Although it is the largest town in the county, with a population of 11,237 (2001 census), it is neither the county town nor actually on the island of Anglesey. Instead, it is located on Holy Island which is connected to Anglesey by Four Mile Bridge, so called because it is four miles (6 km) from Holyhead on the old post road from London, and a causeway (known locally as "the cob") built by local philanthropist Lord Stanley in the 19th century. The causeway now carries the A5/A55 road and the railway line to Chester, Crewe and London.
The town centre is built around St. Cybi's Church, which is built inside one of Europe's only three-walled Roman forts (the fourth wall being the sea, which used to come up to the fort). The Romans also built a watchtower on the top of Holyhead Mountain inside Mynydd y Twr, a prehistoric hillfort. Settlements in the area date from prehistoric times, with circular huts, burial chambers and standing stones featuring in the highest concentration in Britain. The current lighthouse is on South Stack on the other side of Holyhead Mountain and is open to the public. The area is also popular with birdwatchers.
The post road built by Thomas Telford from London strengthened Holyhead's position as the port from which the Royal Mail was dispatched to and from Dublin on the Mail coach. The A5 terminates at Admiralty Arch (1821), which was designed by Thomas Harrison to commemorate a visit by King George IV en route to Ireland and marks the zenith of Irish Mail coach operations. In 2001, work was completed on the extension of the A55 North Wales Expressway from the Britannia Bridge to Holyhead, giving the town a dual carriageway connection to North Wales and the main British motorway network. The A55 forms part of Euroroute E22 and was funded in the main by money from the European Union. The Anglesey section was financed through a Private Finance Initiative scheme.
With the opening of the railway from London to Liverpool, Holyhead lost the London to Dublin Mail contract in 1839 to the Port of Liverpool. Only after the completion of the Chester and Holyhead Railway in 1850 and the building of Holyhead railway station did the Irish Mail return to Holyhead. Holyhead is currently the terminus of the North Wales Coast Line and is served by Virgin Trains and Arriva Trains Wales services.
The plant relies on its elecricity supply from the island's nuclear power station at Wylfa, near Cemaes Bay. As this power station is due to close in 2010, there is speculation that the financial viability of the plant is at risk.
Holyhead's arts centre, the Ucheldre Centre, is located in the chapel of an old convent belonging to the order of the Bon Sauveur. It holds regular arts exhibitions, performances, workshops and film screenings.
The town's main football team is called Holyhead Hotspur and they play in the Cymru Alliance , with their reserves playing in the Gwynedd League. There is also Holyhead Gwelfor Athletic who play in the Anglesey League.
Holyhead is also home to one of the first churches of the Jedi Religion. Daniel and Barney Jones founded the first British Jedi church in Holyhead. It has 30 congregation members.
Holyhead to Honour Dutch Sailors Who Fled the Nazis; When the German Blitzkrieg Rolled into Holland in May 1940, Men of the Dutch Navy and Merchant Marine Escaped the Clutches of the Nazis before Finding Their Way to Holyhead. Now a New Memorial Is to Mark the Role Played by the Exiled Dutch Servicemen Alongside Their British Allies in the Pivotal Battle of the Atlantic. DARREN DEVINE Reports
Sep 19, 2013; SOME had never even travelled beyond the shores of Anglesey. But when 116 of the island's women married Dutch mariners who came...
ON THE MOVE; PEOPLE IN BUSINESS: Buoyant Holyhead on Crest of a Wave Wednesday, 4 June 2003; Holyhead's Growth Is Astounding Observers. Freight Units Have Tripled in 10 Years, Car Crossings Are Heading for 500,000 Next Year and Pounds 14.5m Is Being Invested in a Fifth Terminal and Better Road Access. Rhodri Clark Takes a Look at the Rise and Rise of This Link with Ireland's `Celtic Tiger' Economy
Jun 04, 2003; Byline: Rhodri Clark WATCHING the lorries come and go at any of Holyhead's four ferry terminals can be a bewildering...