Irish-Welsh history

button-theme-irish-welsh-HUBIreland and Wales, on opposite sides of the Irish Sea, have influenced each other’s history since prehistoric times. Use the lists below to discover aspects of this long relationship. You can also access the stories by using your smartphone to scan our QR codes at each location.

Ancient history
Holyhead - the defeat of giant Singi inspired the Welsh to rout other Irish people who’d settled after the Romans left
Gwynedd - the county name is thought to have the same root as the Irish tribe Féni
Llŷn Peninsula - Llithfaen and Nefyn place-names may have Irish origins
Llŷn Peninsula - the name of the Lageni tribe lives on in the place-names Leinster, Llŷn and Porthdinllaen
Llŷn Peninsula - Tre’r Ceiri gold brooch is similar to objects found in Ireland dating from the early Roman period
Harlech - Irish king Matholwch comes ashore below the rock at the start of the tragic legend of Branwen
Conwy - having floated from Ireland on a square of turf, St Ffraed miraculously ended a fish famine
Dolwyddelan - the village is named after an Irish missionary who arrived in Britain c.600
Llansannan - the village is named after St Sannan, an Irish monk in the 6th century
Llanon - St Ffraed was said to have crossed from Ireland on a piece of turf
St Davids - Porthlysgi and Caer Boia place-names have Irish connections
Bosherston - chapel at foot of cliff dedicated to St Govan, thought to hail from Wexford
Whitland - the abbey established daughter abbeys in Counties Down and Cork in the 13th century
Pendine - Eglwys Gymyn contains a stone inscribed with Ogham script from Ireland
Penally - inside the church is a stone carved pre-1066 with what appears to be an Irish name
Neath - according to local tradition, Banwen is where Ireland’s patron saint, Patrick, was born

Crime or punishment
Harlech - three Irish pickpockets spent a day at the Queen’s Hotel in 1887, going out to the station to meet each train
Rhyl - baptism place of Roger Casement, diplomat hanged in 1916 after seeking end of British rule in Ireland
Ruthin - shipwrecked Irish Franciscan executed in 1679 for being a Roman Catholic
Wrexham - comic and dancer Harry Stennett expelled from his own theatre show for drunkenness in 1901
Crickhowell - Kerry-born fraudster Irvine Blennerhassett was caught in Canada in 1913 and convicted in Brecon
Laugharne - Sir John’s Hill named after Lord Deputy of Ireland who got into trouble for not being cruel to Catholics
Newport - Kilkenny-born John Byrne won the VC in the Crimean War and killed himself while being arrested in 1879

People and communities
Holyhead - renowned Irish tenor Michael Kelly, a friend of Mozart, recuperated at the Eagle & Child Inn in 1818
Porthmadog - Sir Thomas Chapman, father of Lawrence of Arabia, eloped from Ireland with a governess
Conwy - Annie Connolly, a Connemara landowner’s illegitimate daughter, fled from maltreatment in the ‘big house’
Llandudno - solicitor from Co Monaghan captained Irish rugby team and won Olympic silver medal for tennis
Llandudno - grave of priest from Columbkille who developed a Roman Catholic district in North-west Wales
Llandudno - Dundalk-born Stephen Dunphy’s food business grew from his mum’s baking after family fled the famine
Llangollen - Lady Eleanor Butler of Kilkenny Castle and the woman she eloped with were visited by celebrities
Rossett - grave of nurse from Co Laois who died in 1919 after being poisoned in France in the Great War
Hawarden - WE Gladstone’s large monument was intended for Phoenix Park, Dublin
Milford Haven - postmaster RJ Portch died in a train in 1915 after dashing to get to work in Waterford
Crickhowell - members of the Solly-Flood family, rooted in Kilkenny, held senior posts in the British army
Fishguard - Irishman James Harrington was permanently branded with a ‘D’ for deserting from the army
Neath - Italian café owner had a Catholic burial in Donegal after a U-boat sank the ship he was being deported on
Cardiff - many Irish people settled in ‘Little Ireland’, north of Tyndall Street, in Victorian times
Abergavenny - Ireland-born Ellen Fielder, Wales’ first “lady guardian”, improved workhouse care standards

Protest and conflict
Holyhead - Welsh mob attacked Irish people in protest over the use of Irish labourers on breakwater construction
Bala - hotelier bought defunct whisky distillery before the site housed c.1,800 Irish prisoners after the Easter Rising
Conwy - grave of geologist who described discovery of gold near Arklow and helped quell Irish Rebellion
Penmaenmawr - Lady Cavendish grieved at Penholm after Irish nationalists murdered her husband in Dublin
St Asaph - police intervened in 1850 to stop an anti-popery mob reaching ‘Irish Square’
Welshpool - Private Oscar Bentley was killed in Dublin on the first day of the 1916 Easter Rising
Ferryside - violence between GB and Irish railway builders in 1851 included stabbings and arson
Tonyrefail - the village lost two men in less than a month in 1973 while they served in Northern Ireland with the Royal Artillery
Caerphilly - two local men were killed in Northern Ireland in the early 1970s while in the British army
Abergavenny - Katharine Gatty of the Irish Women’s Franchise League was jailed in 1912 for smashing a post office window

Transport, trade and communications
Holyhead - George IV Arch marks one end of Telford’s coach road for London-Dublin mail and passengers
Nefyn - cable station handled Co Wicklow telegraphs from 1886 and later telephone traffic via Howth
Conwy - grave of Tipperary-born sailor who became the LNWR’s commodore captain
Abergele - last baronet of Flintfield, Co Cork, is buried in train-crash mass grave, with his wife and her maid
Talacre - Point of Ayr colliery supplied Ireland. One of its ships sank in 1917 while returning from Dublin
Neyland - houses were cleared for Brunel’s new port, where trains connected to Irish Sea steamers
Fishguard - ferries to Rosslare started in 1906 after huge volumes of rock were blasted to enlarge the harbour
Briton Ferry - slabs of ‘Shamrock Stone’ were distributed from a depot near the dock
Vale of Glamorgan - plane carrying rugby fans home from Dublin crashed at Llandow in 1950, killing 80
Cardiff - footways around Plasturton Gardens are paved with Co Clare limestone