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Caitlín Thomas, née Mac Namara
(1913 - 1994)

Wife of the poet Dylan Thomas, Caitlín Mac Namara was born in London in December, 1913. Her father was Francis Mac Namara of Ennistymon House in County Clare. Her mother was Yvonne Majolier. They had married in 1907 and had spent part of their honeymoon with Lady Gregory at Coole Park. A son John, and three daughters, Nicolette, Brigit and Caitlín, were born to them. Caitlín's father deserted the family for a series of liaisons and her mother moved to Hampshire. Francis, however, continued to be an important figure in his family's life.

The Mac Namaras were brought up with the neighbouring family of the artist, Augustus John. Caitlín, who was a striking young woman, sat for him and became his lover. In her twenties she spent some years in Ennistymon, sailing with her father in Galway Bay in a converted hooker and serving drinks after he converted Ennistymon House into the Falls Hotel. Caitlíns sister, Nicolette Devas, wrote of her colourful childhood in Ennistymon and Doolin in her autobiography Two Flamboyant Fathers.

In July 1937 Caitlín married Dylan Thomas, who at the age of twenty five, was already recognised as a poet of promise. It was a very stormy marriage. They had no money, he had no regular income. They moved from one temporary address to another. Their first son, Llewellyn, was born in 1939, followed by a daughter Aeronwy, and a second son, Colm, born in 1949. By 1940 Dylan Thomas had established his reputation with two poetry collections and a book of stories. Between 1950 and 1953 he made four tours of the United States. Meanwhile, the Thomas marriage was in decline, with increasing rows and infidelities and worsening alcoholism. Dylan died on 9th November 1953 while on a lecture tour in New York.

Friends in Swansea set up a trust to administer the income from his writings for the benefit of Caitlín and their three children. Within twenty years royalties had increased from £500 a year to over £20,000 but Caitlín's disdain for money and her alcoholism created continuing difficulties with the trustees. In 1957 she published "Left Over Life to Kill", a powerful and rather bitter book about her life with Dylan Thomas. In 1963 she wrote "Not Quite Posthumous Letter to My Daughter". Both books were poorly received.

In 1957 she moved to Italy and joined a Sicilian, Giuseppe Fozia, who worked in films. They had one son, Francesco, born when Caitlín was 49. She died in Catania, Sicily, on 31st July 1994. She is buried beside her husband, Dylan Thomas, in the churchyard at Laugharne in Wales.

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Caitlin Thomas