Holyhead

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Coordinates: 53°18′32″N 4°37′59″W / 53.309°N 4.633°W / 53.309; -4.633

Holyhead
Welsh: Caergybi
The south facade of St Cybi's Church - geograph.org.uk - 742776.jpg
St Cybi's Church, Church in Wales.
Holyhead is located in Anglesey
Holyhead
Holyhead
 Holyhead shown within Anglesey
Population 11,237 (2001)
OS grid reference SH2482
Community Holyhead
Principal area Anglesey
Ceremonial county Gwynedd
Country Wales
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town HOLYHEAD
Postcode district LL65
Dialling code 01407
Police North Wales
Fire North Wales
Ambulance Welsh
EU Parliament Wales
UK Parliament Ynys Môn
Welsh Assembly Ynys Môn
List of places
UK
Wales
Anglesey

Holyhead (Listeni/ˈhɒlɪhɛd/ HOL-i-hed; Welsh: Caergybi [kɑːɨrˈɡəbi], "Cybi's fort") is the largest town in the county of Anglesey in Wales. It is also a community and a major Irish Sea port, serving Ireland.

Despite being the largest town in the county, with a population of 11,237 at the 2001 census, it is neither the county town nor actually on the island of Anglesey.[1] With other Holy Island settlements and nearby Valley, Anglesey, the population of the Holyhead area is 16,000.[citation needed] Holyhead is located on Holy Island. It was originally connected to Anglesey via Four Mile Bridge, so called because the bridge was four miles (6 km) from Holyhead on the old turnpike Road. In the mid 19th century, Lord Stanley, a local philanthropist, funded the building of a larger causeway,[citation needed] known locally as "The Cobb", it now carries the A5 and the railway line. The A55 dual carriageway runs parallel to the Cobb on a modern causeway.

Prehistoric and Roman history[edit]

The town centre is built around St. Cybi's Church, which is built inside one of Europe's few three-walled Roman forts (the fourth wall being the sea, which used to come up to the fort). The Romans also built a watchtower on the top of Holyhead Mountain inside Mynydd y Twr, a prehistoric hillfort. Settlements in the area date from prehistoric times, with circular huts, burial chambers and standing stones featuring in the highest concentration in Britain. The current lighthouse is on South Stack on the other side of Holyhead Mountain and is open to the public. The area is also popular with birdwatchers.

Transport[edit]

The Port of Holyhead has a busy ferry port. Stena Line, Northern Europe's biggest ferry company, operates from the port, as do Irish Ferries. Ferries sail to Dublin, with a limited once a day sailing to Dún Laoghaire in Ireland; this forms the principal link for surface transport from central and northern England and Wales to Ireland.

Clock Tower commemorating the extension of the Holyhead Docks between 1875 and 1880

There is archaeological evidence that people have been sailing between Holyhead and Ireland for 4,000 years[citation needed]. Holyhead's maritime importance was at its height in the 19th century with a 1.7 mile length or (3 km) sea breakwater. Holyhead Breakwater is the longest in the UK and was built to create a safe harbour for vessels caught in stormy waters on their way to Liverpool and the industrial ports of Lancashire. Holyhead's sea heritage is remembered in a maritime museum.

The post road built by Thomas Telford from London strengthened Holyhead's position as the port from which the Royal Mail was dispatched to and from Dublin on the Mail coach. The A5 terminates at Admiralty Arch (1822–24), which was designed by Thomas Harrison to commemorate a visit by King George IV in 1821 en route to Ireland and marks the zenith of Irish Mail coach operations.

In 2001, work was completed on the extension of the A55 North Wales Expressway from the Britannia Bridge to Holyhead, giving the town a dual carriageway connection to North Wales and the main British motorway network. The A55 forms part of Euroroute E22 and was funded in the main by money from the European Union. The Anglesey section was financed through a Private Finance Initiative scheme.

With the opening of the railway from London to Liverpool, Holyhead lost the London to Dublin Mail contract in 1839 to the Port of Liverpool. Only after the completion of the Chester and Holyhead Railway in 1850 and the building of Holyhead railway station did the Irish Mail return to Holyhead, operated from London Euston by the London and North Western Railway.

Holyhead is the terminus of the North Wales Coast Line and is currently served by Virgin Trains and Arriva Trains Wales services. Virgin Trains run direct trains to London Euston and Arriva Trains Wales operate direct trains to Chester.

Industry[edit]

Holyhead's main industry was aluminium-based until September 2009, with Rio Tinto Group's Anglesey Aluminium subsidiary operating a massive aluminium smelter on the outskirts of the town, including a plant that refined bauxite. A large jetty in the harbour received ships from Jamaica and Australia, and their cargoes of bauxite and aluminium ores were transported on a cable belt rope driven conveyor belt that runs underneath the town to the plant. The jetty is now used by Anglesey County Council to dock cruise ships visiting from all over the world. The jetty is wide enough for coaches to travel down to collect and deliver passengers to the town and on local tours. The plant relied on its electricity supply from the island's nuclear power station at Wylfa, near Cemaes Bay. However, Wylfa is reaching the end of its life and only has permission to generate into 2012,[2] and the ending of a low-cost electricity supply contract in 2009 impacted on the financial viability of the smelting plant. Continuing operations involve the remelting of aluminium scrap for re-use. The site is subject to proposals by a development company called Lateral Power.

Holyhead Port is a major employer, most of the jobs being linked to ferry services to the Republic of Ireland operated by Stena and Irish Ferries. Other significant industrial/transport sector employers in Holyhead include Holyhead Boatyard, Gwynedd Shipping, and Eaton Electrical, with the latter having seen many job losses in 2009. New retail developments in recent years have been a major source of new job creation.

Climate[edit]

As with the rest of the British Isles and Wales, Holyhead experiences a maritime climate with cool summers and mild winters, often high winds, exacerbated by its location by the Irish Sea. The nearest official weather observation station is at RAF Valley, about 5 miles South East of the town centre.

Climate data for Valley 10m asl, 1971-2000
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 8.0
(46.4)
8.0
(46.4)
9.4
(48.9)
11.6
(52.9)
14.7
(58.5)
16.8
(62.2)
18.8
(65.8)
18.9
(66)
16.9
(62.4)
14.0
(57.2)
10.8
(51.4)
8.9
(48)
13.1
(55.6)
Average low °C (°F) 3.5
(38.3)
3.1
(37.6)
4.3
(39.7)
5.3
(41.5)
7.8
(46)
10.3
(50.5)
12.5
(54.5)
12.6
(54.7)
11.1
(52)
8.8
(47.8)
6.0
(42.8)
4.4
(39.9)
7.5
(45.5)
Precipitation mm (inches) 81.6
(3.213)
60.3
(2.374)
66.9
(2.634)
51.5
(2.028)
45.4
(1.787)
50.9
(2.004)
48.6
(1.913)
67.5
(2.657)
72.9
(2.87)
90.1
(3.547)
100.6
(3.961)
91.6
(3.606)
827.9
(32.594)
Mean monthly sunshine hours 58.3 80.8 114.1 175.8 229.4 205.2 203.7 192.2 145.2 107.0 63.0 46.8 1,621.4
Source: MetOffice[3]

Notable people[edit]

Culture and sport[edit]

Holyhead hosted the National Eisteddfod in 1927. Holyhead is the start and finish point of the Anglesey Coastal Path.

Holyhead's arts centre, the Ucheldre Centre, is located in the chapel of an old convent belonging to the order of the Bon Sauveur. It holds regular arts exhibitions, performances, workshops and film screenings. The Holyhead Maritime Museum is housed in what is claimed to be Wales's oldest lifeboat house.

According to the United Kingdom Census 2001, 47% of the residents in the town can speak Welsh. The highest percentage of speakers is the 15 year old age group, where 66% can speak the language.

The town's main football team is called Holyhead Hotspur and they play in the Cymru Alliance [1], with their reserves playing in the Gwynedd League. There is also Holyhead Gwelfor Athletic who play in the Anglesey League.

Holyhead's cliffs are used for coasteering, a water sport which involves jumping off cliffs at different heights.

Holyhead is home to one of the first churches of the Jedi Religion, founded by brothers Daniel and Barney Jones early in 2008.[4]

Holyhead High School (previously County Secondary school) was the first comprehensive school in the UK.

Holyhead was officially twinned with Greystones, County Wicklow on the 20th January 2012, and this is celebrated on a new road sign.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Parish Headcounts: Isle of Anglesey". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 17 April 2013. 
  2. ^ "Wylfa to continue generating until 2012". Nuclear Engineering International. Retrieved 2011-12-13. 
  3. ^ "Valley 1971-00 averages". MetOffice. Retrieved 27 Oct 2011. 
  4. ^ "BBC News article on Jedi church in Holyhead". 2008-01-28. Retrieved 2008-10-19. 
  5. ^ Everett, Cliff (23 January 2012). "Twinning Oath Signed". holyheadtowncouncil.com. Holyhead Town Council. Retrieved 8 February 2012. 

External links[edit]