[From John Heywood's Guide, 1891]
WHAT a lovely little country it is! Of all our popular seaside resorts, perhaps no one is upon the whole so popular-especially with the teeming populations of Lancashire and Yorkshire and the northern counties generally-as the Isle of Man. A run over to "the Island" is the commonest of occurrences with anyone and everyone all summer long; and the place is always referred to in an affectionately endearing kind of way, as if it were a sort of pocket possession of these holiday-making northern folk-a place which everybody is supposed to know all about, just as if there were but one island in the world, and that the Isle of Man.
A man who has not been over to see it-he is southern. bred, perhaps, and has not been in the habit of hearing quite so much of it as his northern friends-is looked upon with a sort of contemptuous amazement, as being a weak minded sort of fellow not easily to be understood. All sorts and conditions of people rush there, from those who want a few weeks' rest to those who run over simply for the "weekend "-that wonderful Lancashire holiday institution which is kept going in full vigour for about six months of the year, and which means anything from Saturday to Monday or from Friday night till Tuesday morning. Then, again, thousands of people run over simply for the day trip, to obtain the pleasures (sometimes a wee bit gruesome) of the short sea voyage, and another peep at charming Douglas Bay.
Well, when you get to know the island, you do not wonder at the infatuation, or rather the inextinguishable liking for the place on the part of all these good folks; seeing that, practically, this bit of a rock, left high and dry in the middle of the Irish Sea, contains an epitome, on the smallest of scales, of all the varied scenery of England and Wales. On a small scale advisedly; for a good walker could walk right across it any morning, and almost from end to end on a long summer's day. The mountain-climbing in the middle might interfere somewhat with such arrangements, truly. The Isle of Man is only a little more than thirty miles in length, and eleven in width at its broadest part; and you will see, by referring to the map, that it tapers to a point at each end.
A very few lines must suffice. It is not possible, within the limits of a little Guide like this, to afford space for many details; and the rapid excursionist, with only two or three days to spare, will care more about seeing the island than reading its history. We will, therefore, condense our remarks to the greatest possible extent, incidentally referring on the way to its independence and present form of government.
There are two or three books to which we may refer those who feel sufficiently interested in the island to inquire, into its history and legendary lore, than which it would not be easy to find more entrancing reading. For its History, read the book by the Rev. J. G. Cumming, published in 1848; for the Legends, that by George Waldron, 1731; and they will do well to procure, if possible, the published, volumes of "The Manx Note Book," which are full of interesting matter, beautifully-illustrated.
Nothing is more delightfully nebulous than the early history of the island. Its original settlers are generally admitted to have been Celtic, allied to the Irish race, the Scotch Gaelic, and the Welsh; and it is said that the Manx language is so nearly like to the two former, that it can be understood by those who understand them.
The Romans are the earliest from whom we obtain any authentic reference to our little isle. Cæsar tells us that in the middle of the channel between England and Ireland there is "an island called Mona," and by the poets and those writers who love to write fancifully, nothing suits them at the present so well as Caesar's designation. Certainly "Mona's Isle" sounds more prettily than does the "Isle of Man." How it came by the latter name cannot be agreed upon by the authorities. The ancient Britons called it Menow; the Norsemen, Mann. The Manx name is Mannin or Vannin - Ellan Vannin. Mr. Jeffcott, of Castletown, says the name of " Man " was derived from that of the aboriginal occupants of the island, the Mannaugh. However, nothing is certainly known about it, and after all it is not of the slightest consequence to us. Here we are upon the island itself, and if it had been called by any other name it could not have been one whit more lovely than it is.
The first personage connected with the early history (!) of the island whose name is given, was one Mannanan, a gentleman concerning whom nothing is known and much has been written. He is the mythical demi-god of Manxland, and seems to have been a hero somewhat after the fashion of Longfellow's Hiawatha and the British King Arthur both rolled into one. According to the veracious legends concerning him, you can have your choice of the date of his existence during any period from the days of the Pharaohs down to those of Saint Patrick. He was the great warrior, the Achilles, of his-time; and being besides a past master in lithe black art," he was able to take an unfair advantage of his enemies by surrounding the island with mists upon their approach, by this means bringing their war canoes to an untimely end upon the wild coasts. He was also the lawgiver of his people, taught them navigation, the use of the globes, and how to circumvent their neighbours in trade; which latter accomplishment we believe has not been entirely lost upon Mona's Isle even unto this day.
Perhaps we had better believe that he lived in the days of St. Patrick, because that will account for other matters, including the conversion of the islanders to Christianity. The good saint objected altogether to the practices of this heathen, who had ways that were dark; therefore slew him out of hand, and also, to make the work complete, slew his uncles and aunts and his children and all who were his, so that there was no more seen of his seed for ever. Then, being master of the situation, the saint (much after the fashion in which European's are looking after the religion and morals of the heathen in Africa at the present day) was good enough to offer the inhabitants the choice of either becoming Christians or of being all slain outright. Of course, his arguments converted them, and they lived as happily as might be expected ever afterwards.
The inhabitants of so exceedingly limited a country as Mona were of necessity too few in number to successfully resist the incursions of the outer barbarians; so they became in turn the prey of the Welsh, the Scots, the Scandinavians, and so on, until the English got a firm grip of the island in the thirteenth century, and, as usual, having conquered, stuck to it.
The Manx people have a large amount of independence and local self-government, advantages which they have preserved unbroken through the centuries from the very earliest times.
The establishment of the House of Keys, the great annual meeting on Tynwald Hill, and many of the laws and customs which are in existence at the present day, are said to have been due to a Northern conqueror named Orry, who made a descent upon the island from Iceland; and generally put things to rights for the inhabitants. From that time.until the present the government has always been representative; and the island has always pos°gssed the privileges of having its own Governor, and-speaking generally-making its own laws. Until quite recent times its Governor was "King of Man,"feudatory to the English Sovereign; but the last of the Crown rights and revenues were purchased from the Duke of Athol early in the present century.
The Government, the "Tynwald," consists of a Lieutenant Governor, appointed by and representing the Crown; his Executive Council consisting of the Crown officers and the bishop, archdeacon, and vicar-general; and the House of Keys is the representative house of the people, equivalent to the English House of Commons. With the exception of the vicar-general, who is appointed by the bishop, the members of the Council are appointed by the Crown. It is said that there is no other representative assembly in Europe so ancient as the House of Keys.
Excepting as regards imperial matters, such as the army and navy, the customs, post-office, and the like, the Manx people have in the main the making of their own laws No laws made by the English Government have any authority in the island excepting they are in agreement with its own laws and privileges, and then not until they have been accepted by the Tynwald and proclaimed upon Tynwald Hill. This hill is not far from St. John's, near Peel, and hither come the members of the Legislature and great crowds of the people on the fifth of July in each year, to proclaim the Acts which have been passed during the year preceding. The members meet in St. John's Church for prayers, then walk in procession to the hill, where the Acts are proclaimed, and afterwards return to the church to hear and discuss the proposals of the Governor as regards the coming twelve months.
The officers of the Crown consist of :besides the Governor and ecclesiastical dignitaries before mentioned-two deemsters, an attorney-general, clerk of the rolls, receiver-general, and a water-bailiff or admiralty judge.
One or two things in connection with the laws of sweet Mona should be borne in mind. Remember that the Sunday Closing Act is in force here. Also that (as we are told), although English writs may not run in the Isle of Man, it is very advisable not to get hopelessly into debt here, if you have any wish to ever get away from the island, as the inhabitants have the power, and use it, to prevent you from leaving it. Some very funny stories are told of the dodges resorted to by impecunious debtors to evade this exceedingly inconvenient arrangement; but it would be hardly fair to repeat them. One never knows what may be one's own predicament Douglas is governed by Town Commissioners.
There are legendary accounts of the voyage from Liverpool to Douglas being done by one of the new fast steamers in about three hours and a half; but we would advise you not to calculate upon any such fancy passages. We don't say it has never been done, but the distance between the two ports is seventy-five miles; and although with a smooth sea and everything else in your favour, it may be done in that time, still twenty-one or twenty-two miles an hour would be particularly good steaming under the most favourable circumstances possible. So you may more reasonably calculate upon five hours as being a good fair average, with nothing to grumble about.
Remedies for sea-sickness, or means of preventing it, have been published by the score, each, of course, infallible, and equally, of course, breaking down when tested by different people under varying circumstances. We may as well add our own specific, even at the risk-like the others-of breaking down under special circumstances. See then when you have decided on a journey in which a sea voyage is one of the chief concomitants, endeavour to get free of any biliousness which may be hanging about, and try to get your stomach clear and sound. Then, with your eyes bright and your tongue unfurred, get a good square meal before starting (a good beefsteak, if you can manage it), and you will feel competent to "snuff the moon," whatever that operation may mean. Of course, no one need be told, concerning such a little run as this to the island, to remain on deck as much as possible-that is, as much as the weather will allow. A visit to the lower regions, where the weak and the feeble are lying about, is in nowise conducive to the maintenance of one's own equanimity.
We may presume, then, that you are tolerably well, that there is a fair amount of sunshine and a little breeze, then the five hours' run may be looked forward to as something enjoyable. Of course, the run down the river from Liverpool to the Bar is altogether pleasant. You have fine views of the big ocean steamers moored in the river, of the hundreds of vessels crowding the miles of docks, and of the thousands of racketty people-children, and grown up-who throng the sands of New Brighton. Then you pass the Bar, get into deep water- and then, the first few heavings of the steamer up and down as it breasts the waves, the first few rollings from side to side, will begin to test your good sailing qualities. We have heard people pretend that they never feel satisfied, never feel as if they obtained good value for their money, unless they are sick, and so get their stomachs clear. It is all a taradiddle. At the best, it is an exceedingly unpleasant way of taking medicine; and so far as we ourselves are concerned, we prefer taking it a day or two beforehand, at home.
Once clear away, you soon get out of sight of land. and can please yourself for an hour or two with the notion that you are " all alone on the boundless sea "-only with the advantage of being on a good sound steamer, and with plenty of good company. There are always plenty of friendly people to be found-here as elsewbere-if you show yourself friendly. After a time-a couple of hours, maybe, before getting across-you begin to see in front of you a dim, flat, low, grey, hazy cloud, rising.out of the sea, scarcely distinguishable in strength of tint from the clouds, out of which it seems to emerge. But it has a definite mountain outline, which becomes stronger every minute. That flat haze is the Isle of Man, which you can see from end to end, from north to south. It grows stronger and * stronger; and out of the grey you begin to see faint sunlit patches of pale green, which later on resolve themselves into green hills. Then you perceive the glint of houses; soon you are able to distinguish the bay, and its piers, and the Tower of Refuge, and the long curving line of fine buildings fronting the promenade ; and then you run alongside the landing pier, which is thronged by hundreds of people who have come to meet their friends, or to see in a general way if anyone they know has come; or cruelly to enjoy the spectacle of the weak and dilapidated ones who have had a bad time of it coming across.
When we are all safely landed, and our troubles over, we sagely agree among ourselves that "the Snaefell is a capital boat," and that " a paddle is infinitely better than a screw." The enormous numbers of visitors frequenting the Isle of Man, and their increase year by year, may be estimated from the facts that in July, 1890, 61,591 visitors were landed, as against 54,252 in July, 1889, and the total for the year up to the end of July was 108,692, as compared with 99,640 in 1889. The total number of visitors for the year is said to exceed 300,000.
(See Illustrations on Title-page.)
Arrived at Douglas, your first care will be to secure your bed, either at a hotel or boarding-house, as may suit your inclination. We have heard, at times, of great holiday rushes here, of people sleeping upon the sands during the warm summer night. After settling your sleeping affairs you will be glad to get that chop, or steak, or chicken-which you would not have touched on board with a long pole-as Esau was to get his mess of pottage. Then you will feel that the millennium has begun, that you are at peace with all creation; and you will turn out for an hour's saunter in the gloaming upon the Promenade, gain your first impression of one of the most beautiful bays in the United Kingdom, and defer all detailed examination until the morrow. .
Can you climb a little ? It is anything but a formidable climb to Douglas Head; and if it is a fine morning you cannot do much better, first thing after breakfast, than to take a walk up there. You will thus gain a clearer general idea of the town and bay and their surroundings than is easily to be obtained by any other means. The Head is the southern extremity of the bay ; that is to the right as you stand on the Promenade, looking seaward.
From the pier at which you land you will have no difficulty in finding the Harbour and the North Quay. The shortest route is by a ferry boat, which takes you across the harbour from the Quay for a penny, and saves a considerable bit of walking. If you do not care to go that way, continue along the Quay to the end, then turn to the left, and go over the bridge which crosses the river Douglas (which runs into the harbour), turn to the left again along the road which runs parallel with the quays, until you reach Douglas Head Road on the right. This will lead' you in a direct way up to the top of the Head itself If you cross by the ferry it saves you the walk round the harbour.
On the way up you pass the Fort Anne Hotel, which shows so conspicuously high up on the left when you come in by the steamer; and also Harold's Tower, near to the last mentioned, where are some very pretty pleasure grounds, open to the public. In this residence lived John Martin, the painter of the "Plains of Heaven," "Belshazzar's Feast," " The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah," and many other pictures which are very widely known by means of engravings therefrom. The ascent by the road is by no means difficult, and very quickly you come to the top of the Head, and to an excellent well-built hostelry, the Douglas Head Hotel, where you will probably be glad to rest for a few minutes. It is the picturesque pile which you see for miles out at sea, crowning the headland.
Arrived at the top your reward will be tenfold, as a more magnificent panorama is rarely seen. Right below is the great curved sweep of the bay, with its little island of Conister, better known as the Tower of Refuge, which looks like an ancient castle in miniature. On the opposite side the bay terminates at Onchan, and the view stretches onward to the north as far as Clay Head, which is one of the head lands of Laxey Bay. Then in front and to the left you see the entire extent of the town, from the grand Promenade upwards, street after street, row after row of houses climbing the rising ground at the back. The visitor who gets this view for the first time is fairly astonished by the great extent of the town and the generally superior appearance of the buildings. From no other point can he obtain such a clear perception of what the place and its surroundings are liKe as a whole. Right opposite him, and beyond the cliffs on the opposite side of the bay, he sees mountain after mountain, until right away in the dim distance he will, on a clear day, see Snaefell itself,.tbe highest point of the island, more than two thousand feet above the sea level.
Then the sea itself, in the bay and in the open!-where else, out of the Mediterranean, will one see waters of such clearness and such intense depth of colouring ? Everyone is struck by the limpidness and translucency of these waters. As for colouring, it would be hardly possible to find anything more beautiful than the waters of the bay as we have seen them upon favourable occasions. On a bright morning, when the sky is blue as are the skies of Italy, and the lightly sailing clouds are dazzling in their brilliant whiteness, then we have seen the sea of such hues as we have never seen attempted by painters, except perhaps in the works of Colin Hunter. On such a day, the water in general is of such a deep tint of rich indigo blue-and yet hardly indigo eitheras to make the sky look pale, and this is streaked with bright emerald, and intermingled with broad patches of purple. We are in no way exaggerating its loveliness ; and those who have eyes to see will not be slow in finding out these truths for themselves.
Descending from the Head, the male visitor may, on arriving at the place on the road, by the Harbour side, from which he turned to make the ascent, turn again in the direction of the Point, where he will find Port Skillion, a tiny secluded bay, just big enough for a good swimming bath, and a favourite bathing place for gentlemen. It has been made convenient in various ways and provided with dressing-boxes, which, together with bathing drawers, are on hire for a very small sum.
A little further on is the Lighthouse, which shows a light out to sea for a distance of fourteen or fifteen miles.
The difficulty of access from the Promenade to Douglas Head is proposed to be obviated by the construction of a bridge at a high elevation across the harbour from Bath Place to the Head. The bridge, on the town side, will be reached by an Eiffel Tower kind of structure, provided with lifts, &c. ; and as the bridge will be only about 400 yards long, its advantages must be obvious. Considerable opposition to the scheme has been encountered, but at a meeting of shareholders held lately (Feb., 1891) the chairman said that the difficulties that had to be encountered at the commencement of the company were now entirely surmounted. The opposition which led to the rejection of the Bill for powers to construct the bridge had been removed, and the company had acquired the whole of the property necessary by private treaty. The company was now in a position to proceed at once with the foundation work of the tower. The company had now secured a capital property in one of the best situations in Douglas, and within the nest two or three months the directors felt confident that the superstructure of the tower would be begun.
A company has also been incorporated for the purpose of constructing a marine drive for vehicular and pedestrian traffic from Douglas Head Road along the cliffs to Port Soderick, a distance of between five and six miles. According to the latest accounts, the works upon this are in full progress.
is always worthy of a stroll round at any time of the day, and the visitor from inland will find much to interest him, as there are usually plenty of vessels therein-smacks and schooners and the like, with an occasional sea-going steamer. Here he can endeavour to puzzle out the intricacies of rigging and sails, or he can watch the loading or unloading of the various cargoes piled upon the Quay.
Of course, he will note the fine stone piers, especially that at which the steamers land their passengers, called the Victoria or New Pier, a portion of which was opened in 1872, but at which the works are still in progress.
The first aspect of the town is rather puzzling to the stranger who knows the size of its population (eighteen or nineteen thousand), and is told that the whole population of the island is not many thousands in excess of that of Southport. Its generally magnificent appearance, in those parts of which the visitor sees most, must infallibly impress himself with the conviction that the shrewd Manxman must be endowed with almost an inexhaustible fund of energy, and faith in the future of their little island. How far its splendid appearance is truly indicative of its prosperity, we have little means of knowing. There is no winter season, so far as an influx of visitors is concerned, and the slack season is a very long one. Some of the hotels are really palaces, and are much finer in appearance, and have a much greater amount of accommodation than the best of the hotels in most of the biggest provincial towns of England.
But Douglas does not consist entirely of palatial hotels and, handsome boarding-houses. Those who take an interest in such matters, and care to have a quiet stroll round for an hour or two, will find at the back of the new buildings, and in the heart of the place, an old town which has scarcely been altered at all, since long before Douglas began to be a fashionable watering-place. Here will be found narrow streets-some only just sufficiently wide to allow a cart to pass-which in their quaintness, and crookedness, and narrowness, somehow remind one of the narrow courts and wynds of Old Edinburgh, although there is not the most remote likeness between the houses of the two places. Even Duke Street, which was the principal street of shops in the town until the grand shops of Victoria Street were erected, and is perhaps even now the street in which the most business is transacted, is very narrow and confined. On market-day, and during the busy times of the evening, it becomes inconveniently crowded.
This and the buildings fronting it form really the glory of Douglas town. The Promenade is of great width, with a good carriage road and broad asphalted footway, and such a handsome sea-wall as is rarely to be met with.
In the middle of the space where Victoria Street opens upon it, is an elegant drinking fountain, of polished red granite, with clustered pillar-shaft of the, same, surmounted by a fine clock with four dials. An inscription tells us that it was. "Presented by George William Dumbell, as a Jubilee gift to the town of Douglas, June, 1887." "Don't look a gift-horse in the mouth" is the proverb; but this gift is as good-looking as it is useful.
The finest of the hotels are to be found hereabout and at the further end of the Promenade; and along here also are the finest of the boarding-houses and private hotels, although many others are scattered about the cliffs.
A tramway is laid the entire length of the Promenade, along which cars run at intervals of a few minutes all the day long. The charge is only twopence, and it is very often a cheap saving of weary limbs. It may be as well here to sneak of the hotels
The great hotel which fronts you when leaving the Landing Pier is the Peveril ; a little further on are the Villiers and the Grand, standing at the two corners of Victoria Street. Going on along the Promenade you come to the Athol, a very respectable and quiet hotel.
Of all the hotels in Douglas, the Castle Mona is the one to which the most interest attaches. It is the great square stone building at. the further end of the Promenade, on the flat, which is said to be the finest modern building in Manxland. John, Duke of Athol, Lord of Man, built it in 1805 as a residence, at great cost, with stone brought from Arran for- the purpose; though why he should have been at the expense of that, when the island itself is one great rock, is not easily comprehensible. It is said to have cost forty thousand pounds; and opinions are freely expressed that it ought not to have degenerated as it has-we speak with due deference to the hotel interest-but that the proper thing would have been for it to be bought by the Imperial Government and made the Government House of the island. Be that as it may, it is an hotel, a select one, and has many acres of pleasure-grounds available only to its own patrons.
A large hotel, not so much known as a residential place as being a popular resort of visitors, is a.conspicuous building in castellated style, high upon the cliff, not far from Castle Mona, the Falcon Cliff Hotel, once the residence of the Governor of the island [? confusion] It is seen afar off, by reason of its own peculiar architecture, of its height, and more by reason of the white Crystal Palace style of building standing in its grounds. It is a great resort of visitors of both sexes in-the season; partly because of its elevated situation, commanding splendid views of the town and, bay; partly because of its beautiful gardens and pleasure-grounds, occupying the face of the cliff; and partly because of the musical concerts and dancing to be found in its pretty assembly-room.
Not far from this is the Central, remarkable for the elaborate character of its decoration.
The Derby Castle is at the further extremity of the bay and possesses a switchback railway and other attractions
Switchbacks are now to be found everywhere ; there is even one to be found in the grounds of the hotel on the top of Douglas Head.
Other hotels are the staid and respectable commercial hotel-the Royal, on the North Quay; the Douglas and the Black Lion, in the same neighbourhood ; the Thistle, in Parade Street; the Railway Hotel, near the Station; the Fort Anne and the Douglas Head (both before referred to), and many others.
Of Temperance Hotels, the chief is the Belvedere, on the Promenade ; and there is a quiet, clean, and comfortable one on the North Quay, near the head of the harbour, where those who care for homeliness, conjoined with picturesque views of the harbour, and its backing of steep green mountains, will find themselves fairly arranged for.
Douglas is not overladen with amusements in the ordinary sense of the term.. The old Theatre Royal is in Wellington Street ; and in the same street is the Wellington Hall, devoted to concerts and other amusements. The Grand Theatre and the Grand Music Hall are in Victoria Street, near to the Promenade. There is also the Gaiety Theatre. in Prospect Hill. There are no theatrical performances during the winter months.
Various Bowling Saloons and Bowling Greens are scattered about the town, and a Skating Rink is in Derby Road. Billiard tables are, of course, to be found in almost every hotel, the Great Villiers Hotel, at the corner of Victoria Street, having, we believe, ten.
We have already incidentally referred to the public pleasure-grounds and great concert and dancing pavilion at the Falcon Cliff, and the similar attractions at the Derby Castle and the Douglas Head Hotels.
The great amusements of Douglas are, however, bathing, boating, promenading, and excursionising.
Is beyond the Iron Pier, fronting the Promenade; and some excellent private baths, the " Victoria," will be found in Victoria Street.
One of the chief amusements of Douglas, and one of the most enjoyable, is boating. There are any quantity of boats, either for rowing or sailing ; and in good weather the recreation may be freely indulged in without fear. The Harbour Commissioners are strict even to severity- in their regulations for the safety of visitors. Every pleasure-boat must have a licence, stating the owner's name and address, the number of persons it may carry, and the number of boatmen-where such are necessary-who must be in attendance to manage it.
Also every boat has to be authoritatively certified as to its safety and condition ; and all sailing-boats are bound to carry life-buoys. Any misconduct on the part of the boatmen, whether of word or deed, renders him liable to a penalty; and in such case he is bound to allow his " fare " to do as we do with cabmen in the big towns-to "take his number." Anything accidentally left in the boat has to be delivered up either to the owner or in the harbour master's office within six hours-there to lie until claimed.
Visitors also have to observe certain rules, very rightly so. They are not allowed to bring their boat within two hundred yards of any bathing machine ; neither is any person allowed to bathe from a boat within four hundred yards of the edge of the water, except before 6 am. or after 8 p.m.
The fares for rowing-boats are sixpence or a shilling per hour, according to size. If accompanied by a boatman, sixpence per hour extra.
For small sailing-boats, with boatman, the charge is half-a-crown per hour; for the larger ones, with two boatmen, five shillings per hour.
Any penalty, up to five pounds, may be inflicted for the infringement of either of the bye-laws.
shares, with the Promenade proper, the affections of promenaders ; and from it can be obtained unique and all-round views of the scenery of bay and town, such as cannot be obtained from any other point of vantage, except the Tower of Refuge. It was erected in 1869, is about one thousand feet in length, and cost over £6,500.
The little islet upon which this stands, and which together with the Tower seems to be artificially designed to perfect the charming beauty of Douglas Bay, is named Conister, or, alternatively, St. Mary's Rock. In reality it was designed fifty to sixty years since, to serve the purpose which its name indicates-that of refuge for shipwrecked mariners who might manage to reach it.
It was intended also as a beacon to indicate the exact position of the rock, which was submerged and dangerous at the time of high tides. Sir William Hillary lived at Fort Anne (now the Fort Anne Hotel), and it was his wife, Lady Hillary, who was so struck with the dangers of the rock, always before her eyes, that she. determined to do something to obviate them. The result was the erection of the Tower of Refuge.
In fine weather it is a favourite little boating excursion thither, both for the little run and for the splendid views obtained from the tower. Refreshments are provided during the summer months.
The stranger in Douglas, who has been accustomed to the splendid municipal buildings of some other watering-places, is at the first blush somewhat astonished at hearing that a town of so much importance, and seemingly so large, should be without either market hall or town hall. The latter could doubtless be let alone for awhile, and not much inconvenience would ensue ; but, considering the numbers of visitors who live in apartments and board themselves, and, consequently, do their own marketing, it would seem to be of paramount importance that a covered place of some kind should be provided, wherein the said marketing could be managed in comfort in bad weather.
At the bottom of Duke Street, and adjoining the North Quay, is a little cramped open space, not nearly large enough for the purposes required, upon which and the Quayside the market is held. What is lacking here in convenience is made up, if not atoned for, by its extreme picturesqueness. Such a bustle, and such an admirably picturesque confusion, are to be found nowhere else in Douglas, either in or out of the season. Stalls, and baskets, and boxes, and heaps of vegetables, and flowers, and we know not what, are all so crowded together that, except along the middle of the Quay roadway, it is scarcely possible to move.
Wherever there is any standing room, it is packed with people, and you will, on market-day-which is Saturday have an opportunity of seeing the ways, and looks, and manners of the inland Manx people, especially the ladies, who crowd hither in scores from the country parts to sell the produce of their little farms. You may see them come in traps with the men-folk, or droving in from the morning trains, laden with baskets or bundles-some with flowers, some with vegetables, some with live fowls, and all the miscellaneous produce of the little farm or cottage garden. They are neatly dressed in their best, appear strong and healthy, and are, for the most part, more or less goodlooking.
In the market itself, that which most strikes us is the very fine show of meat, and its great quantity. Whence it all comes we cannot tell, but should imagine that not much of it is of home growth. Probably it is brought over from Liverpool. Next, as would naturally be expected, is the excellent supply of fish ; turbot, plaice, soles, skate, cod, whiting, and eels forming the staple. Of course, in the season it is a great place for herrings. Who has not heard of Manx kippers, the finest and best flavoured ever brought into the English markets i Such a reputation as Yarmouth has obtained for its bloaters, the Isle of Man has gained for its kippers-which are always sweet, savoury, toothsome. There is little stall-room for the fish, which are mostly in baskets and boxes, ranged for a considerable distance along the Quay-side, where they do not show to the best advantage.
Besides the meat and fish you will find fowls, live and dead, but not in very great abundance; and herein we, rather wonder at the Manx cottier or small farmer just as we have often wondered at the English farmer-who, in these so-called dreadful times of agricultural depression, neglects to such an extent this source of income. We have not seen any great quantity of fowls anywhere on the island, although it is certainly not for lack of land upon which they could run.
A plentiful supply of vehicles will be found awaiting the arrival of the steamers, and the fares to various parts of the town are as follows -
For one-horse vehicle to or from the stands, to or from any part of the town within the following limits: Along the North Quay, up Bridge Hill, along Athol Street, Prospect Hill, Finch Road, and Church Road, to the Shore, along the Shore to the Pier, including any of the above-named streets, the sum of one shilling and sixpence. To or from any part of the town outside the above, except the Crescent Road northward beyond Castle Mona, and except Victoria Road northward beyond the Bridge next Marathon, the sum of two shillings. To or from any part of the Crescent Road between Castle Mona and the extreme limits of the town, or to or from any part of Victoria Road beyond the bridge, two shillings and sixpence. Luggage not charged extra, If with two horses, double fares.
All porters and car-drivers are licensed, and are bound to wear badges on their arms. The following are the legal charges of porters, to or from the steamers and the carstands :
For every box, portmanteau, trunk, or other large package ................................................... 3d.
For every hat-box, gun-case, or other small package.. 1d.
For every small package to or from any, place within the town boundaries .............................. . 2d.
For every small package to or froanplace withinthe town, but outside the boundaries ............„, 4d.
For every large package, ditto ditto...............„, 9d.
THE ISLE OF MAN STEAM PACKET COMPANY'S OFFICE is in the Imperial Buildings,
At the annual meeting of the shareholders of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company; held February 24, 1891, the chairman said that the directors had ordered a new twin screw steamer of high speed, to be called the Tynwald.
Instead of the morning express steamer leaving Liverpool at 11-15, she would depart at 11-30, and that sailing would be kept up all through the year. The one o'clock boat would be discontinued, and a boat would leave Liverpool daily during the season at 3 or 3-30 in the afternoon.
The Company reserve the right of altering these Services if found necessary for the convenience of the traffic, of which due notice will be given.
Between Liverpool and Ramsey the times of sailing vary. Ordinary Fares to or from Liverpool and Douglas or Ramsey.-SINGLE
: Saloon Cabin, 6s.; Fore Cabin, 3s. 6d. Half fare under twelve years.
RETURN TICKETS: Saloon Cabin, 10s. 0d. ; Fore Cabin, 5s. 6d. These Tickets are available for two calendar months, exclusive of. the date of issue.
Supplementary Tickets, entitling holders of through Thirdclass. Tickets to travel Cabin on Steamer-Return, 5s. ; Single, 2s. 6.d.
Contract Tickets issued for 6 or 12 months. For terms apply at the Liverpool or Douglas Office.
During the season, steamers run to Douglas not merely from Liverpool, but also from Fleetwood and Barrow-in-Furness. The Fleetwood boats start daily (Sundays excepted), about 2 p.m. from Fleetwood, returning from Douglas at 8-30 a.m. The Barrow route has its advantages, inasmuch as, although the railway journey is much longer from the ` Lancashire and Yorkshire centres, the sea-route is shortened. Times of sailing between Barrow (Ramsden Dock Station) and the Isle of Man (weather permitting and unforeseen circumstances excepted), May 24th to September 29th. Barrow to Douglas every week-day at 1-45 p.m., May 26th to September 30th.
Douglas to Barrow every week-day at 8-30 a.m.
THE UNITED SERVICE CLUB. Entrance at the end of the Peveril Hotel.
THE COURT HOUSE formerly belonged to the Isle of Man District of the Independent Order of Oddfellows, M.U. It is situated at the corner of Church Street and Athol Street; and is a some what handsome building.
The Isle of Man General Hospital, or ' Noble's Hospital," near St. Thomas's Church, erected by Mr. and Mrs. S. B. Noble.
THE RAILWAY STATION
is situated at the top end of Douglas Harbour, and at the end of Athol Street.
We make Douglas our headquarters, and devote so much of our space to it, because although Castletown is, we suppose, still nominally the capital of the island, Douglas is really so. And this is not merely because of the facts that the residence of the Governor is now at the latter place, and the Tynwald Courts are held here, instead of at Castletown, as formerly, but because Douglas is now far and away the most important town on the island, and its metropolis in every sense; therefore we make this our starting point for all excursions.
The following distances from Douglas may be useful for reference:-St. John's, 8½ miles; Peel, 10½; Kirk Michael, 14½ ; Ramsey, 16½ ; Point of Ayre, the most northerly point of the island, 24 ; Laxey, 7½ ; Ballasalla, 7½ ; Castletown, 9½ ; Port St. Mary, 14. Port Erin is a couple of miles or less from Port St. Mary.
The island is well provided with railways, and the tourist cannot do better than take advantage of these if he wishes to inspect the country with the maximum of comfort and at the minimum of cost. By adopting the railways both time and expense are saved, and the various pieces of scenery and places of interest can be seen at a much greater advantage from the railways than from the highroads. Trains run at the most suitable hours, and there is every facility given for breaking the journey at the stations nearest to the various points of interest.
For the convenience of tourists, books containing four coupons each can be obtained at all the principal railway stations in England, and at the railway station, Douglas, enabling the holders to travel over the Douglas and Port Erin and Douglas and Peel Railways; price, 5s. 6d. each, first class, and 3s. 8d. third class.
Tourists through tickets are issued at all the principal railway stations in England to Port Erin, Port St. Mary, Castletown, Peel, and Ramsey.
There are numerous delightful walks around Douglas, involving no great amount of exertion. That to Douglas, Head we have already described. Another, in the opposite direction, to the other side of the båy, is that to the Derby Castle pleasure grounds and the Victoria Tower; but this need not involve very little walking, as the tramcar will carry you close to for twopence. Near here is the Governor's residence, Bemahague, and a little further on is the village of Onchan, which is much frequented on Sundays by visitors. The attractions of the village are some ancient Scandinavian carved monuments in the churchyard, and an excellent strawberry garden.
Kirk Braddan.-This is a delightful walk, a favourite alike with residents and visitors. Either of two roads may be adopted-one which takes you there in about threequarters of an hour, and another, rather roundabout, which will probably take an idle walker double the time. People commonly take the shorter route, along Peel Road, which starts from the town and runs along on the right-hand side of the railway station.
It is a very pleasant walk. You soon get beyond the town and come to the Braddan Valley, on the right side of which is the Cemetery, in which John Martin was buried, On the left we pass the Nunnery, and note the tall obelisk in the grounds. Also on the left, just before reaching the Quarter Bridge, we see down in the valley a most remarkable pile of buildings known as the Circus, erected as a place of entertainment for people from Douglas. At Quarter Bridge is a comfortable, old-fashioned inn , much frequented by pleasure parties.
A little way beyond the inn is a lane to the right, known as the Saddle Road, from a peculiar saddle-shaped stone which is built into the wall on the left-hand side of the road, and was popularly supposed to have been used by the fairies for midnight excursions. In a few minutes you turn down to the right, passing the gates of Kirby House, and find yourself at the church.
The old church is on the right, but as it was inconveniently small, a new one was erected a little lower down on the other side, capable of accommodating one thousand people. There is nothing very attractive or interesting about the old building. The form of the top of the tower is unusual, and the bells are hung in open arches. The real attractions are the ancient Runic crosses in the churchyard. There are seven of them altogether, and although considerably mutilated, the carving upon some of them is in excellent preservation. Four are raised on a little mound of stones about the middle of the churchyard on the right hand; and the circular head of a larger one is against the church wall near the door. A prominent object in the churchyard is an obelisk, erected to the memory of Lord Henry Murray, son of John, Duke of Athol, by the officers of the Royal Manx Fencibles, of which he was the colonel.
Another way of getting to Kirk Braddan is by passing over the bridge at the head of Douglas Harbour, and turning along the road to the right, which takes you past the entrance to the Nunnery (before mentioned), the residence of Major Goldie Taubman, Speaker of the House of Keys. This way takes you through the little village of Kewaigue, and is, as we said, somewhat roundabout, but is, nevertheless, a delightful walk, and will repay the strolling tourist. You must, however, ask your way at the village.
Glen Darragh is much visited because of a Druidical circle to be seen there; but although 'within walking distance for a good pedestrian, most people drive. Glen Darragh, being translated, means the Vale of Oaks, but the oaks have disappeared.
It is impossible for us within our short limits to point out everything worth seeing. The island is swarming with relics and ruins, and places of interest. We must take a run to the principal places, and this can be done either by driving, or (with a few exceptions) by rail.
Start by the first train in the morning, then you will have opportunity of putting in Rushen Abbey, Castletown, Port St. Mary, and Port Erin, all in the same excursion.
Ballasalla, for Rushen Abbey.-Nothing can be much more lovely than the succession of beautiful bits seen from the railway as you pass along; here and there, as the hills open, you catch exquisite glimpses of the blue sea in the distance, particularly of Port Soderick, which is a lovely little bay three miles from Douglas, with a pretty glen, and picturesque caves. The "sea-flowers," anemones and the like, abound hereabout. Leave the train at Ballasalla and walk down through the village-which is uninteresting -to Rushen Abbey, which will not take you many minutes.
It is on the bank of a lovely stream called the Silverburn (in which are good trout), bordered by some very fine old trees. There is not much remaining of the old Abbey (said to have been the last of the monastries dispersed), the chief portion being a square stone tower. All the ruins are in the grounds of the Rushen Abbey Hotel, one of the most charmingly-situated. hotels we have ever seen Some of the chief attractions here, apart from the beauty of the situation, are the vineries and tomato houses. It will surprise many to hear that some of the very finest grapes and tomatoes sent to the chief fruiterers of Manchester and Liverpool, and among the very earliest, are grown here. We ourselves have seen bunches of grapes nearly a foot long hanging from the vinis at a very early period of the year, and ripe tomatoes of the finest quality.
There are also extensive out-door fruit gardens and preserving houses on the premises.
From the abbey it is a pleasant walk to Castletown, where, after looking round, admiring the fine bay, and examining the little town generally, we shall be in time
for the next train. Rushen Castle is the chief attraction' of Castletown. It is supposed to date from the tenth century, and is in a perfect state of preservation, the angles of the building being sharp and clear cut as if only lately built. There is, however, little to be seen of it except the exterior, as the interior is used as a prison. A new prison is being built at Douglas, when the prisoners will be transferred. Near Castletown is King William's College.
This rising watering-place has been aptly styled "the home of the artist and pleasure-seeker;" for here at the foot of the hills there seems to be a concentration of Nature's charms so dear to the man of the brush; whilst to those who only seek rest and pleasure in boating, fishing, bathing, and like pursuits, the spot is admirably situated.
Artists will find in the neighbourhood widely-diversified scenery-hill, rock, sea, valley, and glen; whilst in the background the high mountain tops of Bradda, Cronk-na-ireyLhaa, and South Barrule appear as though on sentry duty.
Geologists have long discovered here a vast field for the prosecution of their favourite studies, and oft from the limestone masses may be heard the sharp metallic ring of the hammer and chisel in the extraction of stone-entombed fossils and corals that flourished in the years of long ago.
Port St. Mary is the most southern watering-place in the Isle of Man. It is about 14 miles from Douglas, 4½ miles from Castletown, and ½ from Port Erin. It is a village or small township, of considerable size, nestling cosily by the seaside, and protected from the inrolling billows by the Alfred Pier-a newly-erected and magnificent breakwater, the foundation stone of which was laid by H.R.H. the Duke of Edinburgh in January, 1882.
It possesses postal-telegraph office (with postal deliveries daily), hotels, banks, and replete with business facilities, while still enjoying the tranquil quiet of country life and peaceful surroundings, things almost entirely unknown to the ordinary visitor to Mona's fair isle. It is a place such as tourists and visitors would love to stay at did they but know of its charms, its picturesque scenery, and pleasuregiving elements.
Visitors may reach it by either rail or car.
A fine fleet of fishing vessels finds occupation for most of the adult male population of the parish of Rushen, in which Port St. Mary is Situated; and on a fine summer evening no sight can be grander, or give keener pleasure, than to see these splendid vessels, with outstretched wings, speeding away to the fishing-ground.
To the amateur fisherman or angler great opportunity for the successful pursuit, both by rod and line, of his favourite pastime is presented. Fish big and little, and embracing considerable variety, from the supple and grandly-pulling conger and ling to the silvery codling or golden bollen, swarm around the steps of the breakwater and pier.
The hotel accommodation of Port St. Mary is considerably abreast of the times, and in the " Cliff," " Bay View," and "Qualtrough's Temperance Hotel" superior fare and attendance can be had all the year round. The newly-erected terrace of houses on the Promenade is an imposing sight. Situated on the brows of Chapel Shore, commanding magnificent mountain and marine views, it is truly a lovely place to stay at, within a stone's throw of the sea. It is wlso contiguous to the railway station, to church and chapels, and it is in every respect a choice and desirable locality for either temporary or permanent residence. The sands of the semi-circular shore in front, with its fringe of green brows, are a never-failing source of joy to the little ones, where, with spade and bucket, hoop and ball, time's hours are all too short for the enjoyment of the scene.
Many houses in the terrace are laid out as board and lodging houses, charges moderate and reasonable. At a few yards off, the green swards of Gansey stretch away to the sea, forming a delightful promenade, as do also the new roads and carriage drives recently opened out on the Farm Estate.
Port St. Mary is essentially a healthy place, being almost surrounded by the sea. It has an ample supply of the clearest of pure water, derived from the neighbouring glen of Colby. Its sanitary arrangements are of a high order. Main sewers have their outlets away out in the rocks, where strong tidal current carry their contents to sea. Much care has been exercised in this direction, in order to preserve and keep inviolate the bathing arrangements of the place. The residents have very wisely built up for their little town a name for cleanliness and purity, so dear to all who travel in' search of health and enjoyment.
The surroundings of Port St. Mary may be of interest to our readers. Over the bay lies Castletown, with its grim old fortress, erected 900 years ago; farther off still, to the right, is the lighthouse of Langness-a dread locality to seamen.
Turning, we behold the far-famed Perwick Bay, with its pebbly shore, and the rivulet of Glenchass in the corner. On the top of the brows is the village of Fistard, and farther on still, on the breast of the hill, tLe ancient village of the Howe.
Let us stroll on. To the left, and leading past the now abandoned lead mines, we find ourselves ascending the short but rocky road to the Chasms, and shortly are on the mountain. For beauty and loveliness of scenery this walk will never be forgotten. The Chasms strike the visitor with awe and wonder. The result, it is thought, of a sub-marine volcano, these wonders of nature, these fissures mighty and deep, amply repay the toil of the short walk. Take a look over the brink. Away down yonder some hundreds of feet stands out the Sugar-loaf Rock, an imposing sight. In the western corner is a small stone circle, calling to mind our heathen forefathers. Across Stacka Bay is Black Head, and, farther on still, is Spanish Head, where part of .the Spanish Armada was lost. The caves in the vicinity, approachable only by water, are a marvellous sight.
Across the tideway known as "The Sound" (in the centre of which is the Island of Kitterland), lies the Calf of Man, rugged and hilly in contour, and heather-clad in the purple season. About three-quarters of a mile to the south of the Calf the Chickens' Rock Lighthouse rears its symmetrical pillar, and sheds forth by night its warning light.
Leaving the Sound shore we soon come to the most primitive village in the Isle of Man, as well as the most southern. Here the Manx language is still generally spoken, and many Manx customs observed. A few hundred yards off will be seen the largest Druidical circle on the island, and the best preserved. On the headland opposite a memorial tower to the late William Milner, Esq., of Milner Safe notoriety, is erected, and at the foot of the hill is the charmingly situated hamlet of Port Erin. To return, from Cregneesh it is but a short cut to Fistard, across the fields, to Port St. Mary, or we can descend the hill to Port Erin, and thence take train (fare one penny) to our destination.
Port Erin is a very small place, with a bay of no great size, but of much beauty, and some excellent bathing sands. There is nothing of interest in the town itself. It possesses two good hotels. From here we return by train direct to, Douglas.
Distant 11½ miles by rail. On the way we pass Union Mills, where are some good houses and a very pretty stream. Crosby is not much of a place; but there are some excellent gardens, and this is the station for Glen Darragh, if you come by rail.
St. John's is a junction from which you proceed either to Peel or Ramsey, and is only a few minutes' ride from the former town. The church in which the members of the Legislature meet annually before proceeding to Tynwald Hill, is close to the station, and is a neat building of considerable size; Tynwald Hill itself is seen to the right of the line directly you out out of the station on the way to Peel.
Peel is a good-sized town, as towns go in the island, with some excellent shops in the centre, a handsome church, built of red sandstone, and well-built houses. Its harbour is well filled with vessels. That which dominates the place, however, is Peel Castle, built on a rocky promontory, and joined to the mainland by a narrow causeway. It must have been originally a fortress of great strength; but is now a complete and very picturesque ruin. The entrance is said to be a thousand years old, and other parts of the building over eight hundred. It is built of red and grey stone. You go up a short flight of steps to an old iron-bound door which admits you to the interior. Close at hand is a square tower, which you can ascend by means of a much-worn' stone staircase and obtain some splendid views. The most remarkable remains within the enclosure are those of an ancient round tower, similar to the well-known round towers of Ireland; and the ruins of the cathedral.
These beautiful glens are ten miles from Douglas, six from Ramsey, and two and a half from Laxey. Coaches run thither during the season from both Douglas and Ramsey, and the ride is a most enjoyable one. The glens are Dhoon Callan and Fairy, and the two falls, of about 80 feet each, are considered the finest in the island. Admission is by ticket, price 4d. each, which are obtained at the excellent Dhoon Glens Hotel.
Nobody ever thinks of making a stay in Douglas or Ramsey without driving over to see Laxey Glen and the world-famous Laxey Wheel at the great lead mines. The wheel is 72 feet 6 inches in diameter. Laxey is six miles from Douglas, and about the same distance from Ramsey.. There is no railway thither as yet, but one is talked about. One of the most popular attractions of Laxey is the beautiful Laxey Glen Gardens, which are situated at the bridge crossing the river, and embrace a considerable portion of a picturesque, richly-wooded glen, laid out by the proprietor, Mr. R. Williamson, as a resort for visitors and picnic parties. Few things can be more agreeable, after a hot, dusty drive from town, than the cool sbade of the spreading trees of these beautiful gardens, or a ramble among their pleasant shrubberries. There are games and amusements of all kinds within the grounds, and refreshments of all kinds can be had. RAMSEY.
In order to save the going back to Douglas and returning next day over the same ground, the better plan will be to return from Peel to the junction at St. John's, and proceed thence direct to Ramsey.
The first place of interest passed on the road is the village of Kirk .Michael. It has a good church, and several Runic monuments are to be seen in the churchyard. A short distance from here is Bishop's Court, the residence of the Bishop of Sodor and Man.
Next come Sulby Glen and Sulby Bridge (over the river of that name), a delightful district. Then we pass Lezayre and directly after arrive at Ramsey, the town next in importance to Douglas.
It is a town which is rapidly rising and improving, though not apparently at the same rate as Douglas. Its bay is a really noble one, about three times the width of Douglas Bay, being six miles across. A good promenade; 800 yards long, has been made, new piers have been built, and many other improvements have been executed. There are various excellent hotels, the Prince of Wales, Albert, and Queen's,. near the pier; the Mitre, in Parliament Street, and many others; and there are plenty of capital lodging houses to be found fronting the sea., and elsewhere in the town. Generally, the town looks quiet and staid; and we are told that the native inhabitants of the better class, who pride themselves upon having the pure aristocratic blue blood of Manxland, are in nowise anxious for an indiscriminate rush of visitors, and will not bear of such a cause of dissipation as would be involved in the erection of a theatre.
The principal thoroughfare, Parliament Street, is filled with excellent shops, and there is a good market. Fronting the Market Place is the church of St. Paul, whose exterior is a perfect marvel of design of the baser sort. At the end of Parliament Street is the Court House, a neat white building of no great elevation. Another church is St. Olave's, in what is called North Ramsey, on the other side of the Sulby river. There are, besides, Wesleyan and Presbyterian Chapels, and a small Roman Catholic church. In Parliament Street will be found the Banks and the Post-office.
Excursions from Ramsey may be made to the Waterfall of Ballaglass, to Dhoon Glen, to Maughold Head at the. extreme point of the bay on the right, the delightful Glen Mona, Ballure, and a host of other picturesque places in the neighbourhood. Visitors make a point of going to the Albert Tower, although it is not much to look at. Its interest lies. in the fact of its erection by the inhabitants of Ramsey, in memory of a visit paid to Ramsey by Her Majesty, PrinceAlbert, and Lord Palmerston in 1847; and an inscription tells that it was erected on the spot where the Prince stood to view the splendid bay and town and mountains around. You will have to make a stay of several days in,. Ramsey if you are to see much of the neighbourhood.
We must now close our little Guide, not because there is nothing left to talk about, for the island has a thousand and one beauties which we cannot even mention.
During the season there are frequent trips by steamer ,right round the whole of Mona, when the weather is favourable.
JOHN HEYWOOD, Excelsior Printing and Bookbinding Works, Manchester.
BELLE VUE GARDENS DOUGLAS
(Ten Minutes' Walk, via Peel Road, or through the Nunnery Grounds).
Most Varied and Cheapest Place of Amusement on the Island.
Open from 10-0 a.m. till 11-0 p.m.
VARIETY ENTERTAINMENT, DANCING, &C.
(New Polished Floor).
BRASS AND STRING BAND.
Bears & Monkeys. Numerous Novelties during the Season
GRAND ORNAMENTAL LAKE-Boats for Hire.
FIREWORK DISPLAYS. SWITCHBACK RAILWAY (Longest in the World).
Lawn Tennis, Cricket, Quoits, Bowls, Swings, &c. Splendid Bicycle and Running Track.
LIBERAL REFRESHMENT TARIFF.
Clubs, Schools, and Picnic Parties Catered for on Reasonable Terms.
Omnibuses Leave the Promenade (near the clock at bottom of Victoria Street) every few minutes for Belle Vue. Fare 2d.
Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received
HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2011