Monday, January 29, 2007

Penmon and Penmon Point

A few days ago, Pauline and I took advantage of a lovely sunny day to take a series of photographs along the north east coast of Anglesey. Whilst temperatures tend to be one or two degrees lower than Rochdale/Oldham area where we lived prior to settling here, there is a lot of sun during winter. The day in question was a perfect example. The gales had gone after blowing for a few weeks, the rain had stopped, and the sun was shining. It was a really lovely day and we truly loved the sunshine on us as we drove around looking for good shots.
Eventually we decided to drive along the Menai Strait from Menai Bridge to Beaumaris to try and get some good shots of the wonderful vistas we had seen there. This we failed to do because the tide was too low and there was mud where blue water should have been. Having reached Beaumaris we carried on to Penmon Point which is a spot we love. There I was able to get a nice photo of the little lighthouse just off the rocks. It has a warning bell that sounds every minute and a sign tells sailors not to pass between it and the land. Should the unwary attempt this passage they would find themselves impaled on rocks which lurk just below the surface at high tide.
Like all lighthouses it is an automated affair and access appears to be along a concrete path over the rocks. Personally, I would not try to get there by this path which is all green and slippery. I love this small lighthouse, because when I am travelling along the A55 between Bangor and Conwy I can see it across the sea. It marks that corner of the island where I live and seems to lead my eye across to Ynys Seiriol or Puffin Island as the English call it. This small island is a haven for many seabirds and a pair of binnoculars is needed to get an appreciation of how many birds live there. Just in front and to the right as you look from Penmon Point, is a red marker to tell vessels to sail between it and the island to be safe. We often come and get a good blow at Penmon Point on a breezy day. Sometimes you see the Bangor University fishing vessel steaming by as it searches for whatever the sea bed will offer.
Driving back from the Point you encounter the dovecote at Penmon Priory. Inside is evidence of many former inhabitants of the building. Just to the left is a wide gateway in an old wall and this is shown on the photo I have posted on this blog. Before driving on past the Priory itself, it is interesting to take a look along a path which is signposted to St Seiriol's Well. Walking along you see on your right a pond with a number of water hens swimming along. Turning right at the end of this section of path you come to the well itself. In normal, drier weather the well consists of just a small pool of water inside the building placed over it. When I took the photo the water was flooding out for a few square yards. But I don't think the well looks any the worse for this. Indeed, it appears to be basking in the afternoon sunshine!
Visitors who come to see all this in summertime will be charged a toll for using the road from Penmon Priory to Penmon Poit and also for parking outside the Priory. So, be warned!


Blogger ALAN said...

Hello Keith my girlfriend and I have visited Anglesey twice recently and like you I find the place bewitching. We are actually holidaying on the Lleyn penninsuler this year but the holiday would not be complete without a visit to Anglesey. I would be interested to know a little more of the history of Bull bay and some pics of the church Llanbadrig would be cool. Thanks.

8:59 am  
Blogger David McDermott said...

Peaceful Penmon Priory Anglesey Inspires a Deepening Faith.

Seriol monastery was founded in the 6th Century by St. Seriol in Penmon, Anglesey, North Wales. It is set in a remote and peaceful part of the Island with beautiful views. One of the oldest surviving buildings there is St. Seriol’s Holy well. The well is thought to have healing powers and has been visited down the centuries by pilgrims to take the “healing waters.”
The present church building of Penmon Priory dates from the 12th Century and is open to the public and still has an active congregation.
The well has crystal clear water from a spring emerging from a cliff behind the church; the water was originally used as the source of water for the monastery. It is likely that St. Seriol had his “cell” next to the Holy well in the 6th Century.
I first visited Penmon Priory in 2006 during a period of stress and uncertainty, now as I look back in 2012 that visit was to lead to peace, healing, inspiration and a deepening faith.
My uncle a bachelor lived with his spinster sister; in 2006 she was then 100 years old. He died in September 2006, leaving her determined not to go into a home.
After my uncle’s funeral I went with my sister and brother-in-law to Anglesey that we knew well. While I was there my mind was in turmoil over the issue of the care of my aunt.
During the visit we chanced upon Penmon Priory, discovering St. Seriol’s Holy well. I dipped my hand in the crystal clear, cool water and made the sign of the cross on my forehead. We sat for a while on stone seats in the small building that encloses the well. We then walked the short distance to the church.
When we entered the church we all remarked about the beauty and sense of peace within it. I felt it especially in the room where you could leave prayer requests and light candles.
As I sat near the back of the church absorbing the peace I was struck by the most beautiful stained glass window on my left. It depicts our Lord Jesus in the boat on the Sea of Galilee with his faithful but fearful disciples around him. Our Lord’s hand is raised and there are the words “Peace Be Still” beside him. St. Seriol, the founder of the 6th Century monastery at Penmon is also depicted beneath our Lord.
After the visit to the Priory I began to contemplate the words of our Lord, “Peace Be Still.”
During the rest of the visit my mind went from turmoil and waking in the night to a sense of peace. I thought about letting go of my own thoughts and fears, imagining the storm of my mind being calmed to a millpond of peace, just as our Lord had calmed the stormy Sea of Galilee.
When I returned home I felt guided to leave my own agenda and to go and care for my aunt. I was sometimes able to go for an afternoon walk in a large park nearby. During those walks I felt inspired to write a prayer, “Peace Be Still,” based on my experience of the visit to the Holy well and the Priory church at Penmon.
After my aunt’s death at the age of almost 102, I was inspired to write more prayers on the trials and tribulations of life, the Holy Spirit and others based on the Psalms into an eBook which I have titled, “Peace Be Still.” My period of anguish and turmoil has turned into peace, healing and deepening faith.
I hope that after reading this you will become another pilgrim and visit the church and take the “healing waters” of the Holy well. I pray that whatever trial and tribulation you may be experiencing you will find peace and healing through your visit.

David McDermott. March 2012.

12:49 pm  

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