Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Ireland-UK Trip: Wales Day 2 - Three Castles

Martha and I spent Father's Day touring three of the top five castles built by King Edward the First as part of a "Ring of Iron" to surround Welsh princes and their territories and control Wales after conquering it.

First one up was Conwy Castle, it was dry when we arrived but would start sprinkling rain by the end of the touring.

On the overpass ramp built over the rail lines that lead past the castle

Conwy Castle

Yours truly next to an artwork of a bored castle guard

Martha found the 12 "loos" built into one of the castle walls
The were put there by the King to provide his workmen the facilities.

Then, we drove over to Caernarfon Castle (we liked this one the best of the three visited today).  It's where the current Prince of Wales was crowned back in 1969, and pretty much was the "capital" castle back in King Edwards' day.  As you can see, the rain was a bit more intense here but still not too bad.

 Good use of multimedia and displays at Caernarfon Castle

 Yep, more towers to climb up...

 Royal Welch Fusiliers Museum Entrance
(Very nicely done, this museum)
Note: Welch is the old way of naming the natives of Wales, it's now Welsh

 A chess set used to depict the history of the era of King Edwards

 Model of Caernarfon Castle, Conwy was very similar to this
castle by the way.

 A view from one of the towers on the end

 Cool stained glass window I stumbled upon
while wandering about the castle

Next we spent a good hour driving on narrow Welsh roads (so happy we swapped out the car yesterday....) and we made it to our last castle, Harlech Castle.  It was pretty much raining pretty well when we got there and we had the place basically to ourselves.  Harlech castle is pretty much just ruins by the way, and I only went up one tower.

I chose Harlech to see the castle which is home to the regiment that inspired the song "Men of Harlech".

 View from inside the main area of the castle
The interior of the castle was basically open to the elements.

 It was windy and cold up on the tower....didn't stay up there long

Model of Harlech Castle, it had a great position on the hill, eh?

Parting view of Harlech Castle as we departed for Aberytwysth where we'd spend the night.

More narrow roads in pouring rain, slowed our progress of course but still stayed at the speed limit for the most part thanks to the small size of our rental car.  Lots of big puddles on the side of the road causing minor hydro-planing for us but no big deal otherwise.

We found a nice hotel, Harry's Bar and Bistro and got a really nice room for less money than we paid for the mediocre room at the Holiday Inn last night.

All in all, a win of a day!


SonjaM said...

Dom, these are spectacular pictures. I have yet to visit Wales, and these castles would be very high on my list of places to see. Will you be touring Snowdonia NP? I have heard it to be perfect motorcycle territory.

Trobairitz said...

For as old as the castles are, the still look in pretty good shape.

I don't think the architecture of today has any of the charm of the old castles.

redlegsrides said...

Thanks SonjaM, not sure re Snowdonia as it's up in the northern part of Wales and I am renting a motorcycle from Briston HD.

Trobairitz, apparently, the cost to build Caernarfon was a mere 15,000 pounds back then, apparently equivalent to 45 million pounds in today's money. So probably no new castles popping up anytime soon. The country of Wales has apparently 600+ castles strewn about the countryside, most in ruins probably.