Holyhead in Wales

Tuesday, 22 February 2022 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General
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Boats in Holyhead Harbour © geograph.org.uk - Mat Fascione/cc-by-sa-2.0

Boats in Holyhead Harbour © geograph.org.uk – Mat Fascione/cc-by-sa-2.0

Holyhead is a town in Wales and a major Irish Sea port serving Ireland. It is also a community and the largest town in the Isle of Anglesey county, with a population of 13,659 at the 2011 census. Holyhead is on Holy Island, which is separated from Anglesey by the narrow Cymyran Strait and was originally connected to Anglesey via the Four Mile Bridge. In the mid-19th century, Lord Stanley, a local philanthropist, funded the building of a larger causeway, 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.

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 boundary 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. Soldiers Point Hotel, located near the breakwater park in Holyhead was first established in 1848. It was the residence of an engineer that was in charge of the government sponsored alterations to Holyhead Harbour being carried out. It has been considered somewhat of a tourist attraction, except it has been blocked off for safety reasons and people seem to view it as an ‘Urban Exploration’ building (Caer Gybi (fort)).

Boats in Holyhead Harbour © geograph.org.uk - Paul Buckingham/cc-by-sa-2.0 Holyhead Breakwater and lighthouse © geograph.org.uk - Mat Fascione/cc-by-sa-2.0 Holyhead Marina © geograph.org.uk - Mat Fascione/cc-by-sa-2.0 Holyhead Marina © geograph.org.uk - Mat Fascione/cc-by-sa-2.0 Holyhead Maritime Museum © geograph.org.uk - Chris Andrews/cc-by-sa-2.0 Holyhead Market Hall © Sirhissofloxley/cc-by-sa-4.0 George Hotel © Talsarnau Times/cc-by-sa-3.0 Stanley Arms © Talsarnau Times/cc-by-sa-3.0 Stanley Street © geograph.org.uk - Phil Williams/cc-by-sa-2.0 Holyhead-The_top_end_of_Seabourne_Road-geograph_org_uk-Eric_Jones-cc-by-sa-2.0 Apartments at Holyhead Marina © geograph.org.uk - Mat Fascione/cc-by-sa-2.0 Boats in Holyhead Harbour © geograph.org.uk - Mat Fascione/cc-by-sa-2.0
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Holyhead Breakwater and lighthouse © geograph.org.uk - Mat Fascione/cc-by-sa-2.0
The Port of Holyhead is a busy ferry port. Stena Line, Northern Europe’s biggest ferry company, operates from the port, as do Irish Ferries. Ferries sail to Dublin, in Ireland and as of 2021 on weekends, ferries sail to Belfast in Northern Ireland; this forms the principal link for surface transport from central and northern England and Wales to Ireland. Holyhead’s maritime importance was at its height in the 19th century with a 1 3/4-mile-long (2.8-kilometre) 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. Holy Island and Anglesey are separated by the Cymyran Strait which used to be crossed on the Four Mile Bridge; so called, because the bridge was 4 miles (6 kilometres) from Holyhead on the old turnpike. The Stanley Embankment, or “The Cob”, is an embankment that connects Anglesey and Holy Island. It carries the North Wales Coast Line railway and the A5 road. The embankment was designed and built by Thomas Telford. When the A5 was being constructed between London and the Port of Holyhead, a more direct route was needed. Construction started in 1822 and completed a year later. It gets its formal name after John Stanley, 1st Baron Stanley of Alderley, a significant local benefactor. 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. 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 Avanti West Coast and Transport for Wales services. Avanti West Coast runs direct trains to London Euston and Transport for Wales operate direct trains towards Cardiff and Birmingham International via Wrexham and Shrewsbury, and two direct trains per day to Manchester Piccadilly. The rail and ferry terminals are connected (for pedestrians and cyclists) to the town centre by The Celtic Gateway bridge.

Until September 2009, Holyhead’s main industry was the massive aluminium smelter on the outskirts of the town, operated by Anglesey Aluminium, a subsidiary of Rio Tinto Group. A large jetty in the harbour received ships from Jamaica and Australia, and their cargoes of alumina were transported on a rope-driven conveyor belt running underneath the town to the plant. The jetty is now used by Orthios 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 for its electricity supply on the island’s nuclear power station at Wylfa, near Cemaes Bay. However, Wylfa was reaching the end of its life and had permission to generate only until 2012, 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 Orthios. 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 last of these having seen many job losses in 2009. New retail developments in recent years have been a major source of new job creation. Until the end of 2020 the port, which employs 250 (in 2021), was the second busiest roll-on roll-off port in the UK after Dover with around 450,000 lorries taking ferries to Dublin. Following the Brexit withdrawal agreement, freight traffic from Ireland fell by 50% in January 2021. In January 2020, BMW Motorrad planned to built manufacturing facility in Holyhead.

Read more on Holyhead, Holyhead.com, Wikivoyage Holyhead and Wikipedia Holyhead (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.






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