Would you believe it, dear friends, that we’ve been living here in Holyhead for exactly four weeks now? And WHAT four weeks it’s been – our new flat is shaping up rapidly (in the next few days we’ll even get a cooker, a fridge and a washing machine!), we’ve got to know such a lot of nice people already, and I REALLY feel at home here… for the first time in my life, actually!
Having moved not only around a town or country, but literally all over Europe, I always used to feel like a gypsy – at home everywhere and yet nowhere. But at some point in your life you DO want to find a home, don’t you… I grew up in Germany (and I haven’t set foot on it for more than 15 years), then I lived in Greece for 20 years, then I moved to London, England; and now, finally, I’ve found my home here in Wales – in lovely, lovely Holyhead, known as Caergybi in Welsh.
I’d already fallen in love with it when my darling Ian and me visited the island of Anglesey for the first time two years ago (I’d actually been here for the first time 25 years ago with my best schoolmate on our way to Ireland, but it was late at night and we didn’t really see anything except the station and the port); and when we decided we’d leave London and move to Wales, we concentrated on Anglesey – and positioned ourselves in Holyhead for our house hunt.
It wasn’t the best time to find a place, though; not only was there a new Coronavirus lockdown looming, but also had most of the available flats and houses been snatched by others during the past weeks – we were quite obviously not the only ones who were fed up with the city and wanted to move somewhere more quiet and peaceful… But fate smiled at us: we found a wonderful two bedroom flat right outside the town centre, close to the station and with all amenities around, from supermarkets to takeaways, and yet really quiet! So, we wasted no time and arranged our move for the 22nd of October, the last day before the fire-break lockdown in Wales; and here we were, in our own little ground floor flat with direct access to the road and a romantic view of the town centre…
We were so occupied with tidying and furnishing our flat (more about that next time) that the lockdown passed in no time – and afterwards we could go out and explore our new hometown. And what a gem of a place!! It’s got the prettiest town centre you can imagine; a mix of Welsh and Irish style, since Dublin lies right beyond the waves…
The port is as impressive as it is important, of course – it’s from here that the ferries sail every day to Dublin, Ireland. It’s so exciting watching the huge lorries come in and out of it, filled with goods for the trade with Ireland, loaded with goodies like Guinness and Kerrygold butter!
The port is directly linked to the station, where travellers from all over the world come in on their way to Ireland; once I was one of them, but now I live here… I’ve always loved stations and trains, and it’s great to be able to just walk over and have a look around any time I like! I’ve done more walking here in Holyhead in those four weeks than I did in London in months.
But Holyhead isn’t just a busy port, it’s also got a long history: there was an Iron Age hillfort known as Caer y Twr just outside town the remains of which can still be seen, then the Romans built a fort in town, and in the 6th century CE the famous Cornish bishop St Cybi founded a church here – hence the Welsh name of Holyhead, Caergybi: Cybi’s fort. The church was repeatedly plundered and damaged by Vikings, Lancastrian kings and Cromwell’s army, but in was restored and stands right in the town centre today, serene and impressive even to an atheist like me.
And there’s something else very special that Holyhead – and our part of town, too – has got that I’d always dreamed of: a beach within walking distance!! Just walk down the road out of town, and after less than a mile you’ll get to this little paradise on earth…
I just can’t tell you, dear friends, how happy I am – my darling husband and me, here in this oh so beautiful place, happy ever after. This little gypsy certainly has found her home…
So, if you’re dreaming of moving somewhere else, some place that suits you better than the old one, don’t hesitate, dear friends; your instinct will lead you to the right place, and you’ll see how happy and free and fulfilled you’ll feel!
4 thoughts on “A declaration of love to Holyhead, Wales”
What a beautiful discription of a beautiful place. I moved to Holyhead many years ago after moving to various places and not settling down. but I love it here and it’s here I’m staying it’s my home by the sea.
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Yes, it’s just SO beautiful and friendly, isn’t it, Angel?! And yes, there’s simply nothing like living by the sea…
So many of us Irish emigrants passed through there on so many occasions, leaving home and on return visits. Love the Welsh – had many dear Welsh friends – and North Wales is a beautiful place! Best wishes in your new home!
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Thank you so much, Silver Voice! Yes, the Irish and the Welsh have got so much in common; and I feel very privileged to live just across the Irish Sea from Dublin now – can’t wait to go in a trip there after this whole Coronavirus thing is over!