Across the Menai Strait from Caernarfon, the island of Anglesey (Ynys Môn) welcomes visitors to “Mam Cymru”, the Mother of Wales, attesting to the island’s former importance as the national breadbasket. The land remains predominantly pastoral, with small fields, stone walls and white houses reminiscent of parts of Ireland or England. Linguistically and politically, though, Anglesey is intensely Welsh, with seventy percent of the islanders being first-language Welsh-speakers. Many people head straight to Holyhead and the Irish ferries, but this would be to miss out on Anglesey’s many charms, among them the ancient town of Beaumaris, with its fine castle, the Whistler mural at Plas Newydd and some superb coastal scenery. The island was the crucible of pre-Roman druidic activity in Britain, and there are still numerous Neolithic remains redolent of the atmosphere of a pagan past.
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