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Dylan Thomas

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Dylan Thomas

Explore the life, poetry and stories of this turbulent Welsh writer around South and West Wales. Feel the inspiration rising from the landscapes, the towns and the people he loved and used in his work. Follow the trails of his early years, his family life, his joy and his sadness and pay tribute to his talent.

 

Dylan Thomas’ Wales 

 
  • The Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea
    The new exhibition opened in October 2014 features an interactive, 3D timeline exploring Dylan’s life and work; an interactive trail for children; and a deconstructed shed installation that focuses on Dylan the writer by exploring his methods of composition and his creative relationships.
    www.dylanthomas.com/exhibition

    Located in, what was the Guild Hall, this tribute to the great writer provides a very good starting point from which to explore the city. The Centre's experienced literature and curatorial team can offer a variety of talks and lectures to suit all requirements. Coach parking is available and there are good group facilities. Booking is advised for larger groups. and a special talk can be arranged. www.dylanthomas.com 
  • Dylan Thomas' Boathouse
    It was Dylan Thomas, who made the boathouse in Laugharne iconic. It is the building most closely associated with him and the stability of a permanent home meant he enjoyed a creative renaissance. He worked in the Writing Shed above the Boathouse with its remarkable and inspiring views of four estuaries. www.dylanthomasboathouse.com 

  • 5 Cwmdonkin Drive and Cwmdonkin Park

    Opposite the park where he played as a boy and remembered in the poem ‘Should Lanterns Shine’, is the ‘provincial villa’ in which he was born. Visits can be arranged.
    Tel No: +44 (0)1792 405331/ +44 (0)781 775 3376.
    www.dylanthomasbirthplace.com
  • Mumbles and Gower

    A tour of Mumbles and Gower will explore this self-confessed townie’s influences from the ‘rather nice village’ of Mumbles through ‘a very beautiful peninsular …one of the loveliest sea-coast stretches in the whole of Britain’. Visit the villages and the spectacular Worm’s Head where there is a Visitor Centre and facilities.
  • Swansea
    ‘Swansea is still the best place…’ Dylan wrote to a friend in 1938. He also thought it an ‘ugly, lovely town’ and a ‘marble-town, city of laughter, little Dublin’. This is where he was born, brought up and first worked, as a journalist for the South Wales Echo. Much of the Swansea he knew was destroyed during World War 2 leaving a desolate landscape described tenderly in his first BBC radio play, broadcast in 1947, ‘Return Journey’. Today the visitor will see the redeveloped city that still resonates with the lilting tones of its famous son. www.visitswanseabay.com
 
 
  • West Wales

    In 1938, having married the ‘fiery, fearless and quick tempered’ Caitlin Macnamara in Cornwall, Dylan moved to Laugharne, in Carmarthenshire, and here their first child, Llewelyn is born.
  • Carmarthen

    Often visited during his time in Laugharne, 10 miles further west, this town has many connections with the great poet. Well worth a stop and not only for the Dylan Thomas connections but also for the market, the pubs and the shops.
    www.visit.carmarthenshire.gov.uk  
  • Laugharne

    Dylan spent most of his adult life living and working in Laugharne.  During the Thomas’ time this was a poor village, rents were low and so they moved into ‘Sea View’ after a brief stay with his parents at Llangain, outside Carmarthen, and near to his inspiration for Fern Hill. They were to return in 1949 moving into The Boathouse where the ‘sea shaken on a breakneck of rocks’ and the unique character of Laugharne became a catalyst for some of his most famous works. This is a great visit with tea room, audio visual and bookshop. Also, the graveyard where both Dylan and Caitlin are buried is easily accessed from the main road into the ancient township. 
    www.discovercarmarthenshire.com
  • Dylan’s Birthday Walk
    In 1944, Dylan wrote 'Poem in October' about his birthday walk, to the shoulder of Sir John's hill. The poem is simply about his love of Laugharne and getting older. The poem was set on the 27th of October, 1944; his 30th Birthday. The estuary sounds and the memory of the herons awaiting the tide were on his mind.

    The 2 mile walk starts from the Foreshore car park to the shoulder of Sir Johns Hill, then returns to Laugharne where visitors can receive free gifts & discounts from participating businesses, such as free drinks, food and entry to Dylan Thomas Boathouse. www.dylanthomasbirthdaywalk.co.uk  
  • Dylan Thomas's drinking den in Laugharne - Browns hotel has re-opened as a 1940s styled boutique hotel...vintage suitcases and old railway luggage racks in the rooms, each room named after local places and poems with door signs written in Dylan's signature. It has 14 double rooms + 2 bed apt with kitchen + bar/breakfast room and reading room.  Classic cocktails 40s/50s offered in the bar plus Welsh afternoon tea & a bar menu for residents.
    www.browns-hotel.co.uk  
  • The Laugharne Festival is held every three years in early August.  Smaller events are held on non-festival years.   There's also a Laugharne Weekend Festival in April.  A mixture of literature, music and drama.  
  • New Quay

    In 1944, for £1 a week, the Thomas family rented a bungalow called Majola in ‘the toppling town’ for 9 months. The stay was short but, for Dylan, very productive. His favourite pub was The Black Lion, described in ‘Quite Early One Morning’ as ‘Pink washed pub…waiting for Saturday night as an over-jolly girl waits for sailors’. It was here that an event occurred that led to the Thomas’ family moving on. There is parking at the top of town and the Trail devised locally will show the visitor all the connections and inspirations for Dylan’s work whilst here. There are further places to visit in the surrounding countryside which are well chronicled in David Thomas’ two books about Dylan in Cardiganshire.  www.discoverceredigion.co.uk
  • Fishguard

    Lower Town is where Andrew Sinclair made his film of ‘Under Milk Wood’ with Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, Peter O’Tool and the cream of Welsh actors. A continuing debate surrounds the actual location for Dylan’s Llareggub – Laugharne or New Quay. www.fishguardonline.com  
  • Tenby

    Augustus John, a painter who lived in Tenby and was to later introduce Dylan and Caitlin describes the town as ‘beautiful: it is so restful, so colourful and so unspoilt’. And so it is, even today. Coincidentally, Augustus John was one of two Tenby artists who affected Dylan throughout his life. The other was Nina Hamnett, the legendary queen of bohemia in London and Paris. www.virtualtenby.co.uk
 
For a list of tourist information centres including contact details click here

 

 

 
  • 27 October, 1914 – Born in 5, Cwmdonkin Drive, Uplands, Swansea 
  • 27 April, 1930 - Dylan starts the first of the 'Notebooks' into which he copied his early poems 
  • 1931-32 Works for South Wales Daily Post
  • 1932 - Acts with Swansea Little Theatre Co.
  • 1934 – First collection, 18 Poems, published. Moves to London
  • 1936 – Second collection, Twenty Five Poems, published. Meets Caitlin Macnamara
  • 1937 – Marries Caitlin. They move to Laugharne the following year
  • 1939 – The Map of Love (poems & stories) published. First son, Llewelyn Edouard, born
  • 1940 – Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog (stories) published. Leaves Laugharne
  • 1943 – Continuous work as a broadcaster for the BBC & for Strand Films. Daughter Aeronwy Bryn born.
  • 1944 – Lives partly at Majoda, in New Quay, west Wales, & partly in London
  • 1946 – Deaths and Entrances published
  • 1946 – 1949 – living in Oxfordshire and London
  • 1947 - Society of Authors awards Dylan a £150 Travelling Scholarship and he visits Italy
 
 
  • 1948 – Works on scripts for Gainsborough Films
  • 1949 – Visits Prague as a guest of the Czechoslovak government
  • 1949 – The Boat House at Laugharne becomes his main home. Colm Garan Hart born
  • 1950 – First American tour
  • 1951 – In Iran, writing a film script for the Anglo – Iranian oil company
  • 1952 – Collected Poems 1934 – 1952 published. Second American tour, this time accompanied by Caitlin 
  • April – June 1953 – Third American Tour, & first stage performance of Under Milk Wood
  • October 1953 – Fourth American Tour
  • 9 November, 1953 – Dies in St Vincent’s Hospital, New York, during fourth American tour
  • 25 November, 1953 – buried in Laugharne
  • 1954 – First BBC Broadcast of Under Milk Wood. Dylan’s friend Richard Burton is First Voice
  • 1994 – Caitlin dies in Italy, but is buried in Laugharne
  • 1995 – Dylan Thomas Centre opens
  • 1998 – First annual Dylan Thomas Festival
 

 

See sample itinerary - In Dylan's Footsteps

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