Vacationing in Wales

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Croeso – Welcome: Vacation in Wales

For our overseas visitors, vacationing in Wales can be easy, take a direct flight to one of many airports in the UK, we can arrange a luxury private hire transfer from any airport, seaport or location.

For those traveling by rail or coach a taxi or bus can be taken to Ystradgynlais from Neath or Swansea.

Wales at Fall

An autumn view of the Brecon to Monmouth Canal at Llangynidr, Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales, United Kingdom
Credit: Nigel Forster www.creativephotographywales.com

 

Sgwd Pannwr, Ystradfellte, Brecon Beacons, Wales, UK

Matt Botwood – www.mattbotwood.com

Known as Autumn in the U.K. and Hydref here in Ystradgynlais, fall is stunning here with beautiful Woodland Colours to explore, Frosty Mornings by ancient castles, and of course the chance to warm up in a quaint and cosy pub by an open fire or roaring log  burner.

 

In Wales traditionally Halloween is Nos Galan Gaeaf, the eve of the first day of winter, traditionally the first day of the new year. So Halloween was New Years Eve and would be celebrated as such.  Fires would be lit ushering in the New Year, celebrating safe harvest and deterring any wandering spirits.  You can still join in many local gatherings and festivals in Wales. Enjoy the Dylan Thomas Festival, Swansea and check out the local Halloween celebrations.

 

A Welsh Winter Wonderland

Grant Hyatt – www.granthyatt.photography

Winter in Wales can be spectacular, visit the nearby town of Hay On Wye for their Winter Food Festival on the 25th of Novermber 2017, the fabulous clifftop ruined Carreg Cennen Castle below and of course both Cardiff and Swansea have seasonal funfairs and ice rinks with a festive theme, Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland and Waterfront Winterland in Swansea.

Photo Credit: Lewis Philips – www.lewisphillipsimages.com

Trace Your Celtic Connections

  1. Ask family members about what they remember names dates and possible places and any family documents available as well as photographs, trace this as far back as you can.
  2. According to the BBC keeping organised is important:

    “Sketching out a rough plan of what you know before you begin more in-depth research is a good move. Keeping notes on lines of investigation and individual ancestors is also useful. Place your immediate family at the start of your family tree and work from there: it’s best to start with yourself and your children/grandchildren and move backwards through your siblings, parents, grandparents and so on.

    Gathering more specific biological information and concrete evidence on ancestors strengthens your family tree, and vital information can be found in births, marriages and death records. Civil registration for these events was introduced in England and Wales in 1837: it became a legal requirement for every birth, marriage or death to be officially registered and a certificate issued as proof. Prior to this date, registers of baptisms, burials and marriages that were maintained by each parish can contain information that may be of use to your investigation.”

  3. Use Genealogy Websites to top up your knowledge.
  4. To find local archives where record might be help use this website to search for National Archives: National Archive
  5. Search Local Records:

    Parish records – including registers of baptisms, marriages and burials – may be used for research for dates and events prior to 1837 if your trail takes you back that far. From 1538 it was required that the incumbent of every parish kept a register of births, deaths and marriages within their parish. Most local parish registers are kept at local County Records Offices and are also available at the National Library of Wales”

  6. If you manage to get back earlier than the 1830’s tracing via family names may become difficult for many reasons. surnames were often anglicised when they were written down. Spellings were not consistent and there was a patronymic system in Wales following the male line only. According to the BBC:

    Patronymics describes the process of giving a child the father’s given, or forename, as a surname. This means that a family’s name changes in successive generations. The Welsh patronymic system describes family trees in terms of the male line only and records the family association in the ‘ap’ or ‘ab’ prefix (‘ap’ is a contraction of the Welsh word ‘mab’, which means son). For example, Rhys ap Dafydd translates as ‘Rhys, son of David’. Modern Welsh surnames such as Powell, Price and Prichard are the result of this contraction and a progressive tendency to Anglicise Welsh names: under the patronymic system they would have been ap Hywel, ap Rhys and ap Richard. This process of conversion to the system of fixed names in Wales began in the fifteenth century and continued through to the middle of the eighteenth century. The trend was stratified socially: the higher classes in society began the process, which then was passed on to the lower classes. Consequently, genealogists whose research has reached this period in Welsh history can sometimes find that their search grinds to a halt as family names disappear into the patronymic system of naming.”

    7. Relax and enjoy, make sure you intersperse research with exploration, to get a good idea of what wales has been like through the ages the Museum of Welsh Life at St Fagan’,s a short drive from River Tawe Holiday Apartment, has original buildings from all eras. They have been taken down at their original locations all over Wales and rebuilt at the Museum exactly as they were found, the museum is free and you can visit many times without seeing it all.

 

The Real Wizarding World Magical Experience

Love the Wizarding World of Harry Potter but don’t fancy the crowds?  For a more authentic fantasy adventure here are just a small selection of what South Wales has to offer.

Castel Coch

A gothic romantic castle rebuilt in the Victorian era by the richest man in the world heir to a fortune from Coal Mining.  According to the CADW Website:

The ‘eccentric genius’ William Burges was given free rein by his paymaster, John Patrick Crichton-Stuart, the 3rd marquess of Bute, to create a rural retreat to complement the opulence of his main residence, Cardiff Castle. He didn’t hold back. Dazzling ceilings, over-the-top furnishings and furniture were liberally applied.

The castle interior is dripping with Gold and faux gothic arches.  It feels like you are in a medieval fairytale.

 

Llyn y Fan Fach

Llyn y Fan is a lake in the Brecon Beacons or in fact two lakes.  Llyn y Fan Fawr and Llyn y Fan Fach lie on a mountain just north of Ystradgynlais, where River Tawe Holiday Apartment is situated.

It is  a short drive and a beautiful walk to visit these ancient and mysterious lakes which have been the subject of legends throughout the ages.

The Red book Of Hergest, an ancient manuscript written just after the year 1382 holds a tale that starts by the shores of Llyn y Fan Fach  about the Lady of The Lake and the same story is also recorded in the Mabinogion.

The story can be read here.

Carreg Cennen

Carreg Cennen Castle, Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales

This spectacular castle stands high on a craggy cliftop and the site is known to have been used since prehistoric times though the castle as it stands today is what remains of a castle built by King Edward the 1st during his vast castle building spree in Wales

“Edward I’s fearsome Iron ring of colossal fortresses represents Europe’s most ambitious and concentrated medieval building project, designed to prevent the recurrence of two massively expensive military campaigns. After Edward’s first successful campaign in 1277, he was able to pin down his adversary Llywelyn ap Gruffydd (“The Last”)”

There is also a cave you can visit on site as well a tea room and many amazing views.

The Earl of Cawdor owned the castle until the 1960’s when his legal team made an error and included ownership of the castle with the deeds of Castell farm and the Morris family became owners and it is still owned by their family today.

 

Llanthony priory

 

Dan yr Ogof

The showcaves are the beginning of a 17-mile-long cave system. The Ogof Ffynnon Ddu system runs beneath the Cribarth and Penwyllt areas.  It is situated at the gateway to the Brecon Beacons National Park.  You can visit the amazing Cathedral Cave where you can walk under an underground waterfall.  The River Llynfell is a 6km underground river which comes above ground near the entrance to the showcave. The Morgan brothers, who discovered Dan yr Ogof in 1912, entered here. They only had candlelight to guide them, and used a small boat called a coracle to cross the underground lakes.  Included in the entry price are the showcaves, numerous giant plastic dinosaurs, a model of an  iron age fort, reconstructed stone circles, horses and animals to visit, historical displays and a café and play barn. It needs a whole day to get around it all. It is open from the first of April until the 5th of November.  It also opens specially for events at Easter, Halloween and Christmas.

 

Whether you are interested in myths and legends, the poetry of Dylan Thomas, the ancient landscape or it’s industrial scars there is something in this land to interest everyone.

 

 

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