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Today in weird literary tourism: there’s a Welsh spa named for Dylan Thomas’s Milk Wood

Jonny Diamond

October 20, 2020, 1:28pm

Yesterday we brought you news that the Dublin house immortalized by James Joyce’s “The Dead” will be converted to a luxury hotel; today, via the Bristol Post, we alert you to the booming tourist action around one of Dylan Thomas’s favorite coastal haunts, the tiny Welsh town of Laugharne.

In a linguistic turn worthy of the great poet’s lexical vibrancy, the locus for Laugharne’s out-of-towner luxury is called The Dylan Coastal Resort, which features such diversions as the Milk Wood House Spa (named for the made-up town that is the setting for Thomas’s beloved read-aloud, Under Milk Wood), the Dylan Lodge (complete with hot tub, in which Thomas probably would have washed his socks), and the Boat House Tea Room (the boathouse being one of the spots Thomas often worked, the other being a little writing shed that visitors can have a peek at).

I don’t begrudge the town of Laugharne a few tourist dollars, but it’s hard to imagine what a perpetually broke Thomas would make of the extravagant luxury of the resort that bears his name. As the writer of the travel piece in question says, with an awful lot of emphasis on the word “if”:

If you set aside the impact of Thomas’s fame, his reputation as a heavy drinker, his renowned poetry and prose for a moment, a visitor here will quickly discover that Laugharne also happens to be a rather pleasant place to stay.

See below for the resort’s painstaking recreation of the White Horse Tavern, c. 1953, where Thomas spent his last night on earth.

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