BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: Wales  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Tuesday, 18 February, 2003, 19:17 GMT
Japanese man's taxi ride for Dylan
Dylan Thomas' boathouse at Laugharne, Carmarthenshire
Visitors to the boathouse love the 'Thomas' landscape

People across the world love the work of Dylan Thomas but few are as determined as one Japanese man to see the place where the Welsh poet wrote much of his material.

For on a one-night stopover in the UK, he took an eight-hour round-trip taxi ride from London to west Wales to see the boathouse where the famous bard lived with his wife and children.

What excites people is sitting and looking at the views which inspired Dylan, noticing the features he mentioned in his works and taking in the whole atmosphere

Carmarthenshire councillor, Colin James

He spent just half an hour at the home in Laugharne, Carmarthenshire, where Thomas was based for the final years of his drink-fuelled life.

But it is one of the more surprising examples of how each year some 20,000 Dylan Thomas fans are prepared to seek out this quiet corner of Wales to pay homage to their literary inspiration.

The jet setter Japanese man recorded his two-country trip across England and Wales in the visitors' book at Laugharne.

He was just one of thousands of international visitors to see for themselves the area which provided Dylan Thomas with a constant source of inspiration.

Former US president, Bill Clinton
Dylan Thomas helped Clinton through life

Yet it echoes a similar pilgrimage made by a more well known Thomas fan, former US president, Bill Clinton.

Speaking at the Hay-on-Wye literary festival in 2002, Mr Clinton revealed that when he was an undergraduate at Oxford University in 1969, he also made the journey to Wales.

Only he was less successful than most who make the trip - his bus stopped and Cardiff and he spent the rest of the day in a local pub rather than travelling the final few miles.

Research shows that around 600 visitors from America visit Laugharne while another 500 come from Europe and more than 100 travel from Australia.

Other make the trip to the cliff-side house from South Africa, South America, China, Asia and Russia.

This year Carmarthenshire County Council, which owns the site, is expecting more than ever, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Thomas' death.

Dylan Thomas
It is 50 years since Dylan Thomas' death

To mark the event, the council is spending more than 50,000 on restoring the boathouse to its former glory.

A whole series of events, readings and performances are planned this year to mark the writer's death.

Thomas, who died at the age of 39 on 9 November in New York in 1953, is buried in Laugharne's St Martin's Church.

Talks, plays, poetry readings and tours around Swansea and its marina are taking place throughout 2003.

The council's head of leisure and recreation, Colin James, said: "The boathouse is of international importance.

'Pioneer'

"If people study English abroad, generally they study Dylan Thomas. His works have been translated into many languages and his appeal is very broad.

"Our visitor surveys show that what excites people is sitting and looking at the views which inspired Dylan, noticing the features he mentioned in his works and taking in the whole atmosphere."

Work on the boathouse is expected to be finished in March.


More from south west Wales
See also:

12 Dec 02 | Wales
28 Jul 98 | Entertainment
29 May 01 | Wales
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Wales stories are at the foot of the page.


 E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Wales stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes