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Last Updated: Saturday, 12 April, 2003, 10:34 GMT 11:34 UK
Tourists to return to poet's home
Workman at the writing shed
The writing shed near the Boathouse cost 75 to build, but 20,000 to restore
Tourists are getting ready to visit Dylan Thomas' historic west Wales home for the first time since major renovation work was completed.

The poet's famous Boathouse and nearby wooden writing shed at Laugharne, were repaired at a cost of 70,000, and were officially reopened on Saturday - in plenty of time for the 50th anniversary of the poet's death, which is in November.

Thomas was born in Swansea but his family roots were in Carmarthenshire - the county which provided him with much of his inspiration.

He lived at the Boathouse for the last four years of his life, during which time many major pieces of work were written, including Under Milk Wood.

The picturesque house, which the Swansea-born poet shared with wife Caitlin from 1949, overlooks the Taf Estuary, an area rich in wildlife and popular with birdwatchers.

The small bright blue wooden shed which stands 200 yards away was built as a garage for just 75 in 1924.

The writing shed
The classic Under Milk Wood was composed in the writing shed

After his death in New York, the poetic retreat became rotten, and there were fears it could fall in to the water.

It was given a 20,000 refurbishment last year, which included plastering, redecorating and rewiring.

The Boathouse - which had been attracting 20,000 people a year - also had a 50,000 makeover.

Leaders of the restoration project believe they have faithfully recreated the ambience of Thomas' original home and workshop.

Cemetery

Hundreds more visitors are expected to descend on Laugharne in 2003 for a programme of events to mark the anniversary of Thomas' death.

The poet and his wife are buried in the cemetery at St Martin's Church.

"We are expecting a large number of visitors to Laugharne this year," said Carmarthenshire County Council leisure chief Colin James.

"These works have been carried out to secure the sites for future generations."

In Swansea, visitors on a new "Writers' Routes" trail can also take in Thomas' Swansea birthplace Cwmdonkin Drive, the Dylan Thomas Centre and Dylan's Bookstore.

The Easter weekend is expected to be the first in the season of festivities.




SEE ALSO:
Festival marks Dylan's death
08 Apr 03  |  Wales


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