A view of the Mawddach Estuary on a clear spring day with woodland lining the shores.
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One of the most well-known giants of Welsh folklore

Welsh folklore is full of stories about giants. According to legend, they are responsible for many landscape formations, standing stones, lakes and archaeological cairns.

Some of the giants of Welsh mythology include Rhita Gawr, Hydaws, Igyn, Dylan, Idwal, Ifan Goch, Corwenna, Beli and Bran. Interestingly, Welsh giants often wore aprons and collected beards.

But one of the most well-known giants is Idris Gawr, after whom Cader Idris, a stunning mountain in Dolgellau, was named.

Idris the Giant and Astronomer

According to the Trioedd (Triads), a group of medieval stories, Idris was an astronomer and used to sit atop the highest and most famous mountain ridge in Meirionnydd, which became Cader Idris, to contemplate the trials and tribulations of man.

He was a giant in stature as well as wisdom, and like anyone else, a stone in one’s shoe can cause great pain. He once removed three stones from his shoe while sitting by a lake at the base of Cader Idris. He threw one of the stones in the direction of Trawsfynydd, and that stone is known today as Llech Idris.

The many versions of folklore

It is important to note that there are different versions of every legend and story here in Eryri, highlighting the area’s antiquity. All versions, of course, are true. Some believe that these are stories based on prehistoric characters that have evolved over time as they were passed on by word of mouth.

So, for those who don’t believe in giants, Idris Gawr is in to be the historical Idris ap Gwyddno—king of Meirionnydd in the early middle ages. Idris ap Gwyddno was killed (twice) in 632.