Laugharne // (Welsh: Talacharn) is a town in Carmarthenshire, Wales, lying on the estuary of the River Tâf. It is known for having been the home of Dylan Thomas from 1949 until his death in 1953, and is thought to have been an inspiration for the fictional town of Llareggub in Under Milk Wood. The Township was originally known as Abercorran, but this was changed to Laugharne after the Civil War, in honour of Major-General Rowland Laugharne, a renowned local army officer, who had commanded a Parliamentarian army, before rebelling in 1648.
In the early 12th century, grants of lands were made to Flemings by Henry I when their country was flooded, and later they were joined by Flemish soldiers banished by Henry II. They were weavers and dyers and were such an influence that Welsh was hardly ever heard in Laugharne.
A castle, known originally as the Castle of Abercorran, existed in Laugharne before the Norman Conquest and belonged to the princes of South Wales. Henry II visited it in 1172 on his return from Ireland and made peace with Prince Rhys of Dinefwr. Through the marriage of Prince Rhys' daughter, the castle passed to Sir Guy de Brian, who had been Lord High Admiral of England. His daughter Elizabeth inherited the castle and married Owen Laugharne of St. Bride's who gave his name to the castle.
Possession passed to the Crown and during the 16th century belonged to Sir John Perrot, returning to the crown after his death. In 1644 the castle was garrisoned for the king and taken for Parliament by Major-General Rowland Laugharne, who subsequently reverted to the king's side. This led Cromwell to lay siege to the castle, burning and leaving it in ruins.
Laugharne is mentioned as being affected by the Bristol Channel floods, 1607. It is not known whether this had any long-term effects on the town, but it may have contributed to the silting up of the harbour, which at one time had seen imports of coal and tobacco from the New World.
A photo of the atmospheric ruined castle.
For our first full day we planned to catch the boat across to Skomer Island which is famous for its breeding Puffins and Manx Shearwaters. It was a bank holiday weekend in peak Puffin time so we left very early to make sure we got onto one of the limited places in the boat across. (only 250 people are allowed onto the island in any given day and the boat carries around 50 people). We managed to get onto the first crossing at 10am so we had plenty of time for some birding and sight seeing first.
Here's a view of Skomer Island from the mainland.
My birding friends, Jane, Lou and Emma after watching an obliging Grasshopper Warbler. Even though this was early May, you can see that we're still in winter birding gear!
At last, it was time to get down to the jetty to take the boat across to Skomer. It's the small blue and white boat in the photo below.
The rest of the photos in this post are of Puffins. We were told by the warden that they're quite late coming back to the Island to breed, so I wasn't surprised to see that there were not as many around as the last time I was here many years ago. Still, enough for some lovely photo opportunites! (-: