Llanfairfechan has evidence of its origins in settlements dating from about 7,000 years ago. Hill forts, such as at Garreg Fawr and Dinas, were created by people who settled here after the last Ice Age. There’s also evidence of a Stone Age axe and arrow factory, with axes from it having been found as far away as Ireland and Europe.
Before the 19th Century
The town has had connections with several prominent people. It is rumoured, for example, that the original recipe for Guinness came from a dark wine that was brewed in Llanfairfechan, and Arthur Guinness adopted it as he traveled through the town, to and from Ireland. The writer Jonathan Swift traveled through Llanfairfechan on his way to Ireland. Over the door of the first inn at the Penmaenmawr end he wrote ‘Gentle stranger ere you pass, take a cool refreshing glass’ and at the inn at the other side, he wrote ‘Now you’re over, take another, for your drooping spirits to recover.’
19th. Century Development
There are tales of people trying to reach Ireland before the building of the government’s toll road to Ireland through north Wales who had to either travel along the shore at the right time of day, or go over the mountains. This route could be very perilous, and many fell to their deaths from the cliffs. One gentleman was said to have been carried over in a litter, while his servants dismantled his carriage and carried it across separately.
The town’s biggest development began in the middle of the 19th century, coinciding with the building of the toll road. The purpose of this road was to ensure that the Irish would stay loyal during the Napoleonic Wars, and to prevent the French army having a presence to the west.
The building of The Railway in 1845 made the town more accessible, although it didn’t stop at Llanfairfechan at first, but at neighbouring Abergwyngregyn (Aber). But Llanfairfechan’s fortunes improved when some prominent businessmen moved into the town with the coming of The Railway. Mr Platt bought the land of the old Roberts estate to the west of the village and Richard Luck, a solicitor from north west England, bought the land from the Bulkeley estate.
In 1860 Platt demanded the building of The Railway station for Llanfairfechan on his land so that he could travel to London conveniently. He then built Station Road on his land, and Richard Luck built Village Road. Until then, the main thoroughfare had been the lane between The Village Inn and The Castle public houses.
As this development progressed, the tiny village became a popular tourist resort, and The Promenade was developed to provide holiday makers with a pleasant place to stroll and take in the sea air.