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A Dictionary of Celtic Mythology

James MacKillop

giant, giantess.. 

There is little to unite the men and women of great size in Celtic tradition except their enormous strength and stature. Irish and Cornish giants are often foolish and gentle, while those in Gaelic Scotland may be more astute. Heroes may sometimes take giant form, such as Fionn mac Cumhaill in oral tradition or Cú Roí; or giants may assist heroes, as Wrnach aids Culhwch; or giants may exist only for puny men to vanquish. Notable male giants include: the athach, Bendigeidfran (Brân the Blessed), Carn Galver, the Cerne Giant, Ciudach, Cormoran, Dhoya, Dillus Frafag, Diwrnach Wyddel, the d‘reach, the fachan, Fachtna Fáthach, Foawr, Gruagach, Llassar Llaes Gyfnewid, Searbhán, Tegid Foel, Ysbaddaden Bencawr. Giantesses include: Bébinn (2), Boudicca, and Cymidei Cymeinfoll. The Fomorians of pseudo-history are sometimes seen as giants.


See John C. Grooms, ‘Giants in Welsh Folklore and Tradition’, dissertation, University of Wales, Aberystwyth, 1988.Find this resource:

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