Llŷr, known as Llŷr Llediaith in Welsh, Lleddiaith meaning ‘half-speech’, ‘accented’ or ‘half-language’. One possibility is that he was bi-lingual Gaelic and Welsh. He is possibly derived from the Irish Ler, meaning ‘the Sea’, father of Manannán mac Lir.

Llŷr is a mysterious figure in Welsh mythology, believed to have been a deity. Despite scant information, he is primarily known for being the father of Brân the Blessed, Brânwen, and Manawydan by Penarddun, as depicted in the Branwen Daughter of Llyr, the Second Branch of the Mabinogi.

Llŷr a Prisoner of Euroswydd

According to Welsh Triads, Llŷr was once imprisoned by Euroswydd, potentially leading to Penarddun marrying Euroswydd afterward. It is believed that Penarddun bore her two younger sons, Nisien and Efnisien, by Euroswydd, as mentioned in the Second Branch.

Three Exalted Prisoners of the Island of Britain:
Llŷr Half-Speech, who was imprisoned by Euroswydd, and the second, Mabon son of Modron, and third, Gwair son of Geirioedd.  And one (Prisoner), who was more exalted than the three of them. This Exalted Prisoner was Arthur. And it was the same lad who released him from each of these three prisons- Goreu, son of Custennin, his cousin.

The Welsh Triads

Llŷr the High King

In the Second Branch of the Mabinogi confirms that Llŷr ,had himself at one stage held the High Kingship of Britain. This makes sense as his child Bendigeidfran is the current king of this Island, possibly the kingship passed to Bendigeidfran during Llŷr’s imprisonment by Euroswydd.

Branwen daughter of Llŷr was given to me, one of the High Matriarchs of this Isle, and a daughter of the king of Island of the Mighty.

Branwen Daughter of Llŷr , the Second Branch of the Mabinogi

King Lear & Llŷr

The connection between Llŷr and the character King Lear from William Shakespeare’s play is tenuous, as King Lear’s story is derived from Geoffrey of Monmouth’s King Leir, which has often been associated but is likely unrelated to Llŷr.