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Llangollen

Llangollen is a small town in Denbighshire and takes its name from St Collen, who allegedly established a church here on the banks of the river Dee in the sixth-century. The town’s great sixteenth-century stone bridge across the river is one of the ancient Seven Wonders of Wales. The A5 road through Llangollen developed out of the historical main road through north Wales. In 1815 an Act of Parliament authorised civil engineer Thomas Telford to undertake the modernisation of the road as it formed the chief postal communication route between Ireland, the Welsh harbour town Holyhead and London. For this reason, Telford kept the inclination of the road exceedingly low so that the mail coaches could travel without much delay. The modernisation of the road also meant it was easier and quicker for visitors to reach Llangollen. In 1828, Prince Herman von Pückler-Muskau praised the beauty of the Vale of Llangollen and visited the famous Ladies, Sarah Ponsonby and Eleanor Butler. A year later, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy despaired over hearing Beethoven’s songs played badly by a harpist at his hotel, before exploring the nearby surroundings, Castell Dinas Bran and Valle Crucis Abbey. One of the main cultural attractions of Llangollen today is the annual International Eisteddfod, an amicable competition celebrating song and dance from around the world. The festival dates back to 1943 with international visitors travelling to the National Eisteddfod held in Bangor that year. Since 1947, the six-day long International Eisteddfod has been held in Llangollen and draws thousands of singers from around the world into the town.

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