Dylan Thomas in New Quay

From 1 September 1944 until July 1945 Dylan Thomas and Caitlin rented Majoda, a bungalow made of wood and asbestos with basic amenities overlooking Cardigan Bay, New Quay. It was close to the Black Lion Hotel, run by Jack Patrick, which became a favourite haunt of Dylan’s, and to Vera and William Killick’s Ffnonnfeddyg bungalow.

It was my thirtieth year to heaven
Woke to my hearing from harbour and neighbour wood
And the mussel pooled and the heron
Priested shore
The morning beckon
With water praying and call of seagull and rook
And the knock of sailing boats on the net webbed wall
Myself to set foot
That second
In the still sleeping town and set forth…..

[The opening lines of 'Poem in October']

The Thomases' bohemian lifestyle upset William Killick, a Captain in the Royal Engineers, home on leave, sufficiently for him to shoot at the occupants of Majoda one drunken night.

Whist living in New Quay Dylan wrote the radio scripts ‘Quite early one morning’ and ‘Memories of Christmas’ and some of his best poems, including ‘Fern Hill’, ‘Poem in October’, ‘Vision and Prayer’, ‘Holy Spring’ and ‘A Refusal to Mourn the Death, by Fire, Of A Child in London’. These poems went into Deaths and Entrances (1946).

The Thomases also drank at the Dolau Inn, Chapel Street, which was Caitlin’s favourite local. Alistair Graham, Evelyn Waugh’s former lover and nephew of the Duchess of Montrose, the inspiration for Sebastian Flyte in Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited and a probable inspiration for Dylan’s Lord Cut-Glass, was a regular.

The Dylan Thomas Trail in New Quay traces the links between the town and Under Milk Wood.

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