infobox UK place
country = Wales
official_name= Holyhead
latitude= 53.310
longitude= -4.633
unitary_wales= Anglesey
lieutenancy_wales= Gwynedd
constituency_westminster= Ynys Môn
post_town= HOLYHEAD
postcode_district = LL65
postcode_area= LL
dial_code= 01407
os_grid_reference= SH245825
population= 25896 (includes T'Bay, Valley, Rhoscolyn and Caergeiliog)
Holyhead (Audio|En-uk-Holyhead.ogg|pronunciation; IPA|/ˈhɒlihɛd/; Welsh: "Caergybi", "the fort of Saint Cybi") is the largest town in the county of Anglesey in the north west of Wales.

Although it is the largest town in the county, with a population of 11,237 (2001 census), it is neither the county town nor actually on the island of Anglesey. Instead, it is located on Holy Island which is connected to Anglesey by Four Mile Bridge, so called because it is four miles (6 km) from Holyhead on the old post road from London, and a causeway (known locally as "the cob") built by local philanthropist Lord Stanley in the 19th century. The causeway now carries the A5/A55 road and the railway line to Chester, Crewe and London.

Prehistoric and Roman history

The town centre is built around St. Cybi's Church, which is built inside one of Europe's only three-walled Roman forts (the fourth wall 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. The area is also popular with birdwatchers.


Holyhead has a busy ferry port handling more than 2 million passengers each year. Fact|date=March 2008 Stena Line, Europe's biggest ferry company, operates from the port as do Irish Ferries. Ferries sail to Dublin and Dún Laoghaire in Ireland and this forms the principal link for surface transport from central and northern England and Wales to Ireland. There is archaeological evidence that people have been sailing between Holyhead and Ireland for 4,000 years. Holyhead's maritime importance was at its height in the 19th century when the two and a half mile (4 km) breakwater, widely acknowledged to be one of Britain's finest, was built, creating 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 (1821), which was designed by Thomas Harrison to commemorate a visit by King George IV en route to Ireland and marks the zenith of Irish Mail coach operations. 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 and was funded in the main by money from the European Union. 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. Holyhead is currently the terminus of the North Wales Coast Line and is served by Virgin Trains and Arriva Trains Wales services.


Today, Holyhead's main industry is aluminium-based, with Rio Tinto Group's Anglesey Aluminium subsidiary operating a massive aluminium smelter on the outskirts of the town. There is also a plant that refines bauxite near the site. A large jetty in the harbour receives ships from Jamaica and Australia, and their cargoes of bauxite and aluminium ores are transported on a cable belt rope driven conveyor belt that runs underneath the town to the plant.

The plant relies on its elecricity supply from the island's nuclear power station at Wylfa, near Cemaes Bay. As this power station is due to close in 2010, there is speculation that the financial viability of the plant is at risk.

Famous people

*David Crystal, linguist and chair of the charity behind Holyhead's arts centre, the Ucheldre Centre, lives in Holyhead.
*Francis Dodd, artist, was born in the town in 1874.
*Dawn French, comedienne, was born in the town in 1957.
*Glenys Kinnock, politician, was born in the town in 1944.
*Gary Pritchard, journalist, is a former pupil of Ysgol Gymraeg Morswyn school in Holyhead.
*Tony Roberts, Welsh international football player, was born in the town in 1969.
*Raymond Sweetman, bass guitarist, was born in the town in 1948.
*R.S. Thomas, poet, grew up in Holyhead.
*Ray Williams, weightlifting Commonwealth gold medallist was born in the town in 1959.

Culture and sport

Holyhead hosted the National Eisteddfod in 1927. Holyhead is the start and finish point of the Anglesey Coastal Path.

Holyhead's arts centre, the Ucheldre Centre, is located in the chapel of an old convent belonging to the order of the Bon Sauveur. It holds regular arts exhibitions, performances, workshops and film screenings.

According to the United Kingdom Census 2001, 47% of the residents in the town can speak Welsh. The highest percentage of speakers is the 15 year old age group, where 66% can speak the language.

The town's main football team is called Holyhead Hotspur and they play in the Cymru Alliance [http://www.cymru-alliance.co.uk/] , with their reserves playing in the Gwynedd League. There is also Holyhead Gwelfor Athletic who play in the Anglesey League.

A Quidditch team in the Harry Potter series is called the Holyhead Harpies. It is an all woman team.

Holyhead is also home to one of the first churches of the Jedi Religion. Daniel and Barney Jones founded the first British Jedi church in Holyhead. It has 30 congregation members.

External links

* [http://www.holyheadtowncouncil.com Holyhead Town Council official site]
* [http://www.caergybi.com/encyclopaedia.php Encyclopedia HolyheadYeah from Caergybi.com, an often humorous collection of local knowledge]
* [http://www.sealink-holyhead.com/ Sealink-Holyhead.com, a guide to the history of the sea route between Holyhead and Ireland]
* [http://www.holyhead.org/ Holyhead page of the Wales2000 Network]
* [http://www.valleycommunitycouncil.com/ Valley Council official site]
* [http://www.gtj.org.uk/en/blowup1/344 Aerial photograph of Holyhead in 1999]
* [http://www.holyheadfood.com A guide to eating out in Holyhead]
* [http://www.geograph.org.uk/search.php?i=3589603 photos of Holyhead and surrounding area on geograph]
* [http://www.ysgolkingsland.com Ysgol Kingsland Primary School]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Holyhead — Caergybi Localidad de Gales …   Wikipedia Español

  • Holyhead — (spr. Hohlihedd), 1) (Holy Island), Insel im St. Georg s Kanal an der Westküste der Insel Anglesea (englisches Fürstenthum Wales) u. zu dieser gehörig; der nordwestliche Theil ist sehr hoch, von dem dort gelegenen gleichnamigen Vorgebirge führt… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Holyhead — (spr hólli hebh), Stadt auf der gleichnamigen Insel an der Westseite von Anglesey (s. d.), von dem sie durch einen seichten Meeresarm getrennt wird, ist Haupthafen für die Überfahrt nach Kingstown und Dublin und hat (1901) 10,079 Einw. H. ist… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Holyhead — (spr. hollĭhedd), Hafen der brit. Insel H. im W. der Insel Anglesey, (1901) 10.072 E …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Holyhead —   [ hɔlɪhed], walisisch Caergybi [kɑːyr gəbi], Hafenstadt in der County Gwynedd, Nordwestwales, auf Holy Island vor der Insel Anglesey, 10 500 Einwohner; neben Liverpool der wichtigste Fährhafen für den Verkehr zwischen Großbritannien und Irl …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Holyhead — 53.3088 4.6328 Koordinaten: 53° 19′ N, 4° 38′ W …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Holyhead — 53° 18′ 32″ N 4° 37′ 58″ W / 53.3088, 4.6328 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Holyhead — /hol ee hed /, n. a seaport on Holy Island in NW Wales. 10,940. * * * ▪ Wales, United Kingdom Welsh  Caergybi        port and resort on Holy Island (Ynys Gybi), Isle of Anglesey (Anglesey, Isle of) county, historic county of Anglesey (Sir Fon),… …   Universalium

  • Holyhead — Original name in latin Holyhead Name in other language Caergybi, Goliged, HLY, Holihedas, Holyhead, Kholikhed, Khoulikhed, hollihedeu, horiheddo, Голігед, Холихед, Хоулихед State code GB Continent/City Europe/London longitude 53.30621 latitude… …   Cities with a population over 1000 database

  • Holyhead — /hol ee hed /, n. a seaport on Holy Island in NW Wales. 10,940. * * * Holyhead [Holyhead] [ˈhɒlihed] [ˈhɑːlihed] a town and port in west Wales, near Anglesey …   Useful english dictionary

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