21 Apr 2013

The Pagan Sites of Europe Remembered (22): Bardsey Island, Wales

Bardsey is a small island measuring about one mile long and a little over half a mile wide. It lies nearly two miles off the Western tip of the Llyn Peninsula, the main peninsula in Northern Wales stretching Westwards into the Irish Sea. The highest point on the island is 548 feet above sea level.

From the sixth to sixteenth centuries the island was occupied by a monastery. This, along with its position: an island at the end of a Westward pointing headland, suggests that it was almost definitely an important pagan religious site. The early Christians always made a point of founding their religious establishments on previous pagan sites. Islands in the western sea were associated with deities, regeneration, timelessness, and everlasting life.

A fifteenth-century text recalls a tradition of Merlin, who was supposed to have been buried on the island, after he had hidden "the thirteen treasures" of the Island of Britain there. Among these treasures are talismans of rebirth and plenty.

A Pagan Place
21st April, 2013

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