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The Pembrokeshire Tourism Blog

A land of Legends

Pembrokeshire Tourism - Wednesday, January 04, 2017
                                                                         

We spent 2016 finding our epic, and this year Wales is celebrating its legends. In a country rich in history, folklore, and legendary scenery, Pembrokeshire is the perfect place to celebrate the Visit Wales Year of Legends.

In the first of a series of articles here are 5 legendary Pembrokeshire connections you might not know a lot about!

  1. Mabinogion

The Mabinogion is a collection of stories brought together originally in Middle Welsh in the 12th and 13th centuries, bringing together tales that had been told and retold for many years previously. The stories were told by travelling bards who moved from settlement to settlement sharing news and entertaining and these were eventually written down into this collection. Pembrokeshire features largely in these tales, described as a land of mystery and enchantment – we couldn’t agree more and many visitors share this view!

  1. The legend of St David

The fact that the patron saint of Wales hails from this small but perfectly formed city on the Pembrokeshire coast tells you something about how deeply legends and folklore are ingrained in Pembrokeshire. Although he is said to have been born over the border in Ceredigion, at Henfynyw on the coast south of Aberaeron, St David became the bishop of the town that is now St Davids and indeed was buried in the cathedral.

  1. Mythical Stones and Magical Coastlines

It’s common knowledge now that the bluestones of Stonehenge originate from the Preseli mountains – but how on earth did they get there in a time where there were no trucks, cranes or digging equipment? Although archaeologists favour a theory involving primitive barges and river transport, we love the idea that Arthur’s mentor Merlin magicked the stones to Wiltshire… There’s nothing mythical about the stunning Pembrokeshire coastline – unspoilt beaches, rocky paths huge skies – but the coastline itself tells stories, as anyone who has walked by the Witches Cauldron – Pwll y Wrach – south of Ceibwr Bay. Here, the sea crashes into an inland pool through a narrow sea arch causing it to bubble and foam, perhaps linking to the belief that the Gwaun valley was once full of witches.

  1. Arthurian Pembrokeshire

The legends of King Arthur, his Round Table and his knights are interwoven through the fabric of British history and folklore, but did you know that many of Arthur’s links go back to Pembrokeshire? For a start, legend has it that our own St David’s mother, St Non was King Arthur’s niece. And Sir Gawain, one of Arthur’s knights of the round table, is Pembrokeshire’s own St Govan. Legend has it that the Preseli Hills saw a showdown between Arthur’s knights and Twrch Trwyth, a wild boar with poisonous bristles and which carried a pair of scissors, a comb and a razor between its ears. After killing several of Arthur’s knights and turning them to stone at Cerrig Marchogion, the boar was eventually driven into the sea of Cornwall. Many of these stories feature in the Mabinogion.  Finally, Arthur himself is said to be buried on the Preseli Mountains.

  1. Modern legends
It’s not just ancient stories that make up Pembrokeshire’s mythology – there are legends for modern times here too. In the 1977 a number of UFO sightings gave rise to stories of the Broadhaven Triangle. A hotelier, primary school children and a number of members of the public all reported seeing UFOs and aliens in a number of separate sightings…

 

Visit Wales have split the Year of Legends up into 5 sections – in January and February, the focus is on legendary Welsh love stories. This is followed in March and April with the spotlight on film locations. Sporting Legends are celebrated in May and June and the summer is devoted to legendary festivals. The last 3 months of the year, October, November and December, are all about legendary food. All in all, Pembrokeshire is where you’ll find more than enough Welsh legends so be sure to keep an eye out for future legend blog posts from Pembrokeshire Tourism.

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