The “Year of Legends”

By | Category: Travel destinations
dragon head

The dragon at Caerfili Castle last year

I think it was the Irish who started it. They christened each year with a different name to drum up tourism. The Scots followed, then the Welsh.

In Wales, this year, it is the “Year of Legends” and Visit Wales are encouraging visitors to explore some of the legends connected to the country. Some will be known to many like the links with King Arthur, druids and Celts. Some may not be widely known outside Wales like the story of Twm Sion Cati, a Robin Hood type character who was pardoned by Elizabeth I or how the earth rose up when St David spoke at Llanddewi Brefi so that he could be seen more easily.

Some people might have thought the Year of Legends began last year when the red dragon appeared at different locations around Wales. The dragon has long been associated with Wales and the legends of dragons living in the mountains became part of the Oliver Postgate children’s books and television series about Ivor the Engine

As part of the year, there will be jousting tourneys, a Merlin festival in Carmarthen, to celebrate the legend of Merlin and other Arthurian characters but what the tourist board wants you to do is to create your own legendary experience when you visit Wales. Events will also cover some more recent legends like Dylan Thomas.

One of the most famous legends is that of Gelert, the dog who protected the children of Llewelyn the Great against a wolf. When Llewellyn saw blood on Gelert’s coat he killed the dog believing Gelert had killed the children. When the children were found safely with a dead wolf nearby, Llewellyn realised that the dog had protected the children he raised a monument in the dog’s memory. Or was it dreamed by a merchant in Beddgelert in the last few hundred years to attract tourists?

In a similar way, Visit Wales hope that tourists will be attracted by legends so that more people visit Wales than last year.

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