My hometown, Caerphilly, is located in the valleys of South Wales. It’s famous for its castle and it’s cheese!
The castle is the largest in South Wales and 2nd largest in Britain. It was built in the 13th century by Gilbert de Clare (aka Gilbert the Red, due to his red hair), as part of his campaign to conquer Glamorgan. It was built on a central island surrounded by artificial lakes (which us locals call the moat). However, a local prince, Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, tried to thwart the construction of the castle but failed!! This led to Gilbert building a formidable fortress of defence but with large ornate, comfortable rooms to live in.
In the late 1900’s, the condition of the castle worsened until the Marquis of Bute began preservation work. With the castle restored it is now in the hands of Cadw, a Welsh Governments historic environment service. As you can see from the pic above it is also famous for its leaning tower! The castle is open to the public and has lots of events taking place each year. The first being the famous Big Cheese Festival, which is held in the castle grounds every year in July. You can join in the fun and games which include, a big fairground, live local bands, re-enactment battles plus craft stalls and food and drink stalls where you can try homemade local produce. Its a fab fun day out!!
We also have a spectacular firework display on the first Saturday in November.With the castle as a dark backdrop to the fireworks, it really is a stunning display! And yes I’m there every year without fail!!
With Halloween coming up I have to tell you about the ghost of the castle, The Green Lady!
Here’s the story!
Gilbert was married to the beautiful Princess Alice of Angouleme of France. A passionate lady of refined taste, she began to hate Gilbert’s warring disposition and fell in love with Gruffudd the Fair, Prince of Brithdir, a handsome amorous Welsh Prince. Gruffudd foolishly confessed their secret love affair to a monk, who then informed Gilbert! A deranged Gilbert sent his wife back to France and ordered his men to find Gruffudd. Learning of the friars betrayal, Gruffudd caught the monk and hanged him from a tree but after being caught by Gilbert’s men, Gruffudd was also hung from a noose. Gilbert then sent a message to France to inform Alice of her lovers execution. The shock was so unbearable that she dropped dead on the spot! Her ghost has haunted the ramparts of the castle ever since, dressed in a richly woven dress of green, she waits in the castle to be reunited with her lover! Hence the castle is often lit up with green lights at night.
Also this year, we have had the pleasure of this gorgeous beast!
He appeared on St Davids Day on the grounds of the castle. He is 4 metres long, has reptile like black and red scales, smoke flaring nostrils and an outreached claw! Come pay him a visit!!
Caerphilly is also famous for its cheese. It has a soft crumbly texture with a creamy mild taste. Try it on our local speciality Welsh Rarebit! ( That’s cheese on toast to you guys lol).
We also have a statue of the Welsh legend Tommy Cooper. A very famous crazy Welsh comedian, who was well known for wearing a fez! Its a bronze sculpture which stands at 2.7m (9 feet) tall which was created by sculptor James Done. It was unveiled in 2008 by Sir Anthony Hopkins and I’m proud to say I saw and met him on that day! Fan girl moment!!!
If you ever decide to visit Caerphilly, I highly recommend Glanmors Tea and Coffee shop. You can chill with your drink overlooking the castle and they make the best coffee in Caerphilly plus their cakes and pastries are to die for!!!
I hope you enjoyed this little insight and bit of history about my home town, and if you ever visit, gimme a shout!
Maybe you could let me know where you live or if you have ever been to Caerphilly?
Let me know in the comments box below.