Day trips are great and all, but what is life like around town in Bangor? For an hour on Sundays you can find me in church.
Bangor Cathedral was founded by St. Deiniol in 525 AD and rebuilt in the mid-13th century. The natives called the fence around the churchyard a “bangor”, and the name spread to the town. My English flatmate dismissed it, saying it’s nowhere near the size of the cathedral in Salisbury near her home; it’s more the size of her village church. It’s still more impressive than what I’m used to, as are all the other churches; Methodist, Anglican, Catholic: they’re all old, stone, and beautiful.
I’ve been going to Sunday Mass at Our Lady & St. James Roman Catholic Church, just down the road. It was built in 1866, so it’s not the oldest church I’ve been in, but it’s graceful (and drafty):
St. James was the Anglican church until the 1970s or so, when it was sold to the Catholics. The old Catholic church in Lower Bangor is now a Wetherspoon’s pub!
All the churches here are lovely and old (to an American)… I’m used to mainly plain, modern churches back home (the Twin Cities being the exception), and at first I was in ecstasy over each church I saw that had good architecture. I’m very quickly getting used to all the pretty stone churches with their little spires, however, as they can be found along the main roads in every town we’ve visited so far.
The Bangor Cathedral- which is old to anyone; founded in 525 AD, it was rebuilt in the mid-13th to 14th centuries!:
St. John’s Methodist Church on High Street (which to me is the quintessential village church):
The Baptist Church (Upper Bangor):
A side note: All these beautiful old stone churches look very impressive, but only about 2 in 100 people in Western Europe go to church regularly nowadays. The question I’m asked even more frequently then, “Where are you from in America?” is, “Are you religious?” followed by, “And do you go to church?” Local folk all over the UK are faced with many beautiful old churches becoming redundant, and in an effort to save the buildings, many have been repurposed (such as a church in Caernarfon which is now a kids’ play center).