One of the better things Ruth and I did in Wales was to take the train from Cardiff to the town of Caerphilly (pronounced Kuh-philly) to see its castle. It’s a concentric castle, which means it’s pretty invulnerable. It was attacked but never taken. As I wandered about it and saw its unapproachability, I fully understood why this would be the case. On display were stone missiles the size of large beachballs that were hurled during sieges and an example of the machines called trebuchets that hurled them. Caerphilly is the largest castle ever built in Wales. In all of Great Britain, only Windsor Castle is larger.
Its construction occurred 202 years after the Norman invasion making it 751 years old today. It was built by Gilbert “Red” de Clare who diverted the Rhymney River to surround his creation with a moat. It still exists, making this castle one of the few in existence still protected by its original moat. One of Caerphilly’s towers leans even more than the famous one in Pisa, Italy, but it’s cleverly held up by a modern sculpture.
Caerphilly Castle today has been made attractive to child visitors with a dragon’s lair, a maze, and lot of climbing. After my own climbing during which I was very cold but never gave up the hope of seeing this castle’s ghost, The Green Lady, I watched an excellent video, a historical timeline that showed the sweep of history since the castle was built. It’s so gory with heads rolling and the like that viewers are warned that it may be too scary for children. However, if the little girl across from me watching it with her family was typical, children enjoy it even more than adults. One guidebook said about Caerphilly, “Kids love it.” There’s another good film in the gatehouse about the master masons who constructed Caerphilly. This castle is vividly alive with imaginative viewpoints, but getting to those viewpoints will be difficult for those with physical handicaps.
A wedding was in progress in the Great Hall before we left. This brought us back to reality, as did the sign in the bakery named Glanmor’s across from the castle that someone recommended. It had greats sweets and sandwiches and a sign near its door that warned about human trafficking in this town.