BBC Radio 4 – In Our Time, Owain Glyndwr

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the fight for Welsh independence in the early 15th century
— Read on


Ancient Roman Britain

Conwy Wales

The Ruin

Wondrous is this wall-stead, wasted by fate.
Battlements broken, giant’s work shattered.
Roofs are in ruin, towers destroyed,
Broken the barred gate, rime on the plaster walls gape, torn up, destroyed,

consumed by age. Earth-grip holds the proud builders, departed, long lost,

and the hard grasp of the grave, until a hundred generations

of people have passed. Often this wall outlasted,

hoary with lichen, red-stained, withstanding the storm,

one reign after another; the high arch has now fallen.
The wall-stone still stands, hacked by weapons,

by grim-ground files.
Mood quickened mind, and the mason,

skilled in round-building, bound the wall-base,

wondrously with iron.

Bright were the halls, many the baths,

High the gables, great the joyful noise,

many the mead-hall full of pleasures.

Until fate the mighty overturned it all.
Slaughter spread wide, pestilence arose,

and death took all those brave men away.
Their bulwarks were broken, their halls laid waste,

the cities crumbled, those who would repair it

laid in the earth. And so these halls are empty,
and the curved arch sheds its tiles,

torn from the roof. Decay has brought it down,

broken it to rubble. Where once many a warrior,

high of heart, gold-bright, gleaming in splendour,

proud and wine-flushed, shone in armour,
looked on a treasure of silver, on precious gems,

on riches of pearl…

in that bright city of broad rule.


Stone courts once stood there, and hot streams gushed forth,

wide floods of water, surrounded by a wall,
in its bright bosom, there where the baths were,

hot in the middle. 

Hot streams ran over hoary stone

into the ring. 


“The Ruin is a fragmentary poem found in Exeter, Cathedral Chapter Library, MS 3501, the Exeter Book.”

The Old English text is taken from the electronic version of the poems of the Exeter Book available at the Labyrinth.  

Translated by Siân Echard, University of British Columbia. 

Book Preview… “All the Colors of Green”

Oystermouth Castle

Oystermouth Castle

For months, some think I have gone missing. I am in That place where the ocean is, it meets the mountains, It dictates and controls. I have seen places in Wales one could never imagine while the seasons have moved from Summer to Autumn into Winter; I wonder what happened to the weeks and months. Time has just flown by. For I still have a temporary that I thought it would expire in December. Except it will not expire ever after all; for in that time I have had to see real wishes come true, it’s here where I have found hints of life and love and home and then there is someone here now to cling to. He calls me his ray of hope; and his sunlight in the morning.

His love is true and there are moments so I might know that this is just the beginning, discovering that there are places beyond narrow one. I have seen massive green forest, farms and gardens, medieval castles, palaces and cathedrals. I am American girl in Wales, where my duality is to reason all; is one with every living breathing moving particle is one is the absolute.

Duality is an illusion, I argued. It must be if this narrow place that contains my infinite love for one and the same. I understand gravity and advanced physics. Only then can we understand that is important that which hope hangs on, finding that love is the only shimmering effervescent realm of continual creation.

Note- “All the Colors of Green” will be available Kindle on Thursday, November 20th.
Thank you to all my followers and for reading. I hope you love my writing and photography. Enjoy!-
Love, Katie M.


These are the castles we visited so far. We have been to 24 out of 157. So you can see, I have lot’s more writing to do. Below is some of my favorite places to visit in Wales.

Ogmore Castle 12th & 13th century
Castell Coch – the Red Castle
Carreg Cennen Castle
Carmarthen Castle 11th century
Dinefwr Castle 11th century
Dryslwyn Castle Native Welsh ruins
Kidwelly Castle 12th century and earlier
Laugharne Castle 13th century
Llandovery Castle 11th century
Llansteffan Castle 12th century
Newcastle Emlyn Castle 13th & 15th century
Caernarfon Castle 13th century
Castell y Bere 13th century
Haverfordwest Castle 12th century
Crickhowell Castle 12th century
Llanafan Fawr Castle possibly Iron Age
Painscastle 12th to 15th century
Penarth Castle
Tretower Castle 12th century
Loughor Castle
Oxwich Castle 16th century
Oystermouth Castle 12 & 13th century
Pennard Castle 12th century
Penrice Castle 13th century
Swansea Castle

A Preface to “All the Colours of Green”


“And so its just me and the cat here

inside the mushroom now,

where it is safe and warm in this abode. It’s

where I will lay my head tonight,

sleep in his bed,

crying onto his pillow,

until he returns.”

from “All the Colours of Green
a novel by American Girl in Wales


It came as a surprise and shock to the many in my life, but to those who truly know me, to those who understand the need to begin healing thyself; they understood, the importance of starting life over; accepting change, relocating; wanting to pour out; to write and travel and in Wales.

Yes, an American girl from Texas moving to Wales. Oh God, I fit in here like a glove, living like true artist; writing all day, shopping just enough for what is needed for the day, staying up all night; talking; wine and smoking with music and lots of love and laughter.

It’s hard for anyone to leave Texas. Most people say about Texas, “I got here as fast as I could.”

I lost a husband to cancer, of 30 years, spent the last 7 years as his primary caregiver. The Alzheimer’s kicked in then the Parkinson’s. It was difficult, but my children were grown, with no other family members around. I had to make a change or flounder; I was not thriving, but not everyone heard me and my energy depleted; I felt as if I had nothing left in me.

I moved to Wales, it’s somewhere I could feel again then I can heal. I only knew one person here in this place; wondering if he could take on my being; this empty, fragile broken down soul in need of replenishment of self love, companionship; to be a part of the process, a healing process and a return to flow.

We spend so much of trying to do more and be more so our lives; to have “purpose” when really, our only purpose should be to simply love and be loved.

And now because of love, I am the girl who is working on being healthy, finding pleasure in life again. It’s perfect here, yet I am far from perfect but as I am learning: healthy means more than physically well. It means mentally and spiritually and Even these have become a positive in my life and that I have to give in order to get and that if I am to find love again; the gods will make it happen; for Love cannot be forced, only given when it’s given in return.

Love has become a great influence in my life and In each moment, by day and by night, I find myself immensely happy and celebrating being here. However, “here” is more than I could ever imagine; what love would become like, how it would look – but then I never imagined things could be this good. Funny how life works, isn’t it…. Enjoy and thanks for reading
~ Cheers,
Katie Murphy

Photos: Family of Wood Mushrooms,
Singleton Park, Swansea, Wales, UK

Last Red Dragon

Once I fell asleep in the grass
And as I opened my eyes,
Now awake, and looking around
Above me I saw an ocean,
The reddish-purple color
The evening sky.

I could feel the heat
From something rising,
Barely burning my skin,
Wondering if what I’d seen
If it had been real or not
Perhaps, I was chasing
A dream.

My eyes watering
From the mystic sunset
As I opened my eyes
Was I dreaming maybe…
Could it only legend,
Or Something I once read
Would I be, could I be
Proved wrong….

Lying next to me,
Outstretched behind
I noticed a slightly wrinkled
Piece of paper clutched tightly
In the ground,
slowly I read…

Newcastle Emlyn; the castle
It was of the old Welsh Cantref
It straddles the River Teifi
To the South in Carmarthenshire
And to the North in Ceredigion.

It’s rivers meander through meadows
A natural protection for the castle
To the North, South and East.

It’s flow is the River Teifi,
Creating a natural barrier for the castle
Once a motte and bailey
It is said to be the site
Of the last dragon in Wales.

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When Newcastle Emlyn fell
It fell to brave dragon-like warrior;
A Prince; Owain Glyndwr, who took it
For a Welsh keep, triumphantly.

When the dragon awoke, to take
He went into the Teife,
Wearing his large red cape
That he spread on the water.

When the enemy attacked
They went into the river,
Some drowned, some were spared
By the Dragon Prince,

Blood gushed from their bodies
The dragon took the river
Took over the Newcastle Emlyn
He saved the castle; Giving it back
To The Welsh and saved
From wrath.


The gate and a few walls
Is all that remains
A single tear ran slowly down,
Off my cheek landing on the paper
And tenderly kissed it,
As if I were kissing…
The last red dragon of Wales.



Some attribute the story to 1403
When Owain Glyndwr attacked the castle
Under the banner of the Red Dragon.

Owain Glyndwr was the last Welsh
To hold the title Prince of Wales.

Born 1359 into a powerful family
Of the Anglo-Welsh nobility,
During a time of relative peace
Between the tribes of Wales
And the English aristocracy.

The castle dates from 1240
Built by Maredudd ap Rhys Grug
The only Welsh castle in the area
Built of stone and the last.