Plas Newydd was home to the Ladies of Llangollen and their friend and housekeeper, Mary Carryl. In 1768, the two young women from the Irish landed classes, met in Inistiogue and became great friends. However, ten years later, both Eleanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby found themselves in difficult situations. Eleanor was about to be sent to a convent in France, while Sarah was fending off the advances of her guardian's husband. They decided the only way out of their problems was to leave Ireland and look for a place where they could find peace.
They arrived in Llangollen in 1778 and in 1780, they rented the small house high on a hill above the town and quickly began making it their home for the next 50 years, eventually buying the property in 1819. Here they devoted theselves to self-improvement, farming, gardening and house-improvements. Apart from extending the building, they began decorating both inside and out with some of the most ornate wood carvings imaginable. There are two fonts within the beautifully restored grounds that are rumoured to have come from Valle Crucis.
The Ladies of Llangollen became legends during their own lifetimes, with regular visits from famous and cultured people such as the Duke of Wellington, Sir Walter Scott and William Wordsworth, as well as those who were just curious. The era of these remarkable ladies came to a close when Lady Eleanor Butler died in 1829 and Sarah Ponsonby following two years later. They are buried in Llangollen churchyard with their friend and faithful servant of many years, Mary Carryl.
For one week, in one town, over fifty countries gather for one of Wales’s most unique experiences. Last July over 120,000 performers and festival-goers from all over the world visited Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in the picturesque Dee Valley, North Wales. This cool and cultural event, considered as 'Wales’s gift to the World' was established in 1947 to promote peace and goodwill between nations through music and dance.
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