Pontarddulais, West Glamorgan, UK, is a town that lies between Swansea and Llanelli in Wales, and is on the county border with Dyfed. It is believed by some that the meaning of its name derives from the Welsh for 'bridge over the dark stream'. The name can be pronounced in several ways, but Pont-uh-dill-us will get you by. Most locals call it The Bont, for short.
There are several pubs in Pontarddulais, all within a very short distance of each other, and which cater to most tastes. Conveniently, they are also very close to take-away restaurants1. There is plenty of free car parking, but watch out for residents-only parking, because once or twice a week a traffic warden visits the town.
The parish church, known locally as 'The Church on the Marsh', is known to be very old, and after many years of vandalism and weather damage, it was decided to move and preserve the building. During the course of its demolition, a number of murals dating back to the 13th Century were discovered. These, together with the church itself, are being restored and will eventually take their place in the Welsh Folk Museum at St Fagan's, near Cardiff.
The church used to stand on a site several hundred yards downstream from where Pontarddulais now is, and was an important staging post for pilgrims travelling to St David's. It was located between what would have been the only fordable parts of the River Loughor for several miles. Upstream, the river has a rocky, shallow area which can be waded across reasonably safely, while downstream, where the river starts to widen into the estuary, it is possible to wade across only when the tide is very low. There is also some evidence that at this point in the river there would have existed a ferry, presumably for the richer pilgrims.
Pontarddulais no longer has any architectural or historic remains of any significance. The town is now famous by association, as Dennis O'Neill, the Opera singer, is one the town's sons. It is also well regarded for its male choir, its brass band, and the bread-and-butter pudding in the Fountain Inn.