Sunday, 28 December 2014


The A5 road south from Douglas leads to Castletown and on the way the road crosses FAIRY BRIDGE at Malew. Here, according to superstition, one should stop and greet the Fairies before crossing to avoid bad luck. 

CASTLETON, situated on Castletown Bay at the confluence of the River Silverburn, was the Manx capital until 1869 and its history can be traced
back to 1090.


This small town of just some 3,000 inhabitants is dominated by the well preserved medieval Castle Rushden.
The single handed clock on the castle keep, which was presented by Elizabeth 1st  in 1597, is still in working order.
The castle overlooks the Market Place where the Old St Mary's Church, now redundant and given over to office accommodation, is a prominent building.
A large monument in the Market Place commemorates Colonel Cornelius Smelt who was Lieutenant Governor of the Isle of Man from 1805 until 1832.

The Old House of Keys alongside the castle was the location of Tynwald, the Manx parliament, until it moved to Douglas in 1874. The building was renovated in 2000 and is now a museum.
The Old Grammar School is an interesting building near the harbour. It was originally built as a chapel between 1190 and 1230. It is now a museum exhibit.

Another fine building nearby is the town police station

CALF OF MAN is an island off the southwest coast of the Isle of Man. It is almost one square mile in size and is separated from the mainland by a narrow stretch of water known as Calf Sound. In private ownership until 1939 the island is now in the care of the National Trust. Apart from being a notable sea bird sanctuary it also has a large population of seals which live an breed on this
rocky coastline.

The south of the Isle of Man rises up to the mountainous area of
Snaefell Pike.

PORT ERIN is an attractive village situated in a sheltered bay in the
south-west of the island.


Spectacular views are to be had from the headland known as Bradda Head.

PEEL is a thriving fishing port on the west coast with a maritime history that spans hundreds of years. This seaside resort has a long sandy beach 
The magnificent medieval ruins of Peel Castle are situated on the tiny
St Patrick's Isle which is accessible via a walkway.

 This seaside resort has a long sandy beach 
Kippers have been produce in Peel since at least the 19th century and there are just two factories remaining. It is possible to see the preparation and smoking process and indeed to purchase this delicious product.
Many of the buildings and yards on the East Quay have been sympathetically renovated with old warehouses being transformed into apartments.


 The Old Courthouse building on this quay now houses the Leece Museum and is devoted to artefacts relating to the town. It is possible to visit the old lock-up in the basement which was known as 'The Black Hole'.

Originally a chapel of ease dating to c1550, St Peter's church in the town centre,
was destroyed by fire in 1958. The clock tower, built in 1872 and financed by public subscription remains intact.


Friday, 26 December 2014


THE ISLE OF MAN is a self-governing British Crown dependency in the Irish Sea off the Lancashire coast. The Queen is head of state and is represented by a Lieutenant Governor.
The island is just 32 miles long and 14 miles wide with a population of
some 85,000

The capital,  DOUGLAS is where the Steam Packet ferry arrives from Heysham.

Douglas is a fine resort with a long promenade and sandy beach
as well as a working harbour.


The Tower of Refuge is a small castle like shelter which was built in 1832 at the instigation of Sir William Hillary, founder of the RLNI, as a sanctuary for shipwrecked sailors in the treacherous area around Conister Rock near to the harbour entrance and at one time contained blankets and brandy.

Castle Mona was built in 1804 as a seaside mansion for the 4th Duke of Atholl and was the first building to be erected on this promenade.
The Jubilee Clock was built in 1887 to commemorate
Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee.

The resort developed in Victorian times and became very popular
in the Edwardian era.

The Gaiety Theatre, dating to 1900,  is one of the finest surviving examples of a Victorian music hall, and after extensive renovation is now back in full use
as a theatre.


The Villa Marina and Gardens was opened in 1913 with extensions being made in 1931. The magnificent Royal Hall seats 1500 people.

Horse Trams have been a feature of the promenade since they were introduced in 1876 and still run in the summer months.

Sir Norman Wisdom OBE the famous actor and comedian who died in 2010 at the age of 95, spent much of his later life on the Isle of Man.

A bar on the promenade at Douglas is called 'Sir Norman's' and a statue of the great man is seated outside.

The award-winning Manx Museum in Kingswood Grove displays some fine cultural artefacts relating to the island.
Two notable exhibits are animals peculiar to the island.

The Manx Cat is unusual because it has no tail. There are various folklore tales as to why this is and the favourite seems to be that it descends from a cat whose tail was severed when it was trapped in a door.

The Loaghtan sheep is native to the Isle of Man. Its dark brown wool coat is complimented by four horns and in some cases with six horns. It is traditionally raised for its meat which is considered a delicacy.

Another interesting exhibit depicts the Manx Giant.
Arthur Caley was born in Sulby on the Isle of Man in 1834. At his physical peak he was 7'11" tall and weighed some 28 stone
He left the island in 1851 to seek his fortune by exhibiting himself as was the fashion at that time. He ended up in Paris but soon afterwards his family were informed that he had died. This was probably an insurance fraud amounting to £2,000 because several years later he reappeared in America as 'Colonel Routh Goshen, the Arabian Giant', presented by the legendary showman P.T Bailey.
He died in 1889 when it was discovered that Caley and Goshen were one and the same person.


 The High Court of Tynwald is the parliament of the Isle of Man. It is of Norse origin and is the oldest continuous parliament in the world with over
1,000 years existence.
The two branches, The Legislative Council and the House of Keys now sit in Douglas,  but have an annual ceremonial open air sitting at the original Tynwald Hill at St John's.

The four-tiered hill. 72 feet high, is one of the island's most distinctive landmarks and is thought to have been made in the 13th century from piles of stones bonded together with soil from all the island's ancient parishes.



Ancient graves have also been found near to the hill and a temple dedicated to the Norse God Thor was found near to St John's Church.

The Isle of Man is synonymous with motor cycle racing, and the TT (Tourist Trophy) races have been competed by the best racers from all over the world since the early 20th century.
The time-trial type races, held in May and June each year, start and finish at Douglas on public roads along a torturous mountain route of just over 37 miles.