Sport in Carmarthen

“Come on the Town”, “the Athletic” or “the Quins” are oft-heard cries in Carmarthen from Autumn to Spring. But never be carried away by the thought that Merlin’s town is for rugby and soccer alone!

Cricketers, especially of the famed Wanderers Club, based now at Trinity Fields, have their turn in summer, whilst those who enjoy bowls have excellent indoor and outdoor facilities. Athletics and cross-country runners too enjoy much support. Men’s and women’s teams often host international competitors on the Johnstown running track.

Netball and hockey teams too have been much to the fore in recent years, especially with their links, not least in fitness training, with the Leisure Centre. Indeed, the Leisure Centre facilities have been fully extended to cater for squash, badminton, judo, table tennis and, of course, swimming in the indoor pool. Tennis courts are also available at the Centre.

The Mayor's Fun Run is an established fixture on Easter Monday, with competitors of all ages and standards, some in character costumes. Established and run for 25 years by Dr and Mrs Hedydd Davies, the event continues to raise money for local charities.

Near the heart of the town lies the extensive Carmarthen Park. The famous concrete cycle track encircles an arena that has featured the gladiatorial combat of the town’s two rugby clubs, the ‘Athletic’ and the ‘Quins’. Both young and old alike enjoy the avenues and open parkland with its children’s play area and skateboard park, Victorian bandstand, Gorsedd Stones, flower beds and trees.

Another sports arena that has been developed in recent years is Richmond Park, home of association football. Carmarthen Town’s first XI enjoys the new facilities at the ground and teams of all ages are being encouraged to develop their talents there. Vehicle access and car parking is off Priory Street.

Education

The University of Wales Trinity Saint David came into existence through the merger of Trinity University College and the University of Wales Lampeter, and offers a range of bilingual degree courses. Coleg Sir Gâr occupies sites at Pibwrlwyd and Job’s Well Road and provides a range of further and higher education courses.

The Queen Elizabeth High School and Rhydygors Special School are located in Johnstown, while Bro Myrddin School near Pibwrlwyd provides Welsh medium education for pupils from 11 to 18 years.

There are six modern primary schools in the town. Ysgol-y-Dderwen provides Welsh medium education and Myrddin Primary School has a special unit attached to it. The Model School is a Church in Wales school, while St. Mary’s is a Roman Catholic School. The other two schools are Richmond Park Primary School and Johnstown Primary School. A wide range of day and evening classes is held in the Community Centre in Furnace Road near the Town Library.

Culture

Urdd Gobaith Cymru (the Welsh League of Youth) town branch meets weekly at Trinity College and a youth club is based at the Community Centre. Annually, the Carmarthen and District Youth Opera and Carmarthen Amateur Operatic Society stage musicals and operas at the Lyric Theatre. The Carmarthen Male Voice Choir, the Merlin Singers, Côr Caerfyrddin, the Carmarthen Symphonic Wind Band, Côr Seingar, Côr Coleg y Drindod and Côr Tonic practice weekly and perform regularly in the town and throughout Wales.

St. Peter’s Players drama company, the Cwlwm Comedy Festival, and Just Good Friends attract ‘full houses’. Numerous societies such as the Civic Society, the Sketch Club, the Dyfed Family History Society, the Friends of Carmarthen Museum, the Friends of Carmarthenshire Archives and many others meet regularly in the town. Oriel Myrddin is the home for fine arts and craft exhibitions and the Carmarthenshire Museum is located at Abergwili (see above).

The Library is a very popular meeting place and holds a large stock of books, computers, museum displays and various other resources.

Exhibitions are held in a hall and rooms in the Library. Cultural events, coffee mornings, darts tournaments, craft fairs and record fairs are held at St. Peter’s Civic Hall in Nott Square. Cultural events are also held at the Lyric Theatre and the Haliwell Theatre at Trinity College. The Lyric is also used as a cinema, with the latest films shown on weekdays. In 2000 Parc Myrddin was opened at the Old Grammar School in Richmond Terrace, and houses Carmarthenshire’s Cultural Services headquarters, the County Council’s Archive Service, and the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

The Welsh Language

About half of the inhabitants of Carmarthen speak and use the Welsh language on a day-to-day basis, with many more able to understand it. In some of the surrounding communities Welsh is the majority language. The Welsh culture and language is prominent in the general life of the town, with a large number of Welsh chapels, churches and other organisations such as Merched-y-Wawr, Clwb Garddio and Cymdeithas Edward Llwyd.

Welsh societies meet regularly and hold a variety of weekly events. Mentrau Iaith Myrddin was established to co-ordinate and promote the language on a county wide basis and Menter Bro Myrddin covers the town and surrounding areas. The monthly Welsh newspaper Cwlwm sells over 1,000 copies in and around the town and carries news, photographs and articles in Welsh.

Town Twinning

Carmarthen is twinned with Lesneven in Brittany and with As Pontes in Galicia. Pupils, groups, families and individuals make exchange visits organised by the Carmarthen Twinning Association.

Cwlwm Monduli is an active association in the town which sends aid regularly to the Monduli area of Tanzania.

Festivals

Since 2006 the town's commercial and cultural life has benefited from a series of festivals.

Business in Carmarthen

With all the facilities of a county town, its rural surroundings and excellent transport connections, Carmarthen provides an ideal environment for existing and new businesses to develop and for their employees to live. Changes in the farming industry and the local economy have led to the designation of West Wales as an Objective 1 area by the European Union. Lying at the heart of this area, Carmarthen has had a unique opportunity to benefit from a wide range of initiatives under the programme, which has helped to further improve the local infrastructure and potential for business in the area. Carmarthen Chamber of Trade and Commerce represents the business community and promotes trade in the town: (http://www.carmarthenchamber.co.uk/) .

The historical importance of farming within the county has been reflected in initiatives to develop the food industry. Manufacturing and other companies have been attracted to the county from around the world. The visitor attractions described above offer some indication of the potential offered locally for businesses in the tourism and service sectors.
1923