Carmarthen (Caerfyrddin), Carmarthenshire
A short tour of a west Wales market town
(Photos © urban75, June 2009)
Carmarthen is the county town of Carmarthenshire, Wales. Sited on the River Towy, the town's history stretches to pre-Roman times, and lays claims to be the the oldest town in Wales.
Home to a large proportion of Welsh speakers, Carmarthen hosted the National Eisteddfod in 1867, 1911 and 1974.
Carmarthen served as the judicial headquarters of the Court of Great Sessions for south-west Wales, with agriculture and woolen manufacture being the dominant industries in 16th and 17th centuries, before being replaced by iron and coal trades by the mid 18th century.
We were passing through the town on our way ti Cardigan, but hanks to Dr Beeching's cruel railway cuts of the early 1960s, the line was abandoned nearly fifty years ago.
In fact, it's not even possible to travel from south or west Wales to north Wales without taking an unwanted detour into England, so our trip from London involved two trains, a long bus ride and a taxi.
Here's a photo taken at Swansea station - a rather downbeat kind of station in desperate need of refurbishment and a lick of paint - while we waited for our connection to take us westwards on to Carmarthen.
Wales is stuffed full of castles, and we spotted several on our journey onwards from Swansea.
End of the line, Carmarthen station.
Once a bustling junction for now-closed branch lines northwards to Newcastle Emlyn, Aberayron and Aberystwyth, and also a connecting line to the Heart of Wales line at Llandeilo, Carmarthen is now a terminus.
Carmarthen's County Hall, which stands on a hill right next to the castle. I thought it was a prison!
Looking west along the River Towy.
Carmarthen is an attractive county town.
The home of the Carmarthen Journal. Or, more accurately, the 'Jou nal' as the letter 'r' has fallen off.
Harding's Siop Y Seld, King Street.
Delightfully old fashioned D King Morgan Dispensing Chemists on King Street.
Inside, there were many original fittings, glass jars and traditional wooden counters.
St Peter's Church (Eglwys San Pedr) - Carmarthen's original parish church and its oldest building still in use for its original purpose.
Its recorded history dates from the reign of King Henry I (1100 -1135), with its first recorded vicar being Richard ap John in 1278. One of the largest churches in the Diocese of Saint David's, Saint Peter's measures 52 metres from west porch to east window and 15 metres wide across nave and south aisle.
Comprising a west tower, nave, chancel, south aisle and a Consistory Court, the church is built of local red sandstone and grey shale.
Opposite St Peter's Church is the Oriel Myrddin Gallery, which this work by Carmarthenshire based artist, Mark Folds.
The piece - part of his 'Comfort Zone' exhibition - comments on the low flying jets that thunder over the Welsh countryside.
These three plaques are sited opposite the church, in a small shelter.
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