Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Weird Stuff in Carmarthen

I have written before that Carmarthen (my nearest town) is a quirky little town. When I saw some coracle fishermen on the River Towy yesterday, I thought perhaps it was time to post some photographic evidence of Carmarthen's unique features. So although I wasn't quick enough to photograph the coracles, here are some pictures of some of Carmarthen's quirkier landmarks.

This is 'The Big Hat' a version of which has hung in Carmarthen's Lammas Street since the 19th Century. This is its latest incarnation. The story of The Big Hat may be found here.

Carmarthen obviously has a thing for attaching random large objects to buildings, because there is also a Big Coffee Pot in Guildhall Square...

I find some of the graffitti to be quite creative (if odd)! Unless it's been painted over/scrubbed off, this can be found between Nott Square and Guildhall Square.

Nott Square is home to a statue of its namesake, General William Nott, as well as the entrance to Carmarthen castle.

At the other end of Nott Square, standing outside the 'Nomads' shop you will find George the giraffe, who became a local cause celebre when the local council tried to ban him for Health & Safety reasons. There was such an outcry that George was reinstated to his rightful place and is now safely chained to the front of the shop, in a compromise that satisfies both the over-anxious council and Carmarthen's giraffe lovers.

The King Morgan pharmacy at the top of King Street has been established for many, many years, and still displays antique pharmacy bottles & jars in its windows. The stained glass door, tiled floor and old wooden cabinets inside make you feel like you've stepped back in time. There is now a bridge leading from the railway station, across the River Towy to the town (Blue Street) that is named after the King Morgan family, who served the medical needs of the townspeople for many years.

This is the tower of St Peters church, the subject of a rather odd prophecy that I mentioned in my previous post about Carmarthen...

And here's a statue of Merlin himself, gracing the newly-named Merlin's Walk (formerly Greyfriars). Rather appropriately it's carved from a huge chunk of oak. I like it, though it caused a bit of consternation amongst some that a good Christian placename (Greyfriars) was being replaced with one with Pagan associations! Which just proves you can't please everyone. There's lots of details here about Merlin's long association with Carmarthen. I reckon he preceded the grey friars in their medieval monastery anyway!

There are other sights like the Roman Amphitheatre and Merlin's Hill that I haven't got around to photographing yet - look out for 'Weird Stuff in Carmarthen II' some time in the future!


Heddwen said...

Lets hear it for Carmarthen :) I spent 3 wonderful years there. I wonder does the oak still exist? I heard it was in Abergwili museum. Also Have you been up Merlins hill? I can never seem to find the way there.I'm certainthe place must be a magical hollow hill.

Dartford Warbler said...

I wish we had spent more time exploring Carmarthen. We seemed to be caught in constant traffic jams when we stayed there for a few nights, some years ago.

Thank you for a virtual walk. Lots of lovely old buildings and interesting nooks and crannies. The Towey Valley is one of the most beautiful river valleys I have ever seen.

Infinite Possibilities said...

I love your blog.

Mina said...

I adore your quirky little town. One day I hope I am lucky enough to pay a visit to Wales, Ireland, all of those places seeping in rich history. Thank you for sharing such wonderful photos.

Daniel Lea said...

I give walking tours of Carmarthen frequently from its Medieval Castle past the old Prisoners Gate location , the hidden Nuclear Bunker , giving stories and historical information . William Paxton who ran for office and offered over 11,000 breakfasts , over 35,000 dinners , over 25,000 gallons of ale and more . He didn't get into power though , I bet they were all sleeping it off !! . There is loads here come visit Carmarthen !!