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WalesGotoarrow.pngCounty of GwyneddGotoarrow.png Bardsey Island

Bardsey Island (Welsh: Ynys Enlli), the legendary "Island of 20,000 saints", lies 1.9 miles (3.1 km) off the Llŷn Peninsula in the County of Gwynedd[1].

The Welsh name means "The Island in the Currents", although its English name refers to the "Island of the Bards"[2], or possibly the island of the Viking chieftain, "Barda".

It is 0.6 miles (1.0 km) wide and 1.0 mile (1.6 km) long. The north east rises steeply from the sea to a height of 548 feet (167 m) at Mynydd Enlli[3], while the western plain is low and relatively flat cultivated farmland; to the south the island narrows to an isthmus, connecting to a peninsula[4].

Since 1974 it has been included in the community of Aberdaron[5]. It is about 440 acres (180 ha) in extent (about 2 square km). It is the fourth largest offshore island in Wales.



The island has been an important religious site since Saint Cadfan built a monastery in 516[6]. In medieval times it was a major centre of pilgrimage and, by 1212, belonged to the Augustinian Canons Regular[7]. The monastery was dissolved and its buildings demolished by Henry VIII in 1537, but the island remains an attraction for pilgrims to this day [8].

Maps and Gazetteers

Web Sites


  1. Encyclopaedia Britannica: Bardsey Island
  2. Samuel Lewis, A Topographical Dictionary of Wales, 1849, S Lewis and Co, London, 474 pages
  3. Cycling North Wales: Cycle Ride from Aberdaron
  4. Gwynedd Archaeological Trust: Bardsey
  5. Ordnance Survey: Election Maps: Gwynedd
  6. British Broadcasting Corporation: Island of 20,000 Saints
  7. University College London Institute of Archaeology: Bardsey Island
  8. Bardsey Island Trust: The Island: History


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  • This page was last modified on 4 February 2015, at 18:33.
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