I had thought we’d visit castles and manor homes, but for the most part, we stayed outside. Who knew the allure of Welsh beaches with their rocky cliffs and legendary lighthouses? Church Bay, Newborough Beach, Red Wharf, Moelfre, we hit them all. They’re big and broad and on trip, mostly sunny. We even saw two women swimming! However, they were wearing wetsuits. Click here for more of what a Welsh beach looks and sounds like!
Wales is full of detours and once we had found Ty’n y Mynyndd, we took a lot of them. In fact, when we drove down Mynynnd Bodafon, we headed straight on to one detour to see a 25-ton standing stone in a pasture just north of Moelfre. From there we could see the tip of another kind of ruin, so we kept following that road until we got to the ruin of a small church, one probably buit back in the 1400s or so. Travel was tough back in those days. so the church built small churches to give farmers a church they could walk to. A sign there told us that a Roman ruin probably built atop an old Celtic settelement was in a neighboring stand of trees. We walked across the field, past grazing sheep and Read More...
Looking for your roots is not exactly high adventure for a ten-year-old and a 16-year-old and the whole endeavor had begun to pale for my two daughters, especially after we spent an hour in the Isle of Anglesey County Council offices in Llangefni Monday morning. At this point, we had found four Ty’n y Mynyndds. The first, which we’d seen Sunday, the second, in Pentraeth Forest, sort of on the other side of Mynyndd Bodafon. We pass a third on one of our drives and see a fourth farther north on one of our maps. “Are we going to go to all of those Ty’n y Mynyndds?” my daughters wanted to know; my 16-year-old expressing indignation and resignation at the eccentricities of her aging mother. “Uh, no,” I say regretfully, although I love the sound of Pentraeth Forest and would love to visit that one. Good thing I’m in the travel industry. I know I’ll be back. But once we found the right one, they loved it. Here’s what we saw and heard.
We almost didn’t find Ty’n y Mynyndd. But luck (or a druid) put three people in our path who were able to help us. There was one long, discouraging moment near the top of Mynyndd Bodafon (Bodafon Mountain) when we nearly got stuck in a giant rut that passed for a road. I thought we wouldn’t find it, that this trip would be a fun sightseeing trip, but not the trip in which three generations traveling together find the home my daughters’ great- great-grandfather had left. But then the third person, a white-haired man, mackintosh coat whipping in the wind, came striding around the corner of the rutted dirt road we’d parked on, his dog running circles around him. And he gave us the final piece of the puzzle.
We started the day we found Ty’n y Mynyndd, by driving to Llangefni to the Isle of Anglesey County Council offices. We walked down into the basement of a gothic-looking council building. No one was there--but there was a sign. In English and in Welsh it read: “To Register Births and Deaths, Please ring the bell and wait.”
We rang the bell and waited. And that’s how we met Katie Lewis, whoe produced Owain Thomas’s birth certificate. There it was, a signature next to the name of his father, also Owain Thomas, and an X by the name of his mother, Ellen. The birth certificate said that he was born in the Ty’n y Mynyndd in Penrhoslligwy village between Moelfre and Llanerchynedd. So Katie Lewis dug out an old map and with her finger, traced a ring around the area the birth certificate described. And then she helped us figure out our route on our current map.
We drove toward Moelfre (already a destination we intended to visit because it’s an adorable little village), and stopped for lunch at the Kimmel Arms. And there, we had another stroke of luck. Read More...
We drive down lanes so narrow that the car’s bumper sensors, designed to tell you when you’re getting close to hitting something, scream the entire time. And at the same time that we find one Ty’n y Mynyndd, we discover that there is another!
We have a chance encounter with someone who lives at one of the Ty’n y Mynyndds.
And, we also pick up an eighty-year-old piece of royal gossip.
On a brilliantly sunny afternoon, we head out confidently. We don’t actually have directions; we’ve lost them since our last visits decades ago. But we’ve found Ty’n y Mynyndd on our map and the route makes total sense to me. But as the road gets narrower and narrower and signs become tinier and tinier, it is clear that we’re not on the road I meant to take. We press on, mainly because there is no way in hell I am going to back this vehicle down those steep and windy lanes. Turning around is not an option.