing himself on her. After praying for assistance, an angel provided her with a potion, which enabled her to forget her love for Maelon, and which punished him for his crime by turning him into a pillar of ice.
Taking pity on Maelon, Dwynwen then prayed for three requests. Those three requests were that Maelon be released; that, through her, God would look after all true lovers; and that she herself should remain unmarried. She then retreated to the solitude of Llanddwyn Island off the west coast of Anglesey to become a hermit until she died, in about AD 460.
A rather sad tale for a patron saint of lovers.
Llanddwyn Island itself is in a beautiful location on the south west corner of Anglesey. The island can in fact be walked to from the mainland at low tide, and is the site of a small church. There are lovely views across the sea to Snowdonia, and a charming little lighthouse nearby, which was used as a location for the (rather indifferent) Demi Moore film “Half Light”.
The area is a good base for walks.