Travel United Kingdom Visit Wales

Visit Wales: Carmarthen Castle

In the heart of West Wales is Carmarthen town centre, a town said to be the oldest town in Wales.

So naturally, it makes sense that the oldest town in Wales will have a castle. Like Cardiff, Carmarthen castle sits amongst the hub of modern day life. Cars trundle by, and shops operate around a life that used to be a lot different.

The castle is accessed by the town, but once you head through the entrance, you are greeted with something a little different.

The castle walls slope around, once the castle motte, and when you follow it, you see the sight of a busy road. The castle, now only ruins, still stands above the River Twyi, but it is no longer as imposing as once intended.

The castle, now owned by Cadw, is said to be from 1105, maybe even earlier. The castle inevitably went under several attacks as people tried to claim Carmarthen and Wales as their own, and particularly during the battles of the Welsh and English during the 12th and 13th centuries.

The castle would have once had a dungeon, a great tower – one you can go into today – a gatehouse, a hall, kitchen and a chapel. Now, however, what only remains in the motte, and the ruin of a tower.

However, the structure of the castle defences still pretty much remain.

I found the castle to be a slightly disappointing visit, only because of the mess that was left around. Litter was strewn over blocked off steps, which may have once led to a dungeon. Empty plastic bottles, crushed beer cans, and empty crisp packets have either been dumped or blown into the castle’s walls.

The castle is simply now a thoroughfare for people to get to a car park, or head somewhere else. There are some displays as you enter telling you who would have once lived at the castle.

Carmarthen Castle maybe worth visiting, if you’re after a bit of history, but I would recommend having other places to visit on your list, too!

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