Kind of Mauve not Blue at Plas yn Rhiw


Looking back, it was a mauve sort of a day, the day we went to visit the old Welsh farmhouse of Plas yn Rhiw on the Llyn Peninsula. The sea in the bay below the house was peaceful, and the air still and dreamy. If you listened hard you  might hear echoes of the past along this ancient pilgrims’ path to Bardsey Island, the place the Welsh call Island of Currents. It was late September, and Wales was very much in end-of-season mode with many places closed; or if they were open, then looking as if they wished they were closed. It’s often like that in Wales. Even the stalwart National Trust, that now has care of Plas yn Rhiw, was slow to open up. We had to go away and come back. In fact that was a bit of good luck. Further down the peninsula in Aberdaron we were taken by surprise at Y Gegin Fawr, The Big Kitchen cafe, where the owner was enthusiastically hospitable.


It turned out that she was keen to uphold  a 700 year-old tradition of feeding pilgrims. We had some very excellent hot chocolate there, not something the saints would have recognised. Or if they had, and if they had seen Graham’s mug overtopping with whipped cream, they would surely have pronounced it a sin of the flesh, and to be eschewed at all costs.


Back at Plas yn Rhiw we stepped into another time-warp.



Here, the seventeenth century farmhouse had been lovingly restored from ruin by the three Keating sisters, who at the urging of friend and architect, Clough Williams-Ellis (he of Portmeirion fame) scraped up the funds to buy the place in 1938. They lived there until they died, filling the house with personal treasures. When you wander from room to room, there is a feeling of benign, if eccentric spirits. They don’t seem to mind us peering at their books and nick-nacks…

 copyright 2015 Tish Farrell

For more of this story:

Gazing into Hell’s Mouth at Plas yn Rhiw


Jennifer Nichole Wells One Word Photo Challenge: Mauve

41 thoughts on “Kind of Mauve not Blue at Plas yn Rhiw

  1. Tish that is beautiful of course from the blog you should be able to tell I love my flowers and that looks like a Hydrangea, a beautiful one at that! You are so lucky to get to all of these places and take these photographs, you have taken me to so many different places through your photography that I will never get to see, Thank You!

    1. Yes, that is a hydrangea. I love the way the flower heads change through the seasons. Even the dead ones are often very beautiful, I’m glad you can come along on my trips, albeit by virtual travel arrangements 🙂

      1. That is the beautiful thing about photography we can go anyplace in the world with other peoples photography and I am so glad that you blog about it all.

  2. Ah- you make me want to go there. I especially like how you describe the feel of the late September air and yes, there’s something dreamy about that. I will go there in fact, write about it, and hear what you think. That will be good.

  3. Wonderful article, again. What a lovely trip. I thought you would need to travel all the way to Holland to find names spelled so funny. i know I shouldn’t ask , but how do the Welsh spell mauve?

    1. You’ve stumped me there, Bumba. The best thing about Welsh, though, is how it sounds. A well known Welsh poet describes some of the vowel sounds, the double ‘ll’ for instance which is a sort of ‘thcl’, (with some air between the tongue and the palette), as the sea on the rocks. Once you know that it all becomes much clearer. It’s a language born of landscape.

  4. That was such a wonderful story and pictures of the sister’s rooms and the house. I did read it again and enjoyed as much. A mauve sort of day is a good one!

  5. It’s difficult to tell you how I envy you Poms, living there where you can experience history at every turn of your heads. I looked up Portmeiron and fell back, gasping … 🙂

  6. A history tour with dear Tish,
    Is always more than one could wish
    for there are bound to be pictures too,
    and every visit will seem brand new,
    no matter how many times you read a post,
    she always plays the gracious host.

    1. Well that’s a real compliment, Jennifer. It’s time we had a ‘beam me up Scottie/take me there’ facility on wordpress. Now that would be something 🙂

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