Wednesday, March 25, 2009

North Wales

I took half a day to drive up to North Wales to meet some acquaintances of a friend. Bridie Przibram and her husband Ian and son Kyle were kind enough to let me stay at their home on the outskirts of Wrexham and to take me castle hopping the next day.

Bridie is a professional theatrical costume designer and Ian supervises a group of answering service professionals. Kyle is eight and goes to school. He also takes fencing lessons so he and Bridie were off to class after we had a lovely dinner of homemade chicken curry. Ian and I chatted about fencing, books, being Goth parents and books.

This family reads a lot. Part of the new extension on their house includes floor to ceiling bookshelves. They have all kinds of books from a medieval who’s who to classic literature to cutting edge science fiction and horror. The nice thing is they encourage Kyle to have the imagination that only comes from reading books. After fencing, Ian sat down for an hour and read a really cool story with Kyle. It’s great to know that bedtime reading is still an important part of family life. I also got a short lesson in speaking Welsh. That “w” that looks like it’s in a weird place is a vowel. It has a sound like “oo” in “Boo”. At least now I can pronounce a lot of those place names on the map.

Next day we rose early, had a full English breakfast of bacon, eggs, toast, grilled mushrooms, and baked beans (Bridie had the beans. Ian disagreed as to whether breakfast had to include the beans to be considered “full”), then we were on our way to Caergwrle Castle. 


 Caergwrle is a beautiful castle at the top of a good sized hill.  From the crest you can see how the village eventually formed around the fortification. Like many castles in Wales it is a ruin, but you can still feel the history of the place. 

Built between 1277 and 1282, it was the stronghold of Dafydd a Graffydd who started an ill fated rebellion which led England’s Edward I to launch his successful military campaign in Wales. 

 We managed to get in a bit of sword fighting before descending the hill and moving on to Flint Castle.

Flint Castle is a much larger fortification situated on the Dee Estuary, a bit further north. It is part of Edward I’s Iron Ring of Fortresses built in the 13th century.


As the next day was Mothering Sunday, Bridie, Ian and Kyle were off to visit family and I was on my way home.

Thanks to this great family for giving me a taste of Northern Welsh hospitality. 

For more Pics of Caergwrle and Flint check out Part 2.


Next Time: Pembroke Castle


  1. I am just now getting into your trip to Wales but I have been checking all the other post as well. Wales is such a wonderful place. I have always wanted to travel but I doubt I will ever get to. I love reading about places though.
    Debby Creager

  2. I've always wanted to see castles and you gave a good tour! Wow! Fencing, learning Welsh, and castle hopping. What fun!
    What's Mothering SundaY??
    Marianne Oliva

  3. Hi Marianne,

    Mothering Day is like Mothers Day in the UK. On 3-22-09 I did a post on it on the HHRW blog, Seduced By History. Pop over and check it out. My contest on that site is still open as well.


  4. I juat caught this blog on your trip to Wales. I would love to go to Wales. It must have been so wonderful. I went and read everything on it.

  5. Grrr, for some reason, internet explorer would not let me respond to this. Everytime I even attempt to type in the box, it would go to another web page and say 'Couldn't find the page".

    Good thing I have firefox for such occasions.

    I so envy you for getting the chance to go to Wales. I've had this want for ten years now to go and visit Scotland and Ireland for its rich history (especially the Celtic history)

    Hehe, it's cool that you are learning how to pronounce some of the names. I just bet that it's different.

    Thank you for sharing these gorgeous pictures of the places with us. I always love seeing pictures of castles.

  6. This sounds like great fun. I would love to have friends in Great Britain to stay with. Heck I would just love to have enough money to go stay for 3 months.

  7. Wow looks like a nice trip.I love old castle.but what is cool is there wall to ceiling book shelves allways wanted to have wall to ceiling book shelves there is never room for all my books.

  8. I have always wanted to see old castles. I was saving up to go to Scotland but am now homebound after an accident. I loved to pics you posted. Can't wait to see more. Reading has always been a pasttime for me, now more so than ever.

  9. What a beautiful place! Oh, how I would love to visit Wales and see some of the castles. I'm not sure I'll ever get the chance to do that. I'll have to experience it in the stories I read and posts like yours.

    I enjoyed the excerpt on your story!

    Kammie (kammie2u @

  10. Your Pictures are fabulous. I would love to take a trip such as this. The scenery alone is to die for.

  11. Don't you just love the castles? They are really like a romance novel come to life. Makes you believe that fairy tales can come true!

    A professional theatrical costume designer? That sounds like such a cool job. I wish I could design clothing. Just think how awesome it would be to be able to create costumes like that.