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Pirate Weekend in Conwy Wales : Ideas for Halloween Costumes
Welcome to Pirate Weekend
Conway, or Conwy as it is spelt in Welsh, is a port town on the North Coast of Wales situated on the Afon Conwy. At this point the river is deep and wide creating a beautiful setting of hills, boats and houses dotted along both sides of the widening estuary. The Pirate weekend takes place at the old harbour but the spirit affects the whole town and combined with the massive and almost complete castle and castle walls, the town has an almost magical setting for such a weekend as pirates. Everyone got into the spirit, residents and visitors alike and some of the costumes were excellent.
So welcome to Conway on a beautiful sunny June afternoon and enjoy the flavour and sites of this historic town playing host to thousands of revellers.
Pirates on Parade
Pirates costumes and other thoughts
When we headed off to Conway I had intended to create a strictly tourist lens that would help people to decide if they would like to attend the weekend maybe next year. However when I was enjoying the fair, it dawned on me how good the costumes were and that might be a springboard point to expanding this article.
So I hope that if you are looking for a Halloween costume, this article may inspire you to choose a pirate costume and I have provided just a couple of links to help you make your choices. I would recommend that you first seek out your family's old clothes and maybe use your purchases to embellish what you have already found.
Amazon and Ebay links can be found at the bottom of the article if required.
Pirate Sea Shanties
The Pirate Weekend - The Town
Most people were directed to park at the large area outside the castle walls and then walk through into the town. There were paths directing you up the town walls but I wanted to get into the heart. I started by the statue of Llywelyn ap Iorwerth, the prince who founded Conway Abbey in the 1100's and wandered down the street past a lady weaving wool at a spindle, past shops that were packed with visitors and pubs and restaurants catering to every taste and charity shops displaying as much pirate second goods as they could muster!
Conwy is home to two of the most interesting domestic buildings in the country. Plas Mawr is a 16th century tudor lodging that survives intact and is situated right at the heart of the town. There are others within the town walls but this is a standout example and much treasured. By the quay is what is known as the smallest house in Britain, a tiny one up one down house with tiny door and tiny windows. The more cynical among us may wonder why such a place was built, me included, but apparently it was a valid home of someone who owned a small space on a crowded wharf.
More Pirates on Parade
The Pirate weekend - The Quay
The pirate weekend proper was held along the quay with entertainment, food, gifts and games all available for the public to enjoy. For me the highlight was taking photos of the participants. Some seemed like they were specifically present for the purpose. They all had buckets collecting for charity and in exchange you could take a photo. But others seemed to be visitors like myself and presented a slightly trickier situation.
So to begin with I took a few photos giving money in exchange for being allowed to photograph they group. With the visitors, it took a brave person to approach the group and ask them to pose. This they happily did and then the fun began. Other photographers who had been more reticent, then approached the group and asked to take the same photo. Like bees round a honeypot and quite comical.
Finally I got up the nerve to ask myself and was delighted at the response. I also enjoyed watching others then coming up to take the same shot. This is a great observation of humanity. How we hold back until one person is brave enough, then we flood in.
...and don't Forget the Parrot
We'll Enlist You if You're not Careful
This couple were sitting chatting to each other by the Quay and I walked up to them. They started to stand before I could even get my question out. They obviously knew what I was about to ask. The lady really got into character as she levelled her gun at me as if to blow me to bits if I stepped out of line. A popular couple indeed. This for me was a standout feature of the day, the welcoming approach everyone had to greeting strangers and agreeing to photographs.
Avast there you Landlubber
This group did not arrive until mid afternoon. By that time, many photographers had got up the courage to ask participants for photographs. They had barely passed through the East Gate when they were pounced upon by several people asking for photographs. I think they were a little taken aback at first and the shot I got was not the best. So I waited and then noticed that they were sitting down on the Quay wall. Having given loads of photo opportunities, they obviously felt in need a rest and the result was this picture. The lady was lovely and it was a delight to meet them.
Even Pirates Need a Rest
The pirate weekend - Non participants
Even where the public were not participating there were some interesting photo opportunities. Some of today's fashions are interesting in particular hairstyles. I could not ake out if this lady was dressed up or simply this was her fashion sense. Either way I love the animated look on her face as she discusses some point with a friend.
Agh! I Forgot my Costume
Pirate Weekend - The Video
I do not profess to having the greatest video skills but it does provide a few useful features. First it records my day for me to enjoy in the future. Second, when I load it on to my youtube, I know it is not going to get deleted and give me a broken link ( tries the patience of most hubbers). But most importantly in an active environment, the video will often allow you to make a choice later about which photo you want to keep. The secret, frame capture, my camera allows me to search the video and save certain frames as photos. These are sometimes better than the photos that I actually take. I nifty technique where things are constantly in motion i.e. people.
Check out the photo directly below the video and compare to the video itself.
Conway/Conwy Pirate Weekend
Photo created by video capture
Some costume ideas
Pirate Weekend - Fancy Dress Decisions
Dressing up as a pirate has always been a popular choice for fancy dress parties and in particular at Halloween. You don't have to spend a lot of money to be effective and there are lots of different styles, most often found in Grandma's closet!
Many of the costumes in this article were not expensive as the wearers will attest. Simply decide on what you would like your style to be, pirate king, first mate or just one of the crew. Then find yourself something outlandishly garish and don't forget the makeup and cheap jewellery.
Or you can try some of Amazon's selection as shown below:
Conwy Wales UK
Conway/Conwy Pirates Official Page
- Conwy Pirate Weekend - Home
The official page for the Weekend where you can find more facts and photographs.
To be a pirate or not to be a pirate
What would you dress up as next Halloween
All the photographs in this article were taken by the author and no further attribution is required. My thanks to all the festival participants who were so willing to be photographed. It was a wonderful day and we finished off our own visit with fish and chips in the town at the Galleon where all the staff were also in full pirate garb.