local history & folklore
Merlin King Arthur's Wizard
Carmarthen is our local town. Its Welsh name Caerfyrddin means 'Merlins Fort' and many believed that King Arthur's wizard Merlin was one of the towns earliest residents. It is believed Merlin once said "When Merlin's Tree shall tumble down, then shall fall Carmarthen Town"
Merlins Oak stood on the corner of Oak Lane and Priory Street in the town centre, and the wizard's rather alarming prophecy was put to the test last century. Although the tree died ion 1856, after a local man deliberately poisoned it to stop people having meetings under it, the stump remained standing until it was destroyed by fire and removed in 1978. After its removal Carmarthen suffered the worst flooding in living memory. Whether it was the prophecy or just coincidence, what remains of Merlin's Oak has been preserved and is on display in the civic hall. A replacement oak has been planted at the same location, just in case!
The ancient town of Kidwlly lies on the Gwendraeth estuary above Carmarthen Bay, and is overlooked by Kidwelly Castle on of the finest preserved Norman castles in Wales. Visitors to the castle might feel the presence of Welsh Princess Gwenbllian who led an outnumbered Welsh army into battle against the attacking Norman forces in 1136. She was captured and beheaded on the battlefield which is now known as Maes Gwenllian (Gwenllian's field).
And.... did you know Monty Python fans will recognise Kidwelly Castle from the first scene in their film Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
Laugharne is most famously associated with Welsh poet Dylan Thomas who lived there in the years before his untimely death, he described it as a "timeless, mild, beguiling island of a town". The Boathouse where Dylan Thomas lived is open to the public as a museum. Dylan Thomas penned his famous play 'Under Milk Wood' in the Writing Shed. You can see it just as if he's popped out for a walk.
On the Loughor estuary with its stunning views across to the Gower Amelia Earhart ended her record-breaking transatlantic flight in her seaplane named 'Friendship'. Her achievement is commemorated at the Amelia Earhart Gardens, as well as a grade II listed monument overlooking Burry Port harbour, and Amelia's restaurant at the Ashburnham Hotel where she, her co-pilot and her mechanic stayed after her historic landing.