[from Jenkinson's Practical Guide, 1874]

Douglas to Ramsey via Kirk Michael, and back by Laxey.

Ballacraine, 8 miles ; Glen Helen, 10 miles ; Kirk Michael, 14½ miles; Ramsey, 24½ miles ; Laxey, 33½ miles ; Douglas, 40½ miles.

Douglas to Ramsey, and back:

For a car or carriage drawn by one horse, to carry four persons and the driver, 20s.
For a wagonette or other conveyance, to carry six persons and the driver, 28s.
For a wagonette or other conveyance, to carry eight persons and the driver, 33s.
For a post-carriage and pair of horses, to carry six persons and the driver, 28s.
For a sociable or long car, to carry ten persons and the driver, 38s.

During the summer months a large wagonette leaves the Douglas Market Place every week-day at 10 o’clock in the morning for Ramsey, by the above route, the fare varying from 3s. to 4s. 6d., the higher charge being made during a few of the busiest weeks.

The first 10 miles of the excursion, viz. as far as Glen Helen, have been described at pages 48 and 67.

Before quitting the Swiss Cottage at Glen Helen, the traveller ought to fortify himself with a little refreshment, for he has now to walk a mile along the road, which makes a steep but gradual ascent up Craig Willey’s Hill to Cronk-y-Voddee. During the first part of the ascent a small streamlet is on the left, with the Vaish Hill rising from its opposite bank. The Beary mountain is in a direct line in the rear, and presently rise the summits of Slieu Whallin and South Barrule. When the top of the hill is reached, where are situated a few houses, and a chapel of ease to the parish church of St. German, a road on the right leads to Little London, and thence io Injebreck.

During the descent a good view is had of the mountains of Sartfell, Slieu Farrane, and Slieu Curn, and a stretch of the level country in the direction of Ballaugh, with Jurby point, the sea, and the Mourne mountains, in Ireland. On the left is seen Glen Mooar, in which, near the sea, is the Spooyt Vane waterfall, but from this point out of sight.

When about half-way down, the hamlet of Barrowgarroo is passed, at which place, close to a Methodist chapel, a road branches to the right, and leads over the mountains to Injebreck, Baldwin, and Douglas. A small hill appears in front, and upon it are a summer-house and flagstaff. It is known as the Hill of Reneurling, or Crook Urleigh (the Hill of the Eagle). It is celebrated for being the place of meeting of all the Commoners in Man, convened by Sir John Stanley, 25th August, A.D. 1422, when a successful attempt was made to place the civil above the ecclesiastical power on the island.

Glen Wyllin, a prettily-wooded dell on the left, now comes in sight, and on the opposite direction the prospect opens out a grand mountain amphitheatre. The retrospective view of the glen is good, with the Reneurling hill in the centre, and a background consisting of the high mountains of Sartfell, Slieu Farrane, and Slieu Curn. The pleasant-looking residence situated near by the mount was built by Bishop Cregan, at the close of the last century, and it is at present occupied by William Croft, Esq.

Kirk Michael now appears, with its large church and quaint windmill, a wide stretch of sea and land being visible to the north, and on the left, in the distance, is Corrin’s Tower, and the ruins at Peel. The Mull of Galloway, in Scotland, and the Mourne mountains, in lreland, can also be discerned on a clear day.

Kirk Michael is one of the largest villages on the island; containing two comfortable hotels, the Mitre and Royal Albert, a Primitive Methodist chapel, numerous shops, and an Ecclesiastical Court House, which is now chiefly used for the Deemster’s Courts, the Ecclesiastical Courts being held in Peel and Douglas.

Kirk Michael is noted as being very healthy, and an excellent place of sojourn for invalids. The sea-shore, where there is a fine sandy beach suitable for bathing, is only a few hundred yards distant, and is approached by the pretty secluded dells of Glen Wyllin and Glen Balleira.. There are also many delightful walks up into the mountain range ; and a road leads direct from the village across a mountain pass to Injebieck, Baldwin, and Douglas.

In the churchyard are several Runic crosses, and the graves of Bishops Wilson, Hildesley, and Cregan. This church, which, owing to its proximity to the residence of the bishops, may almost be considered the cathedral of the island, was built in 1835, near the site of one much older. In the graveyard, in the wall which remains of the chancel of the old church, is an inscription stating that the whole of the chancel was constructed at the sole expense of Dr. Thomas Wilson, son of the Bishop, in the year 1776.

The parish register contains the following record :—" The Reverend Father in God, Dr. Thomas Wilson, Lord Bishop of Sodor and Man, buried near the east gable of the church, March 11th, 1755." The tomb hears on it this inscription : " Sleeping in Jesus, here lieth the body of Thomas Wilson, D.D., Lord Bishop of this Isle, who died March 7th, 1755, aged 93, in the 58th year of his consecration. This monument was erected by his son, Thomas Wilson, D.D., a native of this parish, who, in obedience to the express command of his worthy father, declines giving him the character he so justly deserves. Let this Island speak the rest."

The graves of Bishops Hildesley and Cregan may also be seen.

There are no fewer than seven Runic monuments or fragments of monuments about the church. The tall One which stands close to the road, at the entrance to the churchyard, was found many years ago about a foot below the surface of the ground, in what is called the Chapel Field, or the Vicar’s Glebe. It is profusely ornamented with a variety of sculptured figures and animals, representing a stag-hunt. One of the edges is decorated with interlaced work ; on the other is the inscription carved along the edge of the stone from the bottom upwards :—‘

" Jualfir sunr Thurulfs eins Rautha risti crus thana aft Frithu muthur siua."


" Joalf, son of Thorolf the Red, erected this cross to his mother Frida"

That on the north side of the gate is a cross, bearing some-what of the Irish character, with a harper, dog, stag, and two rudely-carved human figures carrying weapons. The inscription is remarkable, as it contains only Celtic names, engraved in a dialect and character differing from tlie rest of the inscriptions now found on the island.

The inscription is much worn, and in many places some-what uncertain.

Mr. Kneale gives the following

" Hal Lumkun raisti kius tliana eftir Mel Muru fustra sina datir Dufgals dana es Athisi ati."

i. e.

" Mal Lumkun erected this cross to Malmora, his foster-mother, daughter of Dugald the Keen (or Clever), whom Athisi had to wife."

The Rev. Mr. Cumniing says the reading perhaps may be:—

" Nial Lumkun, raisti crus thana eftir Mal Muru fustra son oh dotir Dufgals Kona os Athisi ati."


" Niel Lumkun erected this cross to Malmor, (his) foster-son, and the daughter of Dugald the Keen, whom Athisi had (to wife)."

Professor Munch, of Christiania, reads Mal for Nial, and Lufkals for Dufgals, and translates, " Mal Lumkun and the daughter of Lufkal the Keen, whom Athisi had to wife, raised this cross to Malmor, his foster-father." Malmor, a son of Niel, together with his brother.Dufgal, or Dugald, fell in a quarrel at Tynwald Hill, in 1238, therefore we may believe that this monument is in some way connected with that event, and that Niel, the father of Malmor and Dugald, joined with the daughter of Dugald in erecting the cross to the memory of the slain.

On the south side of the gate is another cross, interesting from the circumstance that the maker’s name is given, and the statement that he was the artist of most of the crosses of that era in Man. There are no figures on the cross, but it is beautifully decorated with sculptured knot-work.

The inscription, extremely plain, is—

" Mail B~-jgdm sunr Athallans smith raisti krus tlsancs far ia/u sini sire liruhuin Gaut girt/il thano awl ala i Moan."

i. e.:


0 Malbrigd, son of Athakan (the) smith, erected this cross for his soul, but his kinsman Gaut made this (cross) and all in Man."

Fragments of crosses in the churchyard-wall have the following insciiptions


" Grim risti hr-us than eft .Ruiaun."

i. C.:


" Grim erected this cross to Hromund."



" krus than aftir."



" this cross to."

In the vestry of the church is the fragment of another richly-sculptured cross, bearing an inscription, the sole remains of which are— " G’rims ins suarta."

1. e.:


" Grims the Swarthy (or Black)."

Near Bishop Wilson’s tomb is a finely-carved cross, without inscription, but bearing four singular dragon-shaped animals with knotted tails. Near the chancel of the old church is another cross, much mutilated.

The mountains of Sartfell, Slieu Farrane, Vael, and Shea Curn, which have presented so fine an appearance all the way when passing through the village, are soon left behind, and 1 mile from Kirk Michael the tourist’s attention is attracted by the Bishop’s Court, a large, square, castellated mansion, which stands close to the road on the left, half hid by oak, ash, and elm trees, one of which, a fine elm standing on the north side of the entrance from the high road, is said to have been planted by Bishop Wilson, but all the rest are of later date. It is the episcopal palace of the diocese, and there is a repose upon the spot which specially suits its character as the residence of a Christian bishop. Late restorations have given the building a modern appearance, but some parts of it are very ancient. There is historical evidence of its having been occupied by Bishop Simon in 1230, and it is said to have originally borne the name of Orry’s ‘lower, and to have been surrounded by a moat. The dark slaty-looking building attached behind is a recent addition. The old chapel was pulled down about twenty years ago, and a new one built,

where service is held morning and evening every Sunday when the Bishop is at home. The chair on the north side of the holy table is a relic of Bishop Hihdesley, and on Convocation days the chair of the venerable Wilson is brought out and occupied by the Bishop whilst in conference with his assembled clergy. r1~l~e domain attached to the palace consists of 606 square acres.

After leaving Bishop’s Court, the tower of the new parish clsurch of Ballaugh cun~ies in sight ; and when 2~ miles from Kirk Michael the traveller enters the neat little village of Ballaugh, where are two comfortable inns, the North Hotel and the Manx Arms. It is a telegraph station, the wire having evidently been brought thus far from Ramsey for the special accommodation of the Bishop ; but why not continue it past Kirk Michael to Peel, and thence to Castletown, thus encircling the whole Island?

The old parish church and village of Bahlaugh are one mile distant, near to the sea-shore.

Proceeding a few yards farther, a view is had on the right into Ravensdale, with Shieu Dhoo at the head, and on the left opens out a wide extent of level cultivated land in the direction of the Point of Ayre, the churches of Jurby, Ballaugh, Andreas, and St. Jude’s being prominent objects.

The road now runs pleasantly at the foot of Gob-y-Volley lull, through a well-timbered district, to Sulby village, 2 miles from Ballaugh, where is an inn called Glen Mooar Inn, the Sulby Glen being formerly and now occasionally called Glen Mooar. Here the mountains on the right present an aspect in the highest degree imposing and picturesque, and the road is observed which leads into the wild recesses of the Sulby Glen. rihose who love to commune with nature in lser sternest and most solitary moods must not fail to visit this rugged valley, which is undoubtedly Mona’s most savage retreat.

Half a mile from the inn the Sulby new village is passed, and the Sulby river crossed ; and from the bridge are seen the windmill and a few houses at Ramsey. A few yards beyond the bridge is the Ginger Hall inn.

A richly-cultivated country is now entered, studded with villas and farmsteads, and all the way a fine view is had of a large tract of the champaign country ; but what most strikes the traveller is the presence of well-trimmed thorn hedges and quantities of good-sized trees, such as are rarely seen elsewhere in the Isle of Man. A range of wooded hills overhangs the road on the right, and the sight of the charming villa and ravine of Glentramman will tempt many pedestrians to ascend and thread their way amongst the fir and larch trees, where they will meet with a waterfall well worthy of a visit.

When 2 miles from Ramsey the Lezayre church is passed. It is pleasantly situated at the foot of Sky hill, and is prettily overgrown with ivy. On the other side of the road is the mansion of Ballakillingan, embosomed in trees containing a rookery, reminding the traveller of the homes of Old England.

Beyond Sky Hill, Albert Tower and North Barrule appear, and a view is had up Glen Aldyn, -a road branching into the glen close to Milntown, the beautiful residence of the Rev. \v. B. Christian. Ramsey now comes fully in view and is quickly entered.

Many persons who only see Ramsey in a day’s drive from Douglas are disappointed, and think it a dull town ; but by making a longer stay this feeling wears off. Even those who only remain in the town a few hours might thoroughly enjoy themselves if they would stroll up Ballure Glen and ascend Albert Tower, or visit Maughold Head, or take a drive to the Point of Ayre.

Leaving Ramsey by the Waterloo road, a long line of houses is passed, principally lodging-houses, and then a gmdual rise is made, with fine views of Ramsey town and bay~ and the Albert Tower.

Half a mile out of the town the Ballure bridge is crossed, and a pretty peep had up the Ballure glen, with the Albert Tower on the one side and Ballure hill on the other.

Continuing the ascent round the Ballure hill, new beauties are revealed at every step. The bay is seen immediately below stretching away to the Point of Ayre, and almost the whole of the town is in sight, hacked by a wide extent of level country ; whilst across the ocean, on a clear day, can be distinctly seen the Scotch and Cumbrian coasts and hills.

At the point, 1 mile from the town, where a road diverges to the left for Kirk Maughold church, the pretty creeks of Port Lewaigue and Port-y-Vuhlin are seen below, separated by the promontory of Gob-na-Runnah. Beyond Port-y-Vullin are observed, perched on a rock directly above the sea, the works connected with the Port-y-Vullin lead mine. rI~his mine has never been extensively worked, and it was closed during the spring of 1873. Just below the mine is a small rock surrounded by the sea, called Stack Mooar. The landside of Maughold Head is gradually disclosed, with the whole of the level tract ending in Port Mooar.

The road makes a long gradual rise on the side of Slieu Lewaigue, with North Barrule here and there in sight directly in front ; and when 2* miles from Ramsey, at a pretty white-washed house, where the highest point is gained, the prospect opens to the Cornah glen on the left, in which is situated the Ballaglass waterfall ; and North Barrule is a fine object on the right.

Three miles from Ramsey is the Hibernian inn, a point from which tourists often start for the ascent of North Barrule. It is also a resting-place for those who visit the Ballaglass waterfall, which is situated directly opposite, about ~ mile down the glen. The road leading to it is near the inn, and the journey there and back will occupy about an hour and a half. It is usual to walk there, but a carriage can be taken to within a very short distance of the fall.

From the inn the main road descends to the hamlet of Corrany, crosses the Cornah stream, and winds round the Cornah hill on the opposite side.

Higher up the glen are the lead mines of East Snaefell and North Laxey, and the height of Slieu Choar. In the hamlet of Corrany are a Wesleyan-Methodist chapel, a Primitive Methodist chapel, and a small church.

When round the Cornah hill a good retrospective view is gained of the Cornah glen and of North Barrule. Leaving the Barony, or Dhoon hill, on the left, the granite quarries are passed, and a long sweep is made round the Dhoon glen, where are some beautiful waterfalls, though not seen from the road. On making a sharp turn, a peep is had directly down into the wild recess of Bulgum bay, and Clay Head appears to the south.

A steep descent is quickly made past King Orry’s grave to Laxey, with charming views of the bay, and the glen dotted prettily on every side with whitewashed cottages.

For a description of the road from Laxey to Douglas refer to page 98.

Douglas to Injebreck, and thence by Little London to Glen Helen.

Baldwin, 4½ miles ; Injebreck, 7 miles ; Brandy Well, 9 miles; Little London, 11 miles ; Glen Helen, 14 miles ; Douglas, 24 miles.

The road between Douglas and Baldwin is described at page 35.

On leaving the Baldwin village, the stream, and Cronk-y-Keeil-Abban, with St. Luke’s church, are on the right, and in front Cariaghan and Pen-y-Pot. Soon the church and Pen-y-Pot disaiipear, and the traveller approaches a mountain amphitheatre, consisting of Carraghan, Injebreck hill, and the Crag, the latter hiding the Colden mountain. There are evidences on every hand that a delightful mountain retreat is being entered. Rocks, loose stones, and pretty clumps of trees are seen in every direction, and rills run musically down the hill-sides to the larger stream which flows over a rugged stony bed. The small cascade, called the Crag waterfall, is passed, and then the Injebreck farmhouse is reached. It stands on the hill-side embosomed in trees, and higher up the glen is a new lead mine, called the injebreck mine, where a dozen men are working.

Injebreck is a delightful spot, often visited by picnic parties. The house would no doubt answer well if converted into an hotel, but at present it is in the holding of Thomas Lorrimer, Esq., of Mount Rule, and is occupied by servants of his who manage the farm. Mr. Lorrimer’s house is passed on the way to Baldwin, soon after leaving the Race Course ; and, on application, he is willing to grant leave to strangers to put up the horses at the Injebreck House, and then the occupants will provide hot water, &c., on receipt of a small recompense for the trouble thus given them.

Injebreck is a beautiful and secluded spot. Green sloping hills are on every side, with purling streams descending pretty dells clothed with wood.

Opposite the house a rugged cart-road leads through one or two fields to a streamlet, where is what is called a waterfall, but it is one only in name, for the water has a fall of not more than 7 feet. A pleasant stroll may, however, be had a short distance up the rivulet, and, beyond where the path ends, if the hill be ascended a few yards, a small cascade will be found, which, combined with its surroundings of wood and rock, presents a pretty little picture.

On leaving Injebreck, the road ascends steeply the hill of that name, with Colden on the left. Carraghan and the glen soon disappear, and the traveller finds himself crossing the pass, without the sight of a single house or tree. He is alone in a desolate-looking district, the Manx loaghtyn (i. e., mouse-brown, from lugh a mouse, and dhoan, brown), and other sheep, being the only denizens of the surrounding smooth grass-covered hills.

On gaining the summit of the pass, a wide extent of mountain and upland is spread to view, there being still only two houses to the right in the distance, in the hollow of Druidale, and hardly a single bit of timber.

The mountains Carraghan, Pen-y-Pot, and Snaefell are on the right, and in front Slieu Farrane and Slieu Dhoo, whilst in the direction of Mount Karrin is a stretch of level land near the Point of Ayre.

A good road will be observed about 20 yards below on the right, which leads round Pen-y-Pot to Snaefell, and thence to Laxey, or by Keppel Gate to Douglas, or from Snaefell into the Sulby glen. Those who intend travelling in the direction of Snaefell will regret that these roads are not connected at this point. There is an old track down which a carriage might go, had not some railing been placed across it. This branch road being only 50 yards long and ready made, it might be put in good order for a trifle, and thus a mile would be saved to the traveller.

Half a mile farther, a small well, called Brandy Well, is seen close to the road on the left hand, which gives the name to the junction, a few yards distant, where the road is entered that runs from Snaefell by Little London to Barrowgarroo and Kirk Michael, or to Cronk-y-Voddee and Glen Helen. From this junction another road runs over the mountain direct to Kirk Michael, and one descends into Druidale, and thence crosses the hills to Ballaugh.

As there are no houses near Brandy Well, the stranger must be careful to keep the proper road.

A hundred yards distant, in the direction of Snaefell, where an iron gate crosses the way, a rugged cart-track branches on the left, and descends to Druidale. The same distance in the direction of Little London, a turning to the right goes over the mountains to Kirk Michael. A few yards nearer the Brandy Well junction a road is observed on the left, but this must on no account be entered, as it leads on to the mountains, and there ends, it never having been finished. It ought to descend into the Baldwin valley below Injebreck.

The traveller is now on the watershed where rise the streams leading in one direction by Druidale and Sulby glen to Ramsey, and in the opposite by Rhenass and Glen helen to Peel. rflse mountains of South Barrule, Cronk-na-Irey-Lhaa, Beary, and Slieu Whallin, are in sight.

On leaving Brandy Well the road winds along the breast of Sartfell, with one or too farmhouses below on the left, near the banks of the rivulet ; and the eye wanders over a large extent of hilly country, terminating here and there in high prominent peaks ; but on the right the view is entirely obstructed. The sea presently comes in sight, also Peel Hill and Corrin’s Tower.

A. few yards beyond, where the road makes a sharp curve, and crosses a small mill, two or three houses, called Eairy, are passed, resting at the foot of Sartfell, and below them are observed the cluster called Little London. From this point a road descends to Little London, and thence to Cronk-y-Voddee ; the former may be passed a short distance on the left, thus saving ½ mile. The best road, though more circuitous by 1½ miles, leaves Eairy and Little London on the left, and continues round the base of Sartfell to Barrowgarroo, where it enters the main road leading from Cronk-y-Voddee to Kirk Michael. From Barrowgarroo to Glen Helen the distance is 3 miles.


Douglas to Injebreck, and thence to Kirk Michael.

Baldwin, 4½ miles; Injebreck, 7 miles ; Brandy Well, 9 miles; Kirk Michael, l2½ miles.

The road from Douglas to the Brandy Well Junction is described at page 115.

From Brandy Well the Kirk Michael road branches and ascends by the north-east side of Sartfell, with the hollow of Druidale, and the heights of Carmaghan, Pen-y-Pot, Snaefell, Slieu Choar, and North Barrule, on the right. It then runs close by a wall along the flat part between Sartfell and Shea Farrane, and along the northern side of the latter mountain.

On bending from the wall a beautiful view is had down to Kirk Michael and Glen Wyllin ; and the verdant sloping side of Slieu Farmane has a pretty effect. rfhe road then runs along the top of the Vael hill, and commands pleasant views with a wide extent of sea, and the coasts of Ireland and Scotland. Kirk Michael and the hollow of Glen Wyllin present a lovely picture ; and on the right, between Shieu Dhoo and Shieu Curn, a glimpse is had down Ravensdahe, and across a broad expanse of country, to Jurby and the Point of Ayre. At the place where the road slightly bends from the wire fencing, the traveller, instead of passing through a gate in the direction of Shieu Gum and Ravensdale, and thence to near Ballaugh, must bend to left, and descend by a road covered with short grass.

The view in the rear is now lost, but a charming prospect is had direct in front, of Kirk Michael, Glen Wylhin, and the undulating country stretching to Peel hill, Shea Whallin, Cronk-na-Irey-Lhaa, and South Barrule, with the sea, and the Irish coast. Two gates are passed through, and then a lane is entered which conducts direct to the village.

Douglas to Injebreck, and thence by Druidale to Ballaugh.

Baldwin, 4½ miles ; Injebreck, 7 miles ; Brandy Well, 9 miles; Ballaugh, 14½ miles.

The road from Douglas to the Brandy Well junction is described at page 115.

From Brandy Well the Druidale road branches and descends ~.sy the side of a streamlet in the direction of the large farm-house occupied by John Brooke, Esq., which is seen in the hollow of a treeless moorland tract of country. The road is in one or two places rather rugged, but it is quite practicable for carriages.

After the Mount Pellier house is passed a gradual ascent is made, and Mr. Brooke’s residence left some distance on the right. On gaining the top of the high ground, the heights of North Barrule, Shieu Choar, Snaefell, Pen-y-Pot, and Carraghan are seen, and ott the left is Shieu Dhoo, whilst in front stands Mount Karrin, rising from the deep recess of the Sulby glen.

Presently a lovely view is obtained of the sea, the level country, and the villages of Old and New Ballaugh. A steep descent is made, and on the left a peep is had up Ballaugh glen and Ravensdale, with the heights of Slieu Curn and Shieu Dhoo. When at the foot of the hill the road runs for ½ mile down the glen of Ravensdale, through a prettily-wooded district to the village of New Ballaugh.


Back index next


Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2000