Dylan Thomas’s granddaughter talks of her love for Laugharne Castle

Thursday 21 November 2013

As literary lovers across the world prepare to celebrate the birth of Dylan Thomas, his granddaughter Hannah has spoken of her love of the Welsh Cadw sites that inspired the writer in the latest edition of Cadw’s Heritage in Wales magazine.

Hannah Ellis / Laugharne Castle

Hannah Ellis / Laugharne Castle

Hannah Ellis, an honorary patron of the Dylan Thomas 100 festival, says she now likes to visit Cadw sites including Laugharne Castle and Castell Coch with her own son Charlie.

Laugharne is the most likely inspiration of Dylan Thomas’s most famous work, Under Milk Wood.

‘My favourite site is Laugharne Castle, as a whole it is a special place to me,’ Hannah said.

‘My mother’s ashes are scattered at the Boathouse in Laugharne.

‘Over the last four years I have spent more and more time here and have explored the castle with my four-year-old son Charlie.

‘I love how the castle feeds Charlie’s imagination; he likes to pretend he is a knight in search of a dragon.

‘Strangely, every time I visit I always see a cat in the window of the castle.

‘It’s not always the same cat but it’s in the same window and I can’t help but wonder who that cat might have been in a previous life.'

Dylan Thomas famously wrote A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog in the gazebo at Laugharne and Hannah says the view from there ‘would have inspired him most’.

‘I always make sure I go to the gazebo and try to have a few moments of quiet.

‘The views are stunning from there and it was the sea that inspired my grandfather the most.’

Hannah also enjoys exploring other famous Welsh sites — an interest she has kept since she was a young child.

‘I have strong memories of visiting Kidwelly Castle on a school trip and imagining it being invaded,’ she said.

‘I also remember, as a child, while on many journeys from London to Laugharne, knowing we had arrived in Wales when I saw the castle in the clouds, which was Castell Coch.

‘I’m planning to revisit both with Charlie.’

The Dylan Thomas 100 Festival will take place next year. Theatre performances, visual arts, comedy, television, film and exhibitions will be held across Wales for the event.

Hannah said: ‘I’m looking at the festival as an opportunity to celebrate my grandfather’s work, to encourage a new generation to discover his writing as well as to encourage those who think they know Dylan Thomas to discover his less well-known work.

‘I want to help bring to life the places that inspired him and look at how his words are connected to Wales.

‘A whole year of events is planned in Wales and the world from new productions of Under Milk Wood to an amazing exhibition of unseen art by Sir Peter Blake at National Museum Cardiff.

‘My grandfather was keen to use modern technology to share his work so I wanted to do the same through apps and e-books to make his work as accessible as possible.

‘I really can’t wait for the celebrations to start.’

As part of the Dylan Thomas celebrations Cadw is organising a series of events through the year at Laugharne Castle culminating in a festival of Poetry and Film, as well as new interpretation including a Cabinet of Curiosities.

For more information about the Dylan Thomas 100 Festival visit dylanthomas100.org