Love, romance, passion, amour and desire across the Celtic Routes

Love, romance, passion, amour and desire across the Celtic Routes

The beauty of the Celtic Routes has inspired love and romance for millennia. Myth, legend and real-life love stories abound. Some happy, many tragic.

The legend of Gwyn and Gwyrthyr

Welsh mythology teaches the constellation of Gemini not as twins, but as two brothers, Gwyn and Gwyrthyr.

The brothers are said to be battling over the love of the most beautiful Creiddylad, Welsh Goddess of love and flowers - who is often depicted wearing red. During Celtic times, red was worn by the bride on her wedding day as a sign of her virtue.

Gwyrthyr fell madly in love with Creiddylad and they were engaged to marry. However, his brother Gwyn, jealous and spiteful, stole Creiddylad away, leaving Gwyrthyr heartbroken.

Enraged, Gwyrthyr summoned an army to go and win his true love back. There was the most almighty and bloody battle, but to no avail. Gwyn remained victorious.

Their rivalry has been taken to represent the contest between summer and winter.

The legend of Coll and Aine

Irish legend tells the story of a leprechaun named Coll, who encounters a fairy named Aine who had transformed into a beautiful goblin. ‍

It is said that they talked for hours and hours, until the empress of malevolent fairies cast a hex on Aine, turning her into a magpie.

Coll pleaded with the queen of the good fairies who promised to remove the spell if Coll found her and confessed his love. He agreed, and Aine was restored to her prior form.



An ancient Welsh poet who wrote about love and nature

In the churchyard of Strata Florida Abbey, although once disputed, lies the grave of Dafydd ap Gwilym, a prolific 14th-century Welsh poet.

Dafydd ap Gwilym composed vivid Welsh-language poetry about love and nature, using sophisticated verse forms. He is regarded as one of Wales’s greatest Welsh-language poets.

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Zorro the Irish man

It is fabled that the real legend of Zorro was an Irishman from County Wexford, William Lamport. Born in the 1600s, he got himself caught up in a turmoil of scandal and gothic romance.

It is said that he sailed to a new land where he changed his name to Guillén Lombardo and amongst political shenanigans, fell in love with Mexico City’s most eligible heiresses.

In 1872 a retired Mexican general wrote a historical romance based on a hero called Guillén Lombardo; the narrative followed Lamport’s exploits closely. The author, a Freemason, used the letter “Z” to symbolise the divine spark in the human.

In 1919, an American journalist called Johnston McCulley apparently reworked the story, he gave the character a new name, Diego de la Vega, aka Zorro.

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A servant love story at Dinefwr Park

Dinefwr Park has been the setting for many a love story but one romantic tale between two servants of the house, has captured the hearts of many – the story of Lily Kite, the cook, and Basil Taylor, the stable keeper.

The star-crossed lovers risked their livelihoods by pursuing their love, as in those days, forming a romantic attachment with a fellow staff member meant instant dismissal.

But love conquers all and the young couple married at Llandyfeisant Church on the Dinefwr estate in 1911 before moving Abercrave where Basil took up work as coal miner to support his new family.

Lily and Basil’s grandchildren recounted the love story of their grandparents on a visit to Newton House at Dinefwr Park.

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A love letter to Wicklow

The romantic novel and movie known as a love-letter to Ireland - ‘PS, I Love You’, is a favourite of many.

Featuring some of the most stunning locations on the east coast including the Wicklow Mountains, with their heather-flecked landscapes and humbling views.

Delve into author Cecilia Ahern’s beautifully crafted and moving love story, as you follow the lead character’s steps as she travels through her late husband’s home county of Wicklow.

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Romantic ruins

Carreg Cennen is officially the most romantic ruin in Wales – as voted by readers of Countryfile magazine.

Perched on a great limestone crag nearly 300ft above the River Cennen, the dramatic silhouette of Carreg Cennen dominates the skyline for miles around and commands stunning views over the Carmarthenshire countryside.

The castle, said to be built by Edward I’s loyal baron John Giffard at the end of the 13th century, invokes an incredible sense of drama, and for many, a sense of romance.

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