Wales is home to many British legends, from Sir Anthony Hopkins to Gareth Bale. It’s also home to Merlin, King Arthur and wizards. Then there are legends shared with other Celtic nations, like the god of war known as the Morrigan.

We’ll cover some of these mythical characters below. Some of them are strictly Welsh myths but others are more popular in Scotland, Wales and the Isle of Man. Let’s get started.

King Arthur

The story of King Arthur has been told countless times. But historians can never seem to agree about his existence. Some say he was a mythical creature, while others believe he was a true king in Camelot during the 5th and 6th centuries.

Supposedly, Arthur’s biggest accomplishment was leading the British army against the Saxons. Arthur was also obsessed with finding the Holy Grail: the cup Jesus used to drink wine during the last supper.

Although Arthur never found the Holy Grail, one of his soldiers apparently did. In fact, he hid the holy cup in a Welsh mansion. Over the years, thousands of people have visited Wales to seek healing from the cup, known as the Nanteos Cup. However, a 2004 documentary revealed once and for all that the Cup is not the Holy Grail and has no healing powers after all.

The Leprechauns

Leprechauns have become well-known across the world. They appear everywhere, from folktales to song lyrics to leprechaun-themed slot games. But did you know that these fairy creatures apparently predate mankind?

That’s right. Leprechauns inhabited Ireland long before humans arrived in the country; that’s probably how they’re so rich. Don’t get it wrong, though. Being rich doesn’t always mean they share their money.

Leprechauns are often considered to be grumpy. That’s not because they’re short and insecure but because these Irish bankers tend to be lonely and have no female companions.

That being said, leprechauns can be generous if you treat them well. Alternatively, you can capture a leprechaun, especially if they have worn out shoes.


Merlin is often associated with King Arthur. However, this famous wizard was actually inspired by two other mythical creatures: Ambrosius and Myrddin. Author Geoffrey of Monmouth created the character of Merlin sometime in the 12th century.

Since then, storytellers have reimagined the story of Merlin many times and the story may differ from author to author.

Some have called him King Arthur’s chief advisor. And later on, he gets bewitched by a girl known as the Lady of the Lake.

Merlin is said to have been born in Carmarthen and is associated with lots of legends around the Carmarthen area.  You can even see the remains of ‘Merlin’s Oak’ in Carmarthen’s Museum – and visit nearby nearby Merlin’s Hill.

In other renditions of Merlin, the powerful wizard does not die before King Arthur. In fact, he returns to Camelot to heal the king after he’s grossly wounded in battle.

The Abhartach (Irish Vampire)

The Abhartach is a mythical creature thought to have inspired the story of Dracula. As with many Celtic legends, the Abhartach has different features depending on who’s telling the story.

According to one account, the Abhartach was a cynical tyrant who worked as a magician. He was cruel and hated by many. When he died, the local residents buried him while standing.

But that was not the end for him. The Abhartach appeared a day later on a mission to terrorise those left alive. The local chieftain killed him again and returned his body to the grave.

But to the surprise of many, the Abhartach came back alive for a third time. This time, he was buried with his head facing down to overpower his evil spirits. It worked and the vampire never returned.

Or did he? According to a different account of the legend, the evil magician never resurrected after his death but regularly haunted the living as a ghost. He would also drink the blood of those he subdued which is, of course, a enduring part of the vampire myth.

The Lady of the Lake

Earlier on, we hinted the Lady of the Lake may have been the cause of Merlin’s death. But in the usual style, these stories vary from one account to another.

Everyone does seem to agree that the Lady of Lake lived during King Arthur’s time. She allegedly gifted the warrior king a magical sword to help him win battles. And later, she entrapped Merlin into a tree as a plan to make him fall in love with her.

Although the Lady of the Lake’s story is often ambiguous, it’s interesting thanks to its ties to King Arthur and Merlin. The charming lady allegedly also raised, educated and trained one of Arthur’s closest friends, Lancelot.

The Coblynau

The Coblynau are mythical creatures believed to have haunted Welsh mines hundreds of years ago. Although they’re depicted as scary monsters, the Coblynau were not always mean-spirited.

Many are times these creatures would trade jokes with the miners. Or, they would help the miners find the best minerals. Interestingly, Wales is not the only place these creatures were spotted. Some German traditions believe in mine-spirits called Kobolds which are pretty similar to the Coblynau.


Madoc was the son of King Owain. He was born in 1150 but had no right to inherit the throne from his father for two reasons. First, he was an illegitimate child. Secondly, he had several older brothers.

According to historians, Madoc didn’t really care about becoming king, though. Instead, he was more concerned about discovering what lay on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.

Madoc allegedly left Wales together with his brother and a small crew. They arrived in modern day Alabama a few months later, meaning they discovered America long before Columbus did.

 St David

Although not much is known about St. David, he left a legacy important enough to have warranted a national holiday first celebrated in the 12th century. Marked on 1st March, people in Wales celebrate this day by singing traditional songs, drinking a special kind of tea and wearing national costumes.

David was born into a royal family that lived at the top of a cliff located in South West Wales. The saint grew up in the Church and later become a miracle-performing priest.