My daughters love Dublin. So after exploring northern Wales for a few days, we decided we’d take the ferry to Ireland for the day and headed for Holyhead. Well, we never made it to Dublin. The beautiful Isle of Anglesey – or Ynys Môn in Welsh – was so interesting itself, we never got on the ferry.
After crossing the Menai Strait on Pont Britannia (yet another construction by that inimitable engineer Thomas Telford), we first stumble upon
Llanfair what, you ask? Why, Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, of course. Now, try saying that 3 times fast. Or just once, even. This is how the Welsh say it. Is this the longest place name in the world?
St Mary’s Church in the Hollow of the White Hazel near a Rapid Whirlpool and the Church of St Tysilio of the Red Cave.
Originally named Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll (stop after “Whirlpool”), the even longer name was constructed in the 1860s to give the local train station the longest name in Britain, as a PR-scheme to attract more visitors. As if Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll wasn’t enough of a tongue twister.
Today, the village is commonly referred to as Llanfair PG and there isn’t much to see, apart from a James Pringle Weavers shop and, of course, the old Victorian railway station. But somehow, 150-year-old publicity stunts are more interesting than present ones, don’t you think?
In the 21st century, Llanfair PG also boasts the longest domain name on the Internet; listed in the Guinness Book of Records.
I remember hearing about that place in school, but I’ve never heard the tale behind the constructed never-ending name before. Interesting.
Haha, this is awesome! I can’t even try to pronounce it… Thanks for sharing this.
Ha! I already knew the answer to this as I saw it on TV last weekend. I even saw a Welsh guy pronounce it but don’t expect me to repeat it! 🙂
I had no idea there were PR stunts like this in 1860. 😛
That is hilarious! Too bad there’s nothing really to see but the sign.
Thanks for your comments, everyone.
@Ayngelina: Luckily, the rest of the island is very pretty and interesting.
I love coming across travel oddities like this one. I would have expected a crazy town name like this in The Czech Republic, not Ireland.
Travel Chica – It’s in Wales, actually. (But I see how my intro can be a bit confusing 🙂 )
OMG… I can’t even say half the name once, right!
Oh the humble, yet prideful, Welsh! Gotta love it!
@Kymri: And from your handle I’m guessing you know what you’re talking about 🙂 I adore Wales; it’s probably the most underrated country I’ve ever visited.
Love how they give the pronunciation underneath, as if anyone’s even gonna try.
Listened to the pronunciation in the link you included…if I didn’t know better, I’d think it was an entire sentence!
Love this and agree the publicity 150 years ago with the name sounds much better than the current “attractions.” Glad you explained what it means as it sounds like jibberish.
This is too funny! How do you give someone your address over the phone? Impossible . .. LOL
That is so funny. I wish I could hear someone say it. Or even better, try to say it.
Ahhhh, I spent many childhood camping holidays in this area of North Wales. Happy memories of that ridiculously long name! 🙂 It works as a publicity stunt though. Everyone in Britain knows there is a station in Wales with a huge name – it’s just that none of us know anything past ‘Llanfair…’
That’s fantastic! Imagine having to write that everytime you had to fill in your address. Or spell it over the phone. Ah, I would love to go back to Wales…
OMG! I wouldn’t like to live in a city I can’t pronunce!
Adriana – Haha, I kow what you mean! But I suppose growing up there, it’s your own language and it makes sense, so you’d learn to pronounce it. A bit like I expect most English-speaking children know how to say Supercalifragilisticexpialidotious.
I’m afraid it gets beaten out by “Taumata whakatangihanga koauau o tamatea turi pukakapiki maunga horo nuku pokai whenua kitanatahu” — the name of a hill near Hawkes Bay, New Zealand.
@Craig – Wow, how cool is that! And in Maori. I have to look up the meaning!
I think Craig is right. According to Wikipedia, it means something along the lines of ‘The summit where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, the climber of mountains, the land-swallower who travelled about, played his nose flute to his loved one’.
Haha, nice find. Not very userfriendly though, I doubt there is for example enough room on someones drivers from that place 🙂
Sophie: this is nonsense, it could be a public relations stunt, if somebody writes a letter, or an address, it could consume a lot of wasted time. It’s an interesting post.
Tourist trap – maybe. But its surely a lot of fun trying (and failing) to pronounce it. I think years from now the english version will be probably be more difficult to say.
Is it me or do I see lilygogo in this name? lol
@Renee – You’re right, it’s almost lilygogo! Must tell Inka.
See what happens when I don’t read blogs often enough? Craig goes and beats me to the posting of “Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu”. Oh well, NZ’s got number two and that’s all that matters I guess:)
Meaning: The summit where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, the climber of mountains, the land-swallower who travelled about, played his nose flute to his loved one
This is indeed a tounge twister 🙂
Haha that is hilarious!
I love quirky things like that. New Zealand has quite a few long place names, and the one mentioned above by Marie is just crazy!
Haha, thanks for bringing back some great memories. I visited this hamlet on a backpacking trip during my uni. days. I went there specifically to see the sign board. 🙂 I later found another place in New Zealand (North island) with another claim of having the longest place name:
Bangkok also claims of having the world’s longest name (though as a capital city, this title is uncontested).
All good fun. 🙂
I can pronounce this name, but I am Welsh. There is only sign and the only official Tourist Information on Anglesey here, even the in train announcements refer to it as Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll. However, if you go into the Tourist Information they will suggest some really fabulous walks and places to visit on Anglesey. Then perhaps sit in the Tea Room, order some tea and scones and decide where to visit on the island.
John – Yes, Llanfair certainly isn’t the only thing to see on beautiful Anglesey. We loved everything on the island, esp. Beaumaris. Didnæt see all of it, though, so have a good excuse to return. Wales really has become one of my favourite countries.
whoa!!! without a doubt, this is my word of the day. i will try to memorize it. dublin is my dream destination as a kid!
actually Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch is shortened to Llanfair PG by the locals
turipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu at 105 letters was shortened to Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu only 57 letters by The New Zealand Geographic Placenames Database therefore making Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch the longest place name according to The Guinness Book of World records
@Rod – Interesting – should settle the debate then. Thanks for that 🙂
Now that’s a name! I won’t even dare try to pronounce it 😛
Wow, what a name! And I agree, 150 year old PR stunts have a certain charm missing from todays PR stunts.