Dolbadarn Castle stands rather forlornly on its rocky hillock some 80 feet above Llyn Padarn, on the eastern side of the main A4086 roadway between Caernarfon and Snowdonia.
The castle dates to the 13th century, but remains in solid condition. Built by the mighty Llywelyn ap Iorwerth (Llywelyn the Great) sometime before 1230, the castle not only predates the English fortresses of the Edwardian conquest, it also provides solid documentation of the extent of Llywelyn's influence and ingenuity. Its position at the tip of Llyn Padarn allowed the garrison to blockade anyone's movement through that part of the north, then as now a main link to the rest of Wales. The military worth of the spot was evidently recognized as early as the 6th century but surviving masonry dates no earlier than the 1200's.
The dominant feature at the site is the impressive round tower, built of slate and rubble. Looks are deceiving, for this great keep encloses a surprisingly complex series of chambers and once rose three stories. Today, the tower reaches 40 feet in the air, is 40 feet in diameter, and is still girded by walls 8 feet thick. More pictures of Llanberis by Victor Naumenko...