Aberdaron sits on the edge of Wales on the Llyn Peninsula in the county of Gwynedd, North West Wales. If the Llyn peninsula is described as the finger of land pointing from Wales to Ireland then Aberdaron is located on the finger nail. Reached after several hours of motoring, the last hour or so on narrow country lanes, it is needless to say quite an isolated village. But what splendid isolation !
The white washed houses of the village first appear as you descend the steep hill to Aberdaron, with blue sea and rugged cliffs forming a delightful backdrop.
The old stone cottages are clean as a whistle, indeed you would be forgiven for believing the village was a freshly painted set for a Hollywood movie. A stream meanders through the heart of the village and an old stone hump backed bridge forms the medieval version of a traffic moderator.
The ubiquitous Pay and Display Car Park, a necessary evil these days, sits on what might have been the village green. But all your holiday needs are at hand and within a few hundred yards. Glorious sandy beach, clean sea, hotel, pubs, gift shop, grocery store, cottages, and cafes, all sit tidily in God's own acre. Moreover, should you indulge yourself to extreme there is plenty of space in St Hywyn's graveyard with views towards the isles of Ynys Gwylan Fawr, Ynys Gwylan Bach and further afield to the "Gate of Paradise", the holy Isle of Bardsey. (A place of pilgrimage for a thousand years and described as being half way between this world and the next.) However, Aberdaron is not only renowned for its beauty. It is also known for being the home of the parson of St Hywyn's church, the often-miserable Welsh poet R.S.Thomas.
The church of St Hywyn sits at the edge of the sea, sheltered by the gravestone covered hillside. In the fifth century, when it was founded, it would have been a simple wooden structure but the oldest portion of the present church dates from the twelfth century. RS Thomas, who died in 2000, was vicar of Aberdaron from 1967 to 1978 and he enjoyed a reputation for being outspoken both in and out of the pulpit. (Not to pussyfoot about the issue ...RS Thomas is said by some to have hated the English.) I believe it would be fair to say that RS was an eccentric by today's standards (he is said to have conducted sermons on the evils of washing machines and other modern devices). Many visit Aberdaron each year to see for themselves the landscape and peoples who influenced his writing so deeply, indeed there is an exhibition in the Church that commemorates his time as Vicar. However, if you wish to pay your respects to the man you will have to visit Porthmadog to find his grave.
Walks, Cycle Trails and Other Activities
Whether your interest is history, religion, walking the rugged coastline of the Llyn peninsula, or simply lazing on the beach on a seaside family holiday Aberdaron is the perfect location.
There are delightful walks to east or west. My favourite is to head west, walking in the footsteps of the pilgrims who have visited Aberdaron since medieval times. The walk passes the harbour from where the pilgrims would embark to the Holy Isle of Bardsey, and continues around the headland in a circular route. En-route there are fantastic views of Bardsey Island and the treacherous waters of Bardsey Sound.
Cyclists are well catered for with winding country lanes criss-crossing the peninsula. In the spring and early summer the wild flowers in the hedgerows are a delight to behold.