[from Jenkinson's Practical Guide, 1874]
THE Isle of Man is situated in the midst of the Irish Sea, in the very centre of the British Isles, and is, perhaps, unsurpassed as a place of summer resort and recreation.
Every week during the tourist season thousands of people arrive from the great hives of industry in Lancashire and Yorkshire, the bulk travelling from Liverpool by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Companys fine fleet of vessels, consisting of the King Orry, Tynwald, Douglas, Snaefell, Monas Queen, and Monas Isle.
The distance from Liverpool to Douglas is 82 miles, the average sea passage during summer occupying five hours. The vessels leave Liverpool daily (Sundays excepted) at about noon, and return from Douglas at 8 A.M. Fares : cabin, 6s. ; steerage, 3s. ; monthly return tickets, 10s. 6d. and 5s. 6d. In winter these fares are increased to 8s, 4s. ; 12s., and 6s.
Another route, which is yearly gaining in favour, is that from Barrow-in-Furness. The steamer Herald sails daily in summer (Sundays excepted) from Barrow (Piel Pier), a little after midday, on the arrival of trains from the Manchester and Leeds districts, and returns from Douglas at 8 AM. The distance is 50 miles, and the average sea passage occupies 3l hours. Fares : cabin, 6s. ; steerage, 3s.; monthly return tickets, 10s. 6d. and 5s. 6d. By this route tourists may combine, during their annual holiday, a visit to the English Lake district, and to the Isle of Man, and thus have a delightful union of sea and mountain scenery.
The route from Whitehaven is a favourite with some, as it has the advantage of being the shortest sea voyage ; the distance from Whitehaven to Ramsey is 30 miles, and the sea passage occupies 2½ hours. One of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Companys vessels leaves Ramsey every other Tuesday and returns from Whitehaven the same or following day~ Fares :cabin, 6s. ; steerage, 3s. ; monthly return tickets, 9s. and 4s. 6d.
From Scotland visitors often reach the Isle of Man, via Silloth, by the North British Steam Packet Companys steamers (in connection with the North British Railway Company), which proceed to Dublin, and call at Douglas on the voyage, each way, during the summer. They sail twice a week. The distance from Silloth to Douglas is 66 miles, the average sea passage being 5 hours. Fares :cabin, 12s. steerage, 6s.
Some visitors arrive from Glasgow by one of the Isle of Man Companys steamers, which generally sails once or twice a month, the distance being 120 miles, and time occupied 10 hours. Fares :cabin, 10s. ; steerage, 5s. ; monthly return tickets, 15s. and 7s. 6d.
From Ireland a great many are carried by the steamers which sail from Dublin to Silloth, and call at Douglas, the distance being 94 miles, and time occupied 8½ hours. Fares cabin, 10s. 6d. ; steerage, 5s.
The climate of the Isle of Man is mild all the year round, and the air remarkably pure and healthy. Owing to the island being surrounded by an ocean which is warmed by the Gulf Stream, and the water of the ocean being more equable than land, it is seldom oppressively hot in summer or covered with scow in winter. The mean annual temperature (48·789° Fahrenheit) is higher than that of any country in Europe of the same degree of latitude ; and the mean winter temperature (41·953°) is as high as that of the Isle of Wight and the south coasts of England. Though the climate is damp, and the sky very much overclouded, the mean annual fall of rain is not more than 30 inches.
Before the Isle of Man was much frequented by strangers, living was very cheap, and even now it is possible to find accommodation at a reasonable rate ; but those who want luxuries will have to pay about the same as at other seaside haunts.
Horses and conveyances can be had at moderate charges, and there are few watering-places where the tourist can have so many pleasant drives, or where he can while away his time most agreeably with boating, fishing, and pedestrian excursions.
Mona is sparingly clothed with trees, and it cannot lay claim to lakes, or to wild rocks and glens, equal to some to be met with in the surrounding countries ; but the rocky coast scenery, and the charm of the sea, in a great measure compensate for their absence.
The greatest length of the island is 33 miles, and greatest breadth 12 miles, and in so small a compass there is a pleasant variety of level and upland, hill and dale ; and in some places there are wild, and in others lovely, bits of scenery.
A land that can boast of the waterfalls of the Dhoon, Ballaglass, Spooyt Vane, Rhenass, and Glen Meay ; the wild Glen of Sulby, and the beautiful recesses of Glen Helen, Ballure, and Glen Aldyn ; the sublime coast scenery around Spanish Head, the Calf, Brada Head, and Cronk-na-Irey-Lhaa, the latter rising sheer from the ocean to the height of 1449 feet ; and a fine mountain range extending the whole length of the island, averaging 1500 feet high, and culminating in Snaefell at a height of 2034 feet ; a land that can boast of excellent mountain roads to a height of 1400 feet, commanding, from almost every point, a view of a vast expanse of ocean, and the opposite coasts ; of fine ruins, such as those of Peel and Rushen ; of a beautiful and a wild seacoast, of a good bathing-ground, and of pleasant resting-places, such as Douglas and Port Erin, will always be a favourite resort, more especially when it is only a few hours sail from our great commercial centres. These, however, are not all the attractions to be met with in the Isle of Man. This interesting land, be it remembered, has a language still lingering in every corner, as unknown as Greek to the majority of Englishmen, with old manners and customs here and there, carrying us back to the 14th or 15th century, while every nook and corner is associated with romantic legends and ghost tales. It is a country full of rude monuments of races long since passed away, where the Christian religion was planted before it reached the territory of the Anglo-Saxons ; a little kingdom in itself, an epitome of the English kingdom ; complete, with Governor, Council (House of Lords), and House of Keys (House of Commons) ; separate laws, civil and ecclesiastical ; the oldest bishopric in Britain ; and, moreover, a Tynwald Hill, where the people still meet as did those of the ancient Scandinavian and other nations of Northern Europe, far back as history can trace, and which is the only relic of the custom that remains in Europe. Such, in brief, are some of the points of interest connected with the island, and the writer hopes that all who visit Ellan Vannin veg veen (dear little Isle of Man) will find this book a useful and pleasant companion.