Pronounced ‘Larn’ (as you’ll be informed by locals should you make the mistake of saying it incorrectly), poet Dylan Thomas lived in the town off and on for some 15 years and wrote some of his best known works here. Thomas worked in a tiny wooden shed which looks out over the River Tâf estuary and stands separate from his home, the Boathouse. Visitors can look through the shed’s window to see the workspace as the poet might have left it, crumpled paper on the floor under the wooden desk, silent and filled with the view of the Welsh waters – it’s not hard to see how Thomas’ ideas could have sparked in this tiny space.
Travellers can also visit the Boathouse, the home Thomas and his family lived in from 1949 until his death in 1953. Now his home is a small museum containing belongings, information boards, and plays a small film about his life on loop. While this is probably only for fans of his works, the Welsh cakes served in the house’s kitchen, with a piping hot cup of tea, are delicious on a cold autumn day.
Lovers of castles can visit Laugharne Castle, which overlooks the water. Originally built in the thirteenth century atop a Norman castle, the current building is apparently the work of the fifteenth century and was partially dismantled during the Civil War.
Well worth doing in any weather is Dylan Thomas’ Birthday Walk. As the name suggests, the walk traces the ground trod in ‘Poem in October’, which describes a walk Thomas took on his 30th birthday and takes travellers to beautiful, tranquil views. And for those who do the walk on their own birthday (bring proof), some local businesses will apparently give you freebies – happy birthday indeed!
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.”
- Extract from
‘Do not go gentle into that good night’
Unique Things to See and Do in Laugharne
- View Dylan Thomas’ tiny workspace in a shed overlooking the Tâf estuary
- Learn more about the poet at the Boathouse – and try the Welsh cakes!
- Wander around Laugharne Castle
- Ramble along the Dylan Thomas Birthday Walk
- Check out Brown’s Inn and the Pelican House, where Thomas’ father lived and died
Laugharne and the Poetry of Dylan Thomas
The relationship between Dylan Thomas and Laugharne appears to have been a curious one. He lived in the town, on and off, for some 15 years, saying that “some, like myself, just came, one day, for the day, and never left; got off the bus, and forgot to get on again”. He wrote great works while living there, calling it a “timeless, beautiful, barmy town” as well as “the strangest town in Wales”.
His work had its critics, but many will be familiar with ‘Do not go gentle into that good night’ while his poem ‘And death shall have no dominion’ made an appearance in the movie ‘Solaris’. Thomas’ poetry contains surrealist elements, but he was reportedly reluctant to subscribe to this movement as he believed the crafting of his work was at odds with it. His use of imagery, double meaning and his enjoyment of words make many of his poems a glorious read, and on a blustery autumn day, it’s easy to see how poems were born in this tiny town by the “visiting sea”.
Getting Around Laugharne
Visitors can drive to Laugharne on well-maintained Welsh roads, with parking available in the village. Regular buses run to and from Carmarthen and take about half an hour.
Ready to plan your visit to Wales? Check out these popular guides and trips.