HOLYHEAD (Caergybi, the fort of Cybi, the saint mentioned by Matthew Arnold as meeting St Seiriol of Penm6n, Anglesey), a seaport and market-town of Anglesey, N. Wales, situated on the small Holy Island, at the western end of the county. Pop. of urban district (1901) 10,079. Here the London and NorthWestern railway has a terminus, 2635 m. from London by rail. Holy Island is connected with Anglesey by an embankment, J m. long, over which pass the railway and main road, the tide flowing fast under the central piers. Once a small fishing village, the town has since William IV.'s reign acquired importance as the Dublin mail steam station. Its magnificent harbour of refuge was begun in 1847 and opened in September 1873. The east breakwater scheme, which would have covered the Platter's rocks still very troublesome and the Skinner's, was abandoned for buoys which mark the spots. The north breakwater is 7860 ft. long (instead of 5360, as originally planned). The roadstead (400 acres) and enclosed area (267 acres) together make a magnificent shelter for shipping. The rubble mound of the breakwater was very costly to the railway company, as time after time it was swept away by storms. On it is a central wall of some 38 ft. above low water, and on the wall a promenade sheltered by a parapet. The lighthouse is at the end of the breakwater, of which the whole cost was nearly 15 million sterling. Additional works, begun in 1873- by the company, to extend the old harbour and lengthen the quay by 4000 ft., were opened by King Edward VII. (as prince of Wales) in 1880. These cost another half million. George IV. passed through Holyhead in 1821 on his way to Ireland, and there is a commemorative tablet on the old harbour pier. The church is said to occupy the site of the old monastery (6th or early 7th century) of St Cybi, of whom there is a rude figure in the porch. The churchyard wall, 6 ft. thick, is possibly partly Roman. On the south of the harbour is an obelisk in memory of Captain Skinner, of the steam packets, washed overboard in 1833. Pen Caergybi rises perpendicularly from the sea to the height of 719 ft., at some 2 m. from the town; it is a mass of serpentine rocks, off which lie the North and South Stacks, each with a lighthouse with a revolving light, visible for 20 m., and 197 ft. above high water on the South Stack. On the hill are traces of British fortification, including a circular building, probably a Roman watch-tower. Coasting trade and fishing, with some shipbuilding and the Irish traffic, occupy most of the inhabitants. See Hon. W. Stanley's Holy Island and Holyhead.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)