Tuesday, August 12, 2008
After our very long day we finally arrived in our destination for the night, Llangollen. This sleepy little town in the Welsh countryside offered one remarkably interesting attraction, the ruined castle of Dinas Bran. The steep hill above Llangollen has been fortified since the Iron Age, but the current ruins date to the Welsh Kingdoms that existed shortly before Edward I's conquest of Wales in the 1200's.
Immediately after dinner we struck out for the summit, despite the late hour and light rain. Luckily, shortly after we left town we met a local family out for a walk, and the mother offered up her sons, and dog, to escort us up the path. We were most lucky to have their assistance, as the path was not always clear, and we would surely have gotten lost.
The views from the summit, through mist and rain, were wonderful. While the light wasn't quite enough for really good photography, it was enough for us to revel in the vistas surrounding the hill.
I've seen a fair number of castle's in my time, and I have to admit that Dinas Bran is one of the worst preserved ruins I've happened across! The centuries have whittled away at the stout stone walls, and not much now remains of the fortification. In some ways though, that fact makes the castle an even more compelling place, with sinuous half-walls and gaping holes that are much more romantic than a fully restored castle would be.
As we were jogging home through the oncoming gloom and still misting rain, our Tour Director, who was waiting back at the hotel, was getting worried. She had a cell number for one of the group, and called him for a status report:
Irish Tour Director: "Josh, you must come down from the mountain! Its getting dark and the mist is coming!"
American, very sleepy and confused: "What...?!?!"
Some poor soul in Indiana with a very strange sleep schedule and a cell phone number very close to our Josh's got the strangest phone call of his life!
This is a view of the ruins peeking through the fog the next morning.
We were up early, and departed quickly for we had another long day ahead of us, traveling from Llangollen all the way to Dublin!