A visit made to Donegal by the famous Welsh poet Dylan Thomas is recounted in a new book about him by Irish author Jackie Hayden. The book A Map of Love-Around Wales with Dylan Thomas, contains a section about Thomas’ Irish connections including a holiday he took in Ardara.
According to Hayden, “Despite having an Irish wife, Caitlin Macnamara, Dylan only made two visits to Ireland in his life. He came to Ardara with the English critic Geoffrey Grigson and thoroughly enjoyed the food and drink he partook of while here. In fact, he was enjoying himself so much that when Grigson announced that he had to return to London, Dylan opted to stay on. There are rumours that he left one or two unpaid bills too. He had a fondness for places close to the sea, so Ardara would have suited him nicely, although Thomas’ biographers have mistakenly spelled the name as Adara.”
Hayden’s project also focuses on the places in Wales associated with the poet Dylan Thomas and referenced in his works. Hayden’s CD script is read by Welsh arch-druid Jim Parc Nest, and was recorded in the room where Dylan was born in Swansea. Thomas was living in The Boathouse in Laugharne when he died in 1953, so the launch and the book/CD link both ends of Thomas’ life.
As Hayden explains: “I first became attracted to Dylan Thomas through reading that Bob Dylan, another hero of mine, had changed his name because of his admiration for the Welsh poet. He also once recorded under the name Robert Milkwood Thomas, an obvious blend of his own name with that of Dylan Thomas and Thomas’ great work Under Mild Wood. John Lennon was also another admirer, and was responsible for Thomas’ face featuring on the famous Sergeant Pepper album sleeve. Over the years I’ve made countless visits to the places in Wales associated with Thomas and His writings, and it was a particular privilege to be able to record the CD in the very room where Thomas was born. A Map of Love explores how literary works can attract a reader to the places associated with an author and his works, but it also suggests how knowledge of those places can enhance the reading of the works.”
The book/CD A Map of Love-Around Wales with Dylan Thomas is the follow-up to Hayden’s number one bestseller of last year, My Boy, his biography of Phil Lynott based on interviews he recorded with the rock stars mother Philomena, and is published jointly by Iconau Books and Fflach Records.