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Laugharne, Carmarthenshire

The fame of Laugharne (Talacharn: Tal-a-ckarn) has been spread throughout the world by its association with Dylan Thomas, who died in 1953 in New York City. To get to this charming, little town with its imposing castle ruins and its "heron-priested shore," we need to bypass the towns of Swansea and Carmarthen and then turn towards the coast at St. Clear's.

Dylan Thomas' House Laugharne WalesLaugharne (pronounced Larne in English) has become a busy little town that takes full advantage of the thousands of tourists who come to see where Dylan wrote much of his poetry and where Brown's Hotel on the main street was the site of many a drunken binge involving Dylan (pronounced Dulan) and his wife Caitlin (an Irish name pronounced Kathleen).

Here you'll find Dylan's unpretentious grave in the little churchyard and the beautiful walk along the tidal estuary of the River Taf, where the little fishing boats still "tilt and ride". Walk past the castle and up the steep hill to the boathouse, and you see where he and Caitlin lived, loved and fought together, with its accompanying paper-strewn and empty-beer-bottle-littered shack where the enigmatic, gifted, untidy wretch of a man wrote many of his minor masterpieces.

An annual July festival now takes place in Laugharne to celebrate Dylan's work, but the town was also home for a time to lesser-known but important Welsh writer Edward Thomas (1878-1917) whose "Beautiful Wales" contains a number of Carmarthenshire folk songs and poems. Summertime tourist traffic brings chaos to the narrow streets of Laugharne, but you can find escape in the lonely fields and lanes on your way westward to the next sacred spot in coastal south Pembrokeshire.

Next Stop: Caldey Island & St. Govan's Chapel
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