Branwen Ferch Llyr is the most well-known tale from the Mabinogi. It is probably the characters that stir the imagination – the giant, Bendigeidfran , his beautiful sister Branwen, and the evil half-brother Efnisien. But the geography of the tale also stirs the imagination – Bendigeidfran sitting on Harlech rock staring out across the sea, Matholwch, the king of Ireland sailing across the Celtic Sea searching for a wife, the court at Aberffraw holding the wedding reception, the Welsh campaign in Ireland and of course Branwen’s grave on the banks of the Alaw river on Anglesey.

We will see the giant Bendigeidfran walking across the sea from Wales to Ireland and then lying across a river so as to create a bridge over which his army cross. The violence against Matholwch’s horses by Efnisien as well as the unfair treatment of Branwen when a prisoner is frightening.

By bringing this tale alive in the imagination of the audience, it is hoped that they will identify with elements of the story which is an important part of their cultural heritage. We also hope that the audience’s interest and curiosity will be awakened so that they make further enquiries and discover the ancient Welsh culture for themselves.


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