(800) 523-5842

 


– DEAL$
& SPECIAL OFFERS

 

HOT TRAVEL BARGAINS!

 

GET BARGAIN ALERTS

 

IN$TANT DI$COUNT$

 

GET A FREE PROPOSAL!

 

GET A FREE CATALOG

 

-2017-
DESTINATIONS

MANY PRICES STILL WELL
BELOW 8 YEARS AGO!

 

BRITAIN &

IRELAND

 

SCOTLAND
DARE TO COMPARE!

2017 PRICES

IRELAND

DARE TO COMPARE!

CALL 4 2017 PRICES

LONDON

DARE TO COMPARE!

2017 PRICES

ENGLAND
'THE LIONHEART'

2017 PRICES

WALES
'THE PENDRAGON'

2017 PRICES


 
 

PARIS

'LA BELLE'

 

2017 PRICES
DARE TO COMPARE!

PARIS + LONDON

 

 

NEW!

SWI+ZERLAND

6 special regions

2017 PRICES
DARE TO COMPARE!


 

 YOUR DREAM TRIP!  

CUSTOM-MADE

 EUROPE 

FRANCE

GERMANY

ITALY

NETHERLANDS

SPAIN

SWITZERLAND

 

 

bermuda

A PRETTY PLACE PLUS

2017 PRICES
LOWER PRICES AGAIN!


 

HOT!

ICELAND

2017 PRICES

COMBINED

ITINERARIES

 

 

SCANDINAVIA

THE GREAT NORTH

2017 PRICES
WOW! UP TO 14.54% BELOW 2009 LEVELS!

NORWAY

 

SWEDEN

 

DENMARK

 

COMBINED

ITINERARIES

 

 

NEW

ZEALAND

ROAD TRIP!

2017 PRICES
 WOW! UP TO 9.64% BELOW 2009 LEVELS!

NORTH ISLAND

 

SOUTH ISLAND

 

 
CURRENTLY
FEATURED @
HOMEATFIRST.COM
 

EDITOR'S BLOG

 

ADVENTURE

 

PEOPLE

 

GOLF COURSE

 

LODGING

 

EVENTS CALENDAR

 

 
HOME AT FIRST
 

CONTACT INFO

USA & CANADA
(800) 523-5842

WORLDWIDE
+1 610 543 4348

info@homeatfirst.com
 


LEGENDARY & MYTHICAL FIGURES

 

Travel is people. You may go abroad to see the famous sites, but what you remember best are the people you meet. Among them, like unexpected treasure, are a few memorable contacts that will make your travels unique, special, and delightful. "People" is devoted to some of those you may come in contact with during your Home At First travels.

ST. DAVID — PATRON SAINT OF WALES

MARCH 1 IS ST. DAVID'S DAY

          The patron saint of Wales, Saint David, is not simply "veiled" in mystery. "Upholstered" would be a better fit. In the absence of primary historical records of his life, the sketchy facts about Dewi Sant, as David is called in Welsh Gaelic, have been embellished with legend, myth, attribution, and fancy. The resulting composite is more cartoon than realistic portrait, rendering David attractive to Welsh nationalists, Celtic survivalists, Arthurian cultists, and anyone looking for a factual figure easily moldable to the noble lost causes of the ancient Britons.

          The life of St. David of Pembrokeshire in southwest

 

Wales mirrors the much better known St. Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint. Patrick, who lived about 200 years before David, also was probably born in Wales during a period of the Dark Ages when sainthood in the Welsh Christian Church could be bestowed on the pious and the devoted. Patrick, of course, has come to represent much of what we think of as Irish character: a gentle but firm spirituality guiding a simple, transitory life through challenges of poverty and oppression. David’s lasting image differs only a little from Patrick’s — David’s severe austerity and his aloofness lack the happy community associated with the itinerant Patrick. As a result, Patrick can be welcomed by all Irish — Northern Protestants, too — as a common cultural icon not especially politically charged. David, on the other hand, is associated with the oppression of the Welsh by a succession of invaders: Anglo-Saxons during David’s lifetime, then Vikings, Normans, and their English progeny.

St. David?
ST. DAVID?

         Like Patrick in Ireland, David was a traveling evangelist

 

spreading Christianity among pagan Celtic clans. During the 6th century — a time when monks without a home parish could become bishops — David became a national figure who rose from simple monk to become the principal cleric (bishop or archbishop) of Wales. The factual story of David’s background and career ends there. The earliest surviving written history of David’s life dates to the 11th century, 500 years after David’s death. It is supposed that Viking raids may have destroyed any earlier biographies during the intervening centuries.

                  History, like Nature, seems to hate a vacuum, and so the gaps in the life of David have been filled by apocrypha over the last 1˝ millennia. Over that time, David’s character, his past, and his career have been created. He has become known as a gentle holy man who followed a simple, even austere, lifestyle, devoted to a severe vegetarianism that relied on a diet of bread and watercress. Some say he often lived only on water, a claim sometimes associated with other hermit saints.
        Legend has anointed him with royal heritage, one violent and depraved enough to fit in with monarchies that have ruled elsewhere on Britain. The bastard issue of Prince Sant of Ceredigion, western Wales, and Non, local clan chief’s daughter whom Sant raped, David was thus imbued with both Welsh royalty and clan status. That Non — herself later beatified — was also to have been a niece of the greatest of all Celtic (or Briton) kings, Arthur of Camelot, further bestowed a revered Welsh pedigree on young Dewi.
        Much like St. Patrick across the Irish Sea, David pursued an itinerant missionary life after being educated in a monastery in southwest Wales. His mission travels took him through Wales, western England, Celtic Cornwall, and across the Channel to Celtic Brittany. Some legends insist he visited Celtic Ireland, too, and even made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
        After his wanderings, David returned home and founded a monastery by the tiny River Alun where the cathedral city of St. David stands today. The monks here practiced a disciplined and simple lifestyle, like David. Each day they rose very early for prayers followed by working the land, and tending to the many special crafts of the monastery. Despite their insularity, the monks fed and housed pilgrims and weary travelers, and fed and clothed needy families in the region.

 

          David was made a saint in the 12th century, the only

St. David?
ST. DAVID?

Welsh saint recognized today by the Roman Catholic Church. Although many Welsh saints lived during the Dark Ages, only Dewi managed to be formally recognized by the church after the Norman Conquest of Wales. Cynics suggest that the Normans helped win over the Welsh by officially recognizing their greatest—and most palatable—hero. While David represents the Welsh culture, with its distinctive Celtic language and temperament, Saint David was, after all, less interested in rebellion than in peaceful coexistence.
          Today’s Welsh nationalists have adopted St. David as a symbol of Welsh independence. An old legend tells of Dewi helping a Welsh army defeat invading Saxons. Unable to readily discern the invaders, David suggested the Welsh lads wear a leek in their hatbands. They did so, and they drove off the interlopers. The leek became a Welsh symbol of unified resistance, and it remains so today.
          Without documentation to the contrary it is difficult to dispute the old legend that David lived at least to be 100 years old, dying in or around the years 589 or 601. In his final

 

sermon, David urged his congregation to:

           "Be joyful, and keep your faith and your creed. Do the little things that you have seen me do and heard about."

          Staying true, being joyful, and steadfastly doing the "little things" remain Dewi Sant’s legacy to his flock, the people of Wales.
          Once Pope Callactus II bestowed official sainthood on him, in 1120AD, March 1 — Dewi’s birthday — was made his feast day. Subsequently, March 1 has become the National Day of Wales, like
St. Patrick’s Day (March 17) is in Ireland, St. George’s Day (April 23) is in some parts of England, and St. Andrew's Day (November 30) is throughout Scotland. Many churches in Wales — and some in the USA — have been named after him, and some even after his sainted mother, Saint Non.

          Although many believe St. David's remains were originally interred in Glastonbury Cathedral — which he had revitalized during a mission to western England—most Welsh think that David’s ultimate resting place was, and is, on the site of his own monastery at the current St. David’s Cathedral. For centuries pilgrims and Welsh nationalists have traveled to St. David’s, Wales, to visit the cathedral dedicated to Dewi and the little chapel dedicated to his mother. St. David’s Cathedral, the home church of a saint, is the single factor qualifying the charming little seaside

St. David's Cathedral, St. David's, Wales
ST. DAVID'S CATHEDRAL,
ST. DAVID'S, WALES

town of St. David’s as Britain’s smallest city. It is

 

also the westernmost city of Wales, and is made triply interesting by its location on the wonderful 150-mile-long Pembrokeshire Coast Path National Park, and its close proximity to Pentre Ifan, Wales’s most important prehistoric cromlech.

          St. David’s Cathedral is built in the transitional Norman style on the site of David’s earlier monastery. The ruins of the 14th century Bishop’s Palace share the site. An excavation in the cathedral in late 1996 turned up a cache of ancient bones which many Welsh are convinced are the relics of St. David.

Leek
Leek

ST. DAVID'S DAY — MARCH 1

        Like St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland, St. David's Day is a time of great celebration in Wales. All over Wales there are special meetings and events each March 1. Most important among these is the annual concert in St. David's Hall, Cardiff. Leeks and daffodils (less provocative than the anti-English leek) are worn and used as decoration throughout Wales and leek soup is often on the menu. Local festivities normally include Welsh dances, singing, and verse, known as an "Eisteddfod", with performances and speeches often in the Welsh language.

Daffodil
daffodil

 

HOME AT FIRST has travel programs to two areas of Wales.
In both regions, visitors can experience the great traditions
and superb scenery of one of the great destinations of Britain.
For more information, see:

NORTHWEST WALES         MID-WALES

YOUR DREAM TRIP TO WALES BEGINS BY CONTACTING 

HOME AT FIRST