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In Search of British Dragons

Dragon 1

The dragon is the great, great grandfather of all monsters. Before the daemon, before the vampire, before the werewolf, before the giant. Before them all was the original uber-monster the dragon. The dragon's image has crawled across cave paintings 25,000 years old, dwarfing mammoths. It has slithered across Chinese rock art in Shanxi province 8000 years before Christ. Read More »

Boabhan Sith

Baohban Sith

The Baobhan Sith is a particularly evil and dangerous female vampire from the highlands of Scotland. They were supposed to prey on unwary travellers in the glens and mountains. The name suggests a form of Banshee.

A common tale is told of 4 young friends who set off on a hunting trip in the glens, benighted the men take refuge in an abandoned Shieldig (small cottage). Read More »

Vampire Folklore

Dracula

Vampire folklore within the British Isles is surprisingly scarce, this is mainly due to the fact that the contemporary image of a vampire (a charismatic bloodsucker with a black cape, a mesmerising stare, and a penchant for nubile young women; plus an aversion to holy water, garlic and crosses.) is relatively recent, being the result of Hollywood portrayals of vampires, and the gothic Hammer House Read More »

Ruthin Castle

Castle Entrance

Before I begin I would like to say that I spent my honeymoon at Ruthin Castle, and found the accommodation and service exemplary. I would recommend staying in the castle to anybody, and I cannot overstate how much I enjoyed the Medieval Banquet which they host on a regular basis. Read More »

The Treasure of Craig-y-Ddinas

The Rock of the Fortress, was a hillfort during the Iron Age period, it is supposed to have been one of the last place the fairies lived in Britain. The following legend conforms to a folklore motif found throughout the country, namely that of sleeping warriors under hollow hills. Read More »

The Gwiber of Penmachno

Penmachmo

The word "gwiber" in Welsh means viper or adder but many centuries ago the word actually meant "flying snake" . This is the story of how Wibernant (meaning "valley of the gwiber) which is near Penmachno got its name. Read More »

Pwyll, Lord of Dyfed

The story of Pwyll is found in the Mabinogion, a collection of old Welsh stories translated by Lady Charlotte Guest, and published in 1849. It describes how Pwyll the Lord of Dyfed meets the underworld king Arawn and how the two become close allies. Read More »

The Great Giant of Henllys

The original tale first appeared in The Athenaeum, published in 1847, and tells how a tyrannous figure became even more fearsome as a ghost after he had died. Three brave priests finally exorcise the ghost with a mix of magic and prayer. Read More »

Laugharne

A spectral dog known as the Gwyllgi or the 'Dog of Darkness' is said to haunt the town. The dog appears with flaming red eyes, and is said to run from the castle to the town along an old route-way.

Directions: On the A4066

Ogaf Myrddin

Ogaf Myrddin means Merlin's Cave, and this is one of the locations where he is said to sleep awaiting his release. The cave is hidden behind a waterfall.

Directions: Northwest of Brechfa

Taliesin the Bard

Taliesin

This is the version translated by Lady Charlotte Guest, and published in 1849 in the collection of old Welsh tales entitled the Mabinogion. Traditionally Taliesin is placed in the time of Arthur, which is generally believed to be in the 6th century AD. Read More »

Bedd Arthur

The whole area around Dyfed is associated with Arthur, outlined in the old Welsh tales now part of the Mabinogion. This cairn on the hilltop is thought to be Arthur's Grave.

Directions: The grave is in the Prescely Mountains

Llyn Y Fan Fach

Traditionally the lake is thought to have been bottomless, and it has long been associated with fairies. Read More »

The Shepherd of Myddvai

LynnY Fan Fach

This tale tells how a young shepherd won and lost a fairy bride from Lynn y Fan Fach (Van Vach), the fairy lake at the foot of Bannau Sir Gaer in the Brecon Beacons. This version was collected and told by Joseph Jacobs and appeared in his book Celtic Fairy Tales published in 1892 (David Nutt). Read More »

The Coblynau

The Welsh version of the Cornish Knockers, these mine spirits were relatively good humoured, and helped the miners by knocking in places with rich lodes of mineral, or metal. The Coblynau dressed in miners' attire, and stood at around 18 inches in height. Read More »

The Cwn Annwn

The Cwn Annwn, which means hounds of the otherworld (underworld), are Welsh phantom dogs seen as a death portent. Their growling is louder when they are at a distance, and as they draw near the growling grows softer and softer. Read More »

Bendith y Mamau

Bendith Y Mamau means 'the mothers blessing' and is a generic name for the fairies, especially in Southern Wales.

In appearance the fairies are described as small and ugly, and are most readily identified with the Brownies, or the West Country Pixies, although they have the characterisations of most fairies. Read More »

Gwrach-y-rhybin

A hideous hag who haunts Welsh families, and is also associated with specific places. Read More »

Ellylldan

A Welsh spirit similar to the English Will o' the Wisp, it appears as a light and misleads travellers from their path.

Along with black dogs, tales of fairy lights are common throughout Britain, with a different name given to a similar phenomena. In general they are seen as malevolent, guiding lone travellers into treacherous bogs. Read More »

Conwy & Conwy Bay

Andy's Mermaid

In legend a curse was put upon the town and its entire people by a mermaid hundreds of years ago. She was found stranded on the rocks at low tide by local fishermen, who would not return her to the water no matter how much she begged. She cursed the town saying that the people would always be poor. The curse is now said to have run its course. Read More »

Lake Bala

Llyn Tegid

Llyn Tegid is Wales’s largest lake being nearly four miles long. It lies in a rift valley running north east to south west, extending down to the sea at Tywyn. The lake is 529 feet above sea level, has a maximum depth of 136 feet and covers an area of 1084 acres. Read More »

Strata Florida Abbey

The abbey was founded in early part of the 13th century by the Cistercian monks, and was one of the grandest in Wales at its height. It was seen as a centre of education and political activity. The abbey was destroyed during the reformation. Read More »

Nanteos Mansion

Nanteos means the valley of the nightingale, and is a Georgian mansion house built for Thomas Powell in 1739. Read More »

St Non's Chapel and St David's Peninsula

St David's Peninsula is supposedly the landing place of Twrch Trwyth, the magical boar told in the story of Culhwch and Olwen in the Mabinogion, King Arthur features heavily in the story. It is also the place where St Patrick is said to have sailed for Ireland to convert them to Christianity. Read More »

Broad Haven

Broad Haven was the scene of a UFO flap during the late 1970's. There were several reported sightings; the most widely publicised was the strange visitation to a field near to Broad Haven primary school in February 1977. Read More »



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