Last updated: 06 November 2008
Dylan Thomas first visited Laugharne in 1934, but it was a lasting love and would become his final resting place.
The place now most commonly associated with Dylan Thomas is, rather than Swansea, more often Laugharne. His first visit there was in early 1934, where he described it as "the strangest town in Wales".
The sleepy seaside outpost in South Wales was an isolated English speaking town in an area of Welsh speaking countryside, and was known for the eccentricity of its inhabitants. Among them was a deaf mute ferryman, and the town also played host to a Rolls Royce converted into a mobile fish and chip shop.
Laugharne was the scene of the blossoming of Dylan's relationship with Caitlin. He went there in pursuit of her in July 1936. She was, at the time, in the company of the painter Augustus John - her old lover.
Dylan's arrival wasn't greeted well by John, but he nevertheless succeeded in winning the hand of Caitlin. It is likely that the burgeoning of their relationship in Laugharne gave the place added significance in their eyes later on.
The "timeless, mild, beguiling island of a town" eventually became the Thomases' home by accident rather than design. In 1938 Richard Hughes, a Laugharne resident who Dylan often relied upon for companionship and money, found him affordable accommodation there.
The house which was to become Dylan and Caitlin's first home was called Eros, and was situated on Gosport Street. Conditions were modest, but it suited the couple.
The pair became objects of curiosity for the other villagers. Paul Ferris, in his peerless biography of Thomas, wrote that "Neighbours peeked through the curtains to catch glimpses of young Mrs Thomas in a flowing purple housecoat, or watch her husband, who was thought to be a writer of some kind, trotting down the hill to fetch water from the public tap, dressed in pyjamas and an overcoat".
Three months after arriving at Eros, they moved into Sea View, a more spacious home, yet similarly basic. Caitlin fell pregnant, and Dylan worked on his third poetry volume The Map Of Love. But debts and uncertainty, plus the need for some stability once their son Llewelyn was born, meant they had to move on. In May 1940 they left Sea View, and Laugharne.
They returned in 1949, when one of Dylan's benefactors, Margaret Taylor (the wife of eminent historian AJP Taylor), bought the Boathouse for them for £3,000. Dylan loved it, with its cliff top shed for writing in and spectacular views. At the time they moved in, Caitlin was expecting their third child Colm, born in July.
It is fitting that Laugharne was to become Dylan Thomas' final resting place. After his death in New York his body was returned to Britain, and was buried in the grounds of St Martin's Church in Laugharne. Caitlin was also buried in the same plot following her death in 1994.
The Boat House is now a tourist attraction, attracting pilgrims from near and afar. It was considerably refurbished in 2003, the 50th anniversary of Dylan's death, and restored to the state it was in when the Thomases lived there.