Harlech Castle is located at Harlech, in Gwynedd, North Wales.
The mediaeval fortress was constructed by King Edward I towards the end of the thirteenth century, as part of his ‘Iron Ring’ of castles, built around North Wales to subdue and conquer the Welsh.
The castle was built on the top of a cliff, close to the Irish sea, and was virtually impregnable. The sea originally came much closer to Harlech than in modern times, and a water-gate and a long flight of steps leads down from the castle to the former shore, which allowed the castle to be resupplied by sea during sieges.
Along with Caernarfon Castle, Conwy Castle and Beaumaris Castle, this monument has been part of the Castles and Town Walls of Edward 1 World Heritage Site since 1986.
The castle ruins are now managed by Cadw, the Welsh Government’s historic environment service, as a tourist attraction [Cadw is the Welsh verb ‘to protect’].
“Men of Harlech”, the Welsh nation’s unofficial anthem, loved by rugby fans and regimental bands alike, is said to describe the siege which took place here during the War of the Roses, wherein a handful of men held out against a besieging army of thousands.
[Turn up the sound for the best experience.]
There are many versions of “Men of Harlech”, and there is no single accepted English version. The version below was published in 1873.
Echoes loudly waking,
See, they now are flying!
“Men of Harlech” also had a prominent role in the 1964 film “Zulu”, although the version of lyrics sung in it were written specially for the film.
Men of Harlech, stop your dreaming,
Men of Harlech stand ye steady,
From the hills rebounding,
Men of Harlech on to glory,
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