Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch: The Welsh Village

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch tourism sign
Indeed.

If you think we’ve finally lost our minds with that headline, it’s in fact a large village in Wales of the UK.

It’s Llanfairpwllgwyngyll for short, if you’re too scared to take on that thing in its entirety. The only thing more confusing? Actor Milla Jovovich’s surname.

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch

Remember that time Prince Charles presented the BBC weather? Well, this is much more complicated than that.

Even most Welsh people probably steer well clear of that one. Such is the vastness of its name.

Although weatherman Liam Dutton there in 2015 gets it bang on. That clip has 27 million views as a result. As one YouTube commenter was correct in stating:

"I bless the rains down in Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch"

So, yes, a little nod to Toto there and the song Africa. Duly noted.

Okay, the Welsh town name is in Welsh (yes, the country has an official language—along with English). And is 58 letters long. Translated it means:

"The church of Mary in the hollow of the white hazel near the fierce whirlpool and the church of Tysilio by the red cave."

Indeed. Apparently, the name was added to in 1869 to make it that massive. So as to give the village some clout in the UK.

The place is certainly ideal for those of us with curiosities in the world—Atlas Obscura defined, you know?

But seeing as it’s us, we’re also interested in the ridiculous long name for a village in the rather small country of Wales. Why that massive name? Why?

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch is actually on the island of Anglesey, you get to it driving over the fetching Britannia Bridge.

The village is less than a two hour drive from our hometown of Manchester, so if we had a car (and there wasn’t coronavirus lockdown), we’d have gone there just for this blog post to document the location thoroughly. Honest.

But, we don’t have a car and there’s lockdown. So we didn’t go. Deal with it!

Long Place Names

Once that clip of the Welsh name went viral, human competition kicked in. And everyone started boasting of their massive place names.

In Canada, the city of Toronto tried to wade on in and own it. But was thoroughly smashed to bits by New Zealand.

Why? Thanks to this one, which we’ve decided to designate an entire line for itself. We don’t want to anger it, you see.

Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu.

We also had to stick that preformatting box around it, otherwise the name flies off our screen into the border.

Similarly, for this blog title we can’t feature article the post as the massive Welsh village name surges off to the right across the entire site.

Anyway, from what we can tell on Google Maps for the NZ place, the nearest city is Palmerston North—on NZ’s North Island.

The place is a hill—a tourist destination, thanks to that enormous Māori name. But we can all call it Taumata for short, as that helps a bit.

Interesting over there, isn’t it? Whether it’s Pitcairn Island or a hill with 85 character titles, even the GREAT nation of the UK can’t match that.

9 comments

  1. I’ve never heard of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, though I have heard of Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu, which is in New Zealand.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I recommend visiting the far superior Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch over the vastly inferior Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu. Just, because.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have never been to Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu, though it’s near Porangahau in southern Hawke’s Bay, where I have been; and my Mum used to talk about it a lot. She could also pronounce Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu.

    It’s kind of funny, I drive through Hawke’s Bay multiple times every year and have never taken a side trip to Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu. One day, I shall have to go to Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu. Some say it has more letters than this: Taumatawhakatangi­hangakoauauotamatea­turipukakapikimaunga­horonukupokaiwhen­uakitanatahu – though I decline to translate Taumatawhakatangi­hangakoauauotamatea­turipukakapikimaunga­horonukupokaiwhen­uakitanatahu as it’s a bit rude and we’re better to stick with Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu for the general audience. Strangely, the high school I went to was named after the hero of this place-name, Tamatea (the name in the middle of Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu, and no I’m not trying to make excuses to type Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu as often as possible…)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu is just crying out for a history book. Seems you’re more than up to the task, sir. I think “A SHORT History of Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu” would look marvellous gracing a book cover. That word, I don’t even dare try to pronounce it. The “Taumata” bit is easy enough, but I’m not trying the rest of it.

      I guess I’ll have to go to Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch now, once lockdown is over. I didn’t realise it was so close until researching this piece.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I can pronounce the NZ place name but have no idea how the Welsh one can be uttered! It might have to join the list of words I’m collecting to support my theory that Some Words Cannot Be Pronounced. (So far the list consists of ‘Worcestershire’).

        Like

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