Larger than life Welsh poet Dylan Thomas was born in Swansea in 1914. Although he died young (in 1953), he still left behind him a considerable legacy of work, which has seen him become one of the most well-known names in Welsh literature. Dylan started writing at a young age and produced a long list of poems and poetry collections, also trying his hand at writing stories and plays. His most famous works include ‘And Death Shall Have No Dominion’ and ‘Do Not Go Gentle In To That Good Night’, while he also published collections of poems, such as ‘Deaths and Entrances’, ‘The Map Of Love’ and ‘The Notebook Poems’.
Although Dylan Thomas died in New York, he spent much of his life in Wales, and lived in the New Quay area from 1944 until 1945. His time spent here is thought to be one of the inspirations behind his play ‘Under Milk Wood’. This famous work follows a colourful mix of characters (and ghosts) who live in a small fishing village, including Blind Captain Cat, and music obsessive ‘Organ Morgan’. Originally a radio drama, it was later adapted for stage and film.
The people of New Quay are very proud of this literary connection, and actively promote it through the ‘Dylan Thomas Trail’, which takes in places which inspired or were connected to the poet. Take a trip along the route and you’ll see Dylan’s favourite hotel, ‘The Black Lion’, which now has a restaurant named after him, the pub formerly known as ‘The Sailors Arms’, which appears in ‘Under Milk Wood’, and the bungalow where he lived called Majoda. There’s also the Towyn Chapel, ministered in Dylan’s time by a poet and preacher, possible character reference in ‘Under Milk Wood’.
New Quay is also featured on Dylanthomas.com, a website run by the Dylan Thomas Centre in Swansea. They promote several walking tours which take in many of the places he knew, lived in, and cited as influencing his work. To find out more about Dylan Thomas and New Quay, purchase the West Wales trail brochure. This trail starts and ends in Carmarthen, taking in Llandysul, Tenby, Laugharne, Fernhill, Llangain, and of course New Quay. Old haunts, quaint towns and villages, and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty all form part of the West Wales Trail, and the area of Wales where Dylan Thomas wrote some of his best work.