Celtic Myth Show News

Bringing the Tales and Stories of the Ancient Celts to your Fireside

Category: Wales (Page 1 of 3)

Excalibur – Enchanted Sword of Arthurian legend

The Name “Excalibur” was first used for King Arthur’s sword by the French Romancers. It was not the famous “Sword in the Stone” (which broke in battle), but a second sword acquired by the King through the intercession of his druidic advisor, Merddyn (Merlin). Worried that Arthur would fall in battle, Merlin took the King to a magical lake where a mysterious hand thrust itself up from the water, holding aloft a magnificent sword.

It was the Lady of the Lake offering Arthur a magic unbreakable blade, fashioned by an Avalonian elf smith, along with a scabbard which would protect him as long as he wore it.

Excalibur Stolen by Morgan le Fay

Towards the end of his reign, during the troubled times of Medrod’s rebellion, Excalibur was stolen by Arthur’s wicked half-sister, Morgan le Fay. Though it was recovered, the scabbard was lost forever. Thus Arthur was mortally wounded at the Battle of Camlann. The King then instructed Bedwyr (or Girflet) to return Excalibur to the lake from whence it came.

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Celtic Storytelling with Cath Little in Frome


Arthur & Guinevere - Celtic Storytellin in Frome
Frome’s storytelling club, Mr Rook’s Speak Easy continues its season of Celtic-themed evenings with a full-length performance from Welsh storyteller Cath Little on Thursday 29th March.

Ancient Celtic Storytelling Comes to Rook Lane Chapel

They have created a programme of shows based on Celtic mythology and folklore with Cardiff-based teller Cath Little telling the story of Enid and Geraint which comes from The Mabinogion, a collection of the oldest stories of Wales which go back to at least to the fourteenth century though parts may be older.

This enchanting retelling of an old British Wonder Tale is from the court of Arthur and Gwenhwyfar at Caerleon. It is a story that weaves between the known and the unknown worlds – a story that travels from the Forest of Dean to Cardiff, through the Hedge of Mists and all the way to the magical Apple Orchard of Annwn. Enid and Geraint meet and fall in love in a Cardiff long ago. But once they are married, their troubles begin. Together they travel through the dangerous world. They face monsters on their road through the dark woods and they battle with the doubts and fears in their own too human hearts.

Enid and Geraint by Cath Little at Rook Lane Chapel, Bath Street, Thursday 29 March at 7.30pm and is suitable for ages 14+. For more details find Mr Rook’s Speak Easy on Facebook.

The mysterious Roman fort of Cae Gaer



Cae-Gir, also known as Cae Gaer, is a 1st century Roman earthwork and timber fort in the Cambrian Mountains, where quartz mining may have taken place.
The earthwork ramparts of an enclosure covering roughly 2.25 acres stand in a forestry plantation in a secluded area of the Wye Valley. The earthworks were probably erected during Emperor Nero’s abortive campaign against the native Welsh tribes in 57 AD.

The normal Roman garrison for a site such as Cae Gaer would have been an auxiliary infantry cohort of a nominal 500 men, a cohors peditata, but this type of unit would have been too large to fit comfortably within the Cae Gaer encampment. It is very likely that the garrison unit was either under-strength, or perhaps split between two small camps; on this basis the site may be better classified as a ‘small fort’, which implies both an under-strength garrison and also the presence of administrative buildings.


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Roman fort, wolves and bears lost to time” was written by John Gilbey, for The Guardian on Friday 4th March 2016 05.30 UTC

High in the Cambrian mountains of mid Wales, perched on a slope above the chaotically youthful river Afon Tarenig, the bleak aspect of the Roman fort at Cae Gaer speaks of military expediency and urgent purpose.

In the sunshine of early spring it looks almost serene. But to a newly arrived legionary, in the depths of winter, immersed in an alien landscape still home to wolves and bears, it must have felt like the edge of the world.

Surrounded by steep hills, the location of the fort is an elaborate compromise. Close to fresh water and commanding the junction of two valleys, the site would have forced an enemy to take a long and uncomfortable diversion around it. Every detail of the foe’s military life, however, would be visible to a watcher concealed on the slope above.

A roughly square enclosure, the fort was built from turf ramparts topped by a wooden palisade. Nearly 20 centuries later the banks, densely covered now in heather and coarse tussock grasses, are still surprisingly intact, and the ditches outside them continue to be a significant obstacle to the aspiring visitor. Which, as my companion pointed out, was the whole idea.

Enclosing about a hectare of poor, waterlogged land, the fort is a small, basic structure, perhaps associated with the campaign of Quintus Veranius Nepos in the winter of AD 57. This newly appointed governor of Britain set out to subdue the intransigent Silures tribe, early masters of guerilla tactics, but didn’t survive to complete his task.

I stood close to where the northern gate had been, wondering what it would have been like to stand guard here long ago, perhaps relieved by the news that a mission had been stalled by the death of the governor and that soon we would be pulling back to the new garrison at Viroconium.

Bordered now by bland commercial forestry, the fort endures as a pale pattern in the landscape briefly visible from the fast, twisting trunk road to the coast. Passed by, in every sense, it lingers as a footnote on a footnote of history.

  • This article was amended on 7 March 2016 to correct the link to Cae Gaer

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Welsh government wants to persuade people to speak Welsh Language

People need to be persuaded to speak Welsh, not forced, the first minister has said, after his government was urged to set a better example the BBC reported. Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg said just 12% of assembly debate since May 2016 election had been in Welsh.

Carwyn Jones told BBC Radio Cymru he thought a question should be answered in the language it was asked. He said most voters in his Bridgend seat did not speak Welsh and he needed to communicate directly with them.

  • Plan for 600 more Welsh teachers by 2021
  • Welsh heartlands ‘need vibrant economy’
  • Welsh language suffered ‘lost decade’
  • 1m Welsh speakers plan ‘lacks clarity’

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Helpers needed for Castell Henllys Iron Age village

Castell Henllys Iron Age Village will be opening its doors on Saturday (March 11) in a bid to form a new volunteer group that will help care for the unique heritage site reports the Milford Mercury.

An open afternoon will begin at 2pm to welcome those who are interested in volunteering some of their time and expertise to support the prehistoric site, which is owned and run by the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority.

Taking part in events at Castell Henllys

Castell Henllys Manager, Jenn Jones said:

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Brigid’s Blessings on the Celtic Fire Festival of Imbolc

On Imbolc Eve Irish and Scottish women would clean and prepare their household for Brigid’s blessings during the night. Brigid was said to visit virtuous households and bring Imbolc blessings to the inhabitants. In some places in Ireland and Scotland it was a tradition to open all the doors and windows in the home and for the women of the house to stand at the threshold in order to recieve Brigid’s blessings. After being invited into the house a bed would often be made for her, and a wand or stick laid on the bed or close by.

Imbolc is dedicated to Saint Brigid; a major figure in the early Irish Church who predates the Saint to a pan-celtic pagan goddess of the same name. The festival which celebrates winter’s end, the onset of spring, and the start of the agricutural year is thought to be linked with Brigid in her role as a fertility goddess.

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Welsh Traditions and Folklore

Welsh Costume - Welsh Traditions

Welsh Traditional Costume

Wales is a country steeped in tradition. Even the Methodist revival in the 18th century, whose stern Puritanism banished the ancient Celtic traditions, was unable to stamp out all remains of their traditions.

Today the old tales are kept alive by the Welsh speakers. There are an estimated 600,000 of them and the numbers are increasing. Traditional Welsh culture has been kept alive by the popularity of the Royal National Eisteddfod, a ceremonial gathering of musicians, poets and craftsmen.

In the late 19th century children were not encouraged to speak Welsh in school. If they did so, they were punished by having a piece of wood called a ‘Welsh Not’ hung around their neck.

Love Spoons – historic Welsh Tradition

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Where is the largest collection of Arthurian books in the UK?

In 2015, Bangor University received a large donation of rare and valuable Arthurian books from Flintshire County Council. The University reported:

Bangor University can now boast the largest collection of Arthurian books in Wales and the north of England, following an agreement with Flintshire County Council, who have donated a rare and valuable Arthurian Collection to the University’s Library and Archives.
The newly arrived collection is well suited to its new home. Bangor University has a 50 year history of significant contribution to the study of Arthurian literature. Dr Radulescu, who currently leads the Arthurian literature courses at Bangor University, is internationally renowned for her activity in shaping the field of Arthurian studies through her editorship of the Journal of the International Arthurian Society (JIAS) and the Annual Bibliography of the International Arthurian Society (BIAS); she contributes regularly to radio and TV programmes on medieval studies and the Arthurian legend and was recently interviewed on the Australian ABC national radio on this topic.

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Salt and Bread

The Sin-Eater: Saviour Of The Dammed

Sin Eater - The Sin-Eater: Saviour Of The Dammed

Sin-Eater

The Tradition Of The Sin-Eater

In 18th, 19th and 20th Century Scotland, England, and some Welsh communities, families placed a piece of bread on the breasts of their recently passed loved ones.

That’s not the strange part — the families then hired someone to eat the bread, believing that the practice would somehow absolve the sins of the deceased.

Where did this strange ritual come from? 

Eating food at a funeral (or shortly thereafter) is not uncommon — large family dinners often follow the death of a loved one, while drinking has been a cornerstone of wakes for centuries.

Wake - The Sin-Eater: Saviour Of The Dammed

 Funeral Wake

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Cantre'r Gwaelod - the Sunken Land or Lowland Hundred

4,000 year-old Deer antlers found off Welsh coast

A dear friend of ours pointed us to a discovery made during the Spring this year of a set of 4,000 year-old Red Deer antlers on a beach in Borth, Ceredigion in Wales. Recent storms have revealed a whole new section of the Sunken Lands in Cardigan Bay. From 5,000 year-old trees whose stumps have been preserved by the peat, to parts of a wattle walkway made of branches, sticks or logs that must have enabled people to cross the wet ground easily. Now a huge set of antlers, identified as belonging to a Red Deer, have been found found under 1 metre of water.

There’s an ancient folk tale about Cantre’r Gwaelod, or the Sunken Hundred, which was once a fertile land and township before it was lost beneath waves. It is believed that the land extended nearly 20 miles west of Cardigan Bay, but Cantre’r Gwaelod was lost to floods when, apparently, Mererid, the priestess of a fairy well had neglected her duties, resulting in the well overflowing.

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