Oystermouth Castle sits on the western edge of Swansea bay near the entrance to the village of Mumbles. Its history dates back to Norman times. Over the centuries it changed hands on various occasions and was destroyed, rebuilt, and extended several times.
I always think that the Welsh flag, with its red dragon motif, is particularly well-suited to flying over an ancient castle.
However, for much of its history the flags flying over Oystermouth Castle would have been those of clans or families with roots and primary interests outside Wales. For a long period since the Middle Ages there were probably no flags here at all, because the castle had fallen into disrepair. Some restoration work was carried out in the 1840s, but by the early 20th century it was by all accounts crumbling again and overgrown with ivy. In 1927 Swansea Council acquired what was left of it from the then owners, the Dukes of Beaufort. Major refurbishment works finally took place during the years 2010-2012, funded by the Welsh Government.
A couple of months ago my wife and I decided to have a look at what has been achieved.
As the photos show, there is quite a bit left of the old structures. There are no roofs, but with some imagination you can form a mental picture of what the castle might have looked like in its heyday.
Several of the staircases have been restored, enabling visitors to get to some of the upper floors and onto the battlements.
The coffin apparently is a prop for Halloween events.
In one part of the castle—'Alina's Chapel'—a glass floor has been installed, which allows visitors access to the windows near the top. The photo below shows the view onto Swansea bay (with the fog just lifting from the sea).
The castle's day-to-day running during its open season (April to September) has been handed over to a group of volunteers, the 'Friends of Oystermouth Castle'. We found them very helpful and learned a number of interesting facts from chatting to some of their members during our visit.
Swansea Council's website provides all the relevant visitor information at: https://www.swansea.gov.uk/oystermouthcastle