[from Jenkinson's Practical Guide, 1874]
PEEL, anciently called Holme, or Holme Pile, is situated in the parish of Kirk German, on the west coast, at the mouth of the river Neb, and would be very little visited were it not for the historical and picturesque ruins on the adjoining rocky islet of St. Patrick. Its streets are narrow and irregular. The principal hotels are the Peel Castle, in the Market Place ; the Marine, on the Pier ; and the Royal, in Athol street.
It contains a population of 3496, who are principally engaged in the herring fishery. In summer it is interesting to see the fishing fleet depart. About 200 sail of first-class fishing boats leave the harbour annually, manned by over 1600 men and boys, realising an average annual income of 70,000.
The town is built of Old Red Sandstone, a patch of that rock existing in the neighbourhood. The stranger may spend a few hours very pleasantly by strolling on the pebbly beach, and having a sail to some fine sea-worn caves on the north, or round St. Patricks Isle to the rugged coast at the base of Peel hill. The latter height is also worth ascending ; but the principal attractions of the place are the ruins on the adjoining islet, and no tourist to the Isle of Man ought to omit visiting them.
St. Patricks Isle is a prolongation of the Peel hill, separated from the mainland by a creek 60 yards broad, which is often fordable at low water, but is now traversed by a causeway of solid masonry, thus protecting the harbour, and allowing persons to reach the Castle if they go over the river at a footbridge, a short distance above the railway station.
The usual mode of access is by a ferry-boat across the harbour, the charge for which is a halfpenny each way, the landing being effected at the base of the ramparts. The islet contains five acres, and is surrounded by an embattled wall 4 feet thick, flanked at intervals with towers, built by Thomas, Earl of Derby, in the year 1500.
Within the walls are many ruins. Those of the venerable cathedral of St. German ; the still more ancient church of St. Patrick ; a fine specimen of a round tower ; and other buildings, formerly, in all probability, used as occasional residences by the Bishops and Governors of Man, but in more recent times, when the islet was garrisoned and fortified, having been occupied as barracks, armouries, and magazines. Truly may we exclaim with the poet----
" . . . . I do love these ancient ruins ;
We never tread upon them but we set
Our foot upon some revered history."
Previous to the Isle of Man being sold to the British Crown, several guns were on the ramparts. Some of them, apparently of the period of Henry VIII., which were formed of bars of iron laid close together, and hooped with thick iron rings. The bore measured a foot in diameter. These, and many matchlocks, muskets, and other ancient arms, were removed to Chester Castle by the imperial government, and now neither guns nor garrison remain.
Some historians tell us the place was considered in ancient times one of the strongest in the British isles ; but this can scarcely have been the case, for in those times the surrounding walls did not exist, and the isle would be commanded by an enemy stationed on the adjoining hill. In spite of this, however, it must have been considered a place of some military importance, for here was imprisoned the Earl of Warwick, in Richard II.s reign, and the Duchess of Gloucester, in the reign of Henry VI. ; and during the Stanleys it was garrisoned and used as an ecclesiastical and common prison.
The Castle is entered by a flight of steps. At the gateway is a board with the following notice upon it :" With the object of raising a fund for the purpose of maintaining and keeping in repair the ruins of Peel Castle, it is ordered that from 1st of May to the 12th of October no person above twelve years of age shall be admitted to the Castle except on payment of 2d., and no person under the age of twelve except on payment of ld. The Castle will be open from 9 A.M. to 8 P.M. on weekdays, and on Sundays from 2 P.M. till 5 P.M. At other periods of the year visitors must apply to Mr. John Pauline, the keeper of the Castle, who resides in Upper Market Place, Peel."
The tourist on visiting the Castle will make the acquaintance of Sergeant Pauline, late of the Royal Regiment of Artillery, and will find him an excellent cicerone, who is evidently fully impressed with the importance of his duties.
The guard-room is first entered, where of old, around the cheerful blazing fire, echoed the soldiers mirth, whilst nightly, from the adjoining passage, came and sat silently in their midst the Moddey Dhoo, or spectre-hound. The story is thus told by Waldron :
" They say that an apparition called, in their language, the Moddey Dhoo, in the shape of a large black spaniel with curled shaggy hair, used to haunt Peel Castle, and has been frequently seen in every room, but particularly in the guard-chamber, where, as soon as candles were lighted, it came and lay down before the fire in the presence of all the soldiers, who at length, by being so much accustomed to the sight of it, lost great part of the terror they were seized with at its first appearance. They still, however, retained a certain awe, as believing it was an evil spirit which only waited permission to do them hurt, and for that reason forbore swearing and all profane discourse while in its company. But though they endured the shock of such a guest when all together in a body, none cared to be left alone with it. it was the custom for one of the soldiers to lock the gates of the castle at a certain hour, and carry the keys to the captain, to whose apartment the way led through a church. They agreed among themselves that whoever was to succeed the ensuing night his fellow in this errand, should accompany him that went first, and by this means no man would be exposed singly to the danger ; for the Moddey Dhoo was always seen to come out from that passage at the close of day, and return to it again as soon as the morning dawned, which made them look on this place as its peculiar residence.
" One night, a fellow being drunk, and by the strength of his liquor rendered more daring than ordinary, laughed at the simplicity of his companions, and though it was not his turn to go with the keys, would needs take that office upon him to testify his courage. All the soldiers endeavoured to dissuade him, but the more they said the more resolute he seemed, and swore that he desired nothing more than that the Moddey Dhoo would follow him as it had done the others, for he would try if it were dog or devil. After having talked in a very reprobate manner for some time, he snatched up the keys and went out of the guard-room.
" Some time after his departure a great noise was heard, but nobody had the boldness to see what occasioned it, till, the adventurer returning, they demanded the knowledge of him ; but, loud and noisy as he had been on leaving them, he was now become silent and sober enough, for he was never heard to speak more. During the whole of the time he lived, which was three days, he was entreated by all who came near him, either to speak, or if he could not do that, to make some signs by which they might understand what had happened to him ; yet nothing intelligible could be got from him, only that by the distortion of his limbs and features it might be guessed that he died in agonies, more than is common in a natural death.
" The Moddey Dhoo was, however, never seen after in the castle, nor would any one attempt to go through that passage, for which reason it was closed up, and another way made. This accident happened about three-score years since, and I heard it attested by several, but especially by an old soldier, who assured me he had seen it oftener than he had hairs on his head."
In the Lay of the Last Minstrel Sir Walter Scott thus refers to the tradition:
" But none of all the astonished train
Were so dismayed as Deloraine ;
His blood did seize, his brain did burn,
Twas feard his mind would neer return;
For he was speechless, ghastly, wan,
Like him of whom the story ran,
That spoke the spectre-hound in Man."
A few yards from the guard-room is the cathedral of St. German, now entirely without roof, and fast mouldering to decay. It was rebuilt in the year 1245,* by Bishop Simon, who was interred in the chancel. His remains were discovered in 1871, and are now placed in a case, and shown to visitors.
* That a former cathedral existed, dedicated to the same patron, is evidenced from the fact that John, Bishop of Man, was interred in St. Germans Cathedral in 1151. Some historians mention a previous bishop having also been interred in it, but this is uncertain.
Eight years ago, when removing rubbish, Bishop Butters tomb was found in the centre of the transept. He was buried in 1663, being the last bishop entombed in the cathedral. The remains of bishops and other persons of note have rested in and around the building for ages, and it was formerly the cemetery for the town of Peel, but there are few tombstones remaining. Only shipwrecked mariners and Roman Catholics are now interred here.
A mound near the building is probably merely the remains of an ancient burying ground, as bones and skulls have been found in it, but many historians suppose it to have been an old Danish fort, or judicial hill, similar to the Tynwald Hill at St. Johns.
The cathedral was dedicated to St. German, the first Bishop of Man, a disciple and friend of St. Patrick. The edifice was never very large, and most of it must have been of rude workmanship, presenting, in the battlemented character of the central tower, a combination of military and ecclesiastical.. purposes in the same building. It is constructed in the form of a cross, 110 feet long by 70 feet broad. The tower proper rises to a height of 68 feet, the belfry being 15 feet higher, and is ascended by seventy-four steps. A charge of 6d. is made for the privilege of ascending.
On the top there is an extensive prospect, which, however, few persons will enjoy, as the only protection on the inside is an iron railing, and there is nothing to prevent the eye looking direct down into the cathedral. Glancing over the parapet, the surrounding ruins and the town and harbour of Peel are pretty objects at the spectators feet. There is a wide extent of ocean, with the coast visible as far as Jurby Point, backed by the heights of Greeba, Sartfell, Slieu Farrane, and Slieu Curn. Behind Peel are Slieu Whallin, South Barrule, and Cronk-na-lrey-Lhaa, then Peel Hill and Corrins Tower, with a wild iron-bound coast, the sea dashing amongst the picturesque rocks. On a clear day Ireland and Scotland may be seen.
The cathedral was in a dilapidated state as far back as 1686, and in 1710, by an Act of Tynwald, the lead on the roof was granted to Bishop Wilson to assist in the erection of the church of St. Patrick, situated 1½ miles from Peel. The chancel was roofed, and was used for public worship until the close of the last century.
About 300 years ago the inhabitants of Peel, to prevent the inconvenience of crossing to the cathedral, were accommodated with the church of St. Peters, built in the town.
In the wall of the nave of the cathedral is a fragment of a monumental cross, with the following Runic inscription
"...(hr) us thena eftir Asrithi kunu sina dutur Utr"
" (A. B. erected) this cross to his wife Asrid (Osred ?), daughter of Ottar."
This inscription is imperfect, the first part of it, " A.B. rasti kr," was engraved on the fragment which has been lost.
Under the chancel of the cathedral is the crypt, 34 feet by 16 feet, which is lighted by a small aperture under the chancel east window. It is barrel-vaulted, with diagonal ribs springing from thirteen short pilasters on either side, and it was popularly believed that if a person here confined neglected to count the ribs he would never come out again. The entrance to it is by steps within the thickness of the south wall of the chancel. It was used as an ecclesiastical prison uutil 1780 (among others, some Quakers being confined there in 1663), though the civil government had incarcerated prisoners there in earlier periods of Manx history.
Thomas, Earl of Warwick, was imprisoned here in 1397, for having taken part in a rebellion against Richard II., but was released two years afterwards by Henry IV.
Here also in 1446 was shut up Eleanor, wife of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, uncle to Henry VI., and Lord Protector of England. She had been accused and found guilty of trea son and sorcery. The charge was that with the said aid of Roger Bolingbroke, one of the Dukes chaplains, who was said to deal in the black art, and Margery Jourdemain, the witch of Eye, she had made a waxen image of the King, to whom the Duke was next heir ; and according to the rules of magic, as it melted away the Kings health and strength would declne. She owned to having directed Bolingbroke to calculate the duration of the Kings life. The result was that Boling broke was found guilty of treason, and executed ; the reputed witch was burnt ; the Duchess, after being made to walk several times through the city without a hood, and bearing a lighted taper, was consigned for life to the custody of Sir Thomas Stanley, in the isle of Man.
* The Earl of Warwicks prison, we are told, was in a square building at the west side of the Castle, not in the dungeon under the cathedral.
Stanley is represented by Shakespeare, who in mistake calls him by the honoured name of his father and grandfather, Sir John, as having become the gaoler of the unhappy Duchess.
" Stand forth, Dame Eleanor Cobham,
Gloucesters wife; in sight of God and us your guilt is great,
Receive the sentence of the law for sins
Such as by Gods book are adjudged to death.
You, madam, for that you are nobly born,
Despoiled of your honour in your life,
Shall, after three days open penance done,
Live in your country here in banishment,
With Sir John Stanley, in the Isle of Man."
It is stated that she lived fourteen years in this wretched dungeon, getting out only one hour a day for exercise in a small yard adjoining. Waldron, however, tells us :" She lived in the Castle in a manner befitting her dignity, nothing but liberty being refused. She appeared, however, so turbulent and impatient under this confinement, that strict watch had to be kept over her, not only because there were daily attempts to get her away, but also to prevent her from laying violent hands on her own life. They tell you that ever since her death, to this hour, a person is heard to go up the stone stairs of one of these little houses on the walls constantly every night as soon as the clock has struck twelve; but I never heard any one say they had seen what it was, though the general conjecture is that it is no other than the troubled spirit of this lady, who died, as she had lived, dissatisfied, and murmuring at her fate."
A little beyond the cathedral is an old well, out of which, in ancient days, the garrison obtained a supply of water ; and, strange to say, although the islet is surrounded by the sea, no taste of salt is perceptible.
Leaving the well, the cicerone points out a place where it is supposed the garrison, when attacked, poured boiling oil, or other liquids, upon the heads of their assailants ; and close by is a chamber, which is stated to have been the prison of Captain Edmund Christian, who had been Lieutenant-Governor of the Isle of Man, and offended the Earl of Derby by speaking some words against King Charles I. during the Civil Wars betwixt the King and Parliament. Here also is an ancient building, called Fenellas Tower, which will be especially interesting to those who have read Sir Walter Scotts Peveril of the Peak. Fenella, it may be remembered, is represented by the novelist as a spy on the actions of the Countess of Derby, and that she might be the better able to effect her purpose, she entered her service and feigned to be deaf and dumb. The deception was carried on successfully for many years. The damsel fell in love with one of the Countesss retainers, Julian Peveril, who was leaving the Castle for London with some important despatches which were being forwarded by the Countess. It being desirable that his departure should be unknown to the garrison, he left by means of a ladder reared against the Castle walls ; but no sooner had he taken his seat in the small boat which was to convey him to a vessel which was waiting, than Fenella slid down the ladder, leaped into the boat, and sitting beside him, expressed her determination to accompany him. This tower is pointed out as the place whence she escaped.
Perhaps the most ancient buildings on this interesting islet are St. Patricks church and the Round rfower which stand near the eastern battlements. The former is supposed to be one of the oldest, if not the oldest, church in the British Isles, and to have been erected by St. Patrick, who landed here in 444, when on a voyage from Rome to ireland. The Round Tower is in all probability akin to the Irish round towers. In an old drawing it is represented as roofed, and surmounted by a flagstaff. Marks of a stair and flooring are evident in the interior, and there is a little door facing the east, 7 feet above the ground, to which access seems to have been gained by a ladder. Four small square-headed apertures near the top face the cardinal points, and one other is seen lower down on the north-west or seaward side. It is believed to have been a belfry, and a keep or place of strength for the protection of sacred utensils, books, relics, and other valuables, and into which, in cases of sudden attack, the ecclesiastics to whom they belonged might retire for security.
Before leaving this islet the visitor may have a pleasant stroll to the new breakwater, which was originally constructed of timber, inclosing rubble and stone, but has lately been faced with concrete blocks, and thence round at the base of the ramparts, with the sea dashing amongst the rocks at the travellers feet. In one place under the walls is a mound called " The Giants Grave." Tradition states that this giant lived in the days of St. Patrick, and that by his strength and ferocity he became the terror of the island. He had three legs, and deemed it a mere trifle to leap the gorge between Peel castle and Peel hill. It is stated that for amusement he seized a large block of stone, weighing several tons, and threw it against one of the opposite hills, where it broke into pieces, and where it is still visible from the castle. In the stone are pointed out the very marks of the giants fingers which he crushed into it when he tossed it from his hand. At last, for his wicked deeds he was reprimanded by St. Patrick, whereupon lie attempted to kill the saint. For this act he was cursed in the name of the Virgin, and compelled to fly from the island. The legend states that he vanished at one stride over Peel hill, and was never since beheld in Man. The stones referred to are of white quartz, and are situated on the Lhergydhoo hill, in the parish of German, on the way to Kirk Michael.
The hill on the south side of Peel, upon which stands Corrins Tower, is spoken of in many books as the Horse hill, but it is not known by that name in the town ; and the oldest inhabitants say the Horse Rocks jut into the sea below the Castle walls, and that the proper name of the height is Peel hill. Sometimes the name Peel hill is merely given to the point overlooking the town, and the higher point, upon which stands the tower, is called Corrins hill. We have judged that the most simple and natural plan was to name the whole height Peel Hill, and have done so when referring to it in other parts of this volume.
It is 501 feet high, and a prominent object from many places on the island. Those who sojourn for a time at Peel will find the hill a delightful place for a stroll, and even those who only visit the town for a few hours are recommended to make the ascent. It may he reached by crossing the river at a footbridge a few yards above the railway station, or from the castle by walking over the causeway. During the ascent charming views are gained of St. Patricks isle, with its historical ruins, the town of Peel, a wide extent of sea, and a broad belt of the island, with the river Neb, forming a beautiful silvery streak winding in a serpentine course from the mountains.
On the hill is the far-famed Well of St. Patrick, now generally known as the Silver Well, and so called from an ancient custom of the inhabitants, who there deposited a small piece of silver as an offering ; we suppose in ancient times to St. Patrick, and in later times to the fairies.
It is said to be the spot where St. Patrick first planted the sign of the cross, and at the instant water issued spontaneously out of the rock, and has since continued to flow, endowed with every good to those who come to test its properties. An old author says :
" Have you beheld when people pray
At Patricks Well, on Patrons Day?
By charm of priest and miracle
To cure diseases at this well,
The valleys filled with blind and lame,
Who go as limping as they came."
The place is reached by following a tramway for about 1 mile. Just before arriving at an old unoccupied building, near a stone quarry, the well is seen close to the tramway, on the left hand. It is now in such a neglected state that it hardly deserves the name of a well. A little water oozes from the rock, and then flows under the tramway down into the sea, but there is scarcely any hollow in which it can remain. The well seems to have been filled up by stones tumbling from the rocks above, where trial appears to have been made for a quarry. It is, however, well deserving a visit, for the ocean is seen at the spectators feet rushing furiously amongst the wild picturesque rocks, and the stranger finds himself pleasantly secluded and surrounded by the sublimities of nature.
On strolling a few yards farther some magnificent coast scenery is presented, stretching away past Niarbyl Point, as far as the Calf Islet, with the mountains of Cronk-na-Irey. Lhaa, the Carnanes, and Brada Head rising sheer out of the ocean, and in one point to a height of 1400 feet.
Ascending the summit of the hill, some well-managed farms appear at the spectators feet, near St. Patricks parish church, and in the background are Slieu Whallin and South Barrule.
Corrins Tower is a large square building, 50 feet high. It was erected about sixty years ago by Mr. Thomas Corrin, a somewhat eccentric gentleman, who died at his residence near the Tower, and owned this hill and other property in the neighbourhood. This spot was evidently a favourite of his, for here, beneath a small square plot of ground, he is interred with his wife and two children. Pillars have been erected, one on each side of the grave. On one pillar we read the following:
" Corrins Pillar, 1850. This pillar was erected six feet distant from the base of this mount, and within the inclosure, upon its top rest the mortal remains of Alice Corrin and her two beloved children. This pillar, tower, and mount, were erected by Thomas Corrin, to perpetuate her memory until reanimated by the power of God."
On the other pillar are merely the following words and date
" Corrins Pillar, 1840."
The tower was handed over to the Board of Trade about the year 1840 by the present proprietor of the estate, the tower having been used and laid down on the charts as a land-mark.
The tourist may either descend to Peel, or continue along the cliffs to the little creek where the stream from Glen Meay enters the sea, and then have a pleasant walk along the banks of the stream, for ½ mile, to the waterfall.
South Barrule is 1585 feet high, and the king of the mountains in the southern part of the island. From every point in that area he presents a dignified and regal appearance, but somewhat stern withal in his covering of dark heather. With Snaefell, and his northern namesake, North Barrule, it forms a trio of the most noted of Manx mountains.
A few years ago the height of South Barrule was selected by those conducting trigonometrical survey for connecting the triangulation of Ireland with Great Britain. In former times also it was evidently a place of considerable importance, for on the top we find indications of ancient fortifications inclosing an irregular area of 22,000 square yards, the thickness of the base of a wall on the northern side being upwards of 9 yards. When we call to mind that the ancient name of this mountain was Warfield, or Warfell, and that on the invasion of the island by Richard de Mandeville, in 1316, the Manx retreated towards this point as their natural stronghold, we shall perhaps be brought to the conclusion that at one time this was an important military station. In still more ancient times, we are told by Chaloner, " Mananan MacBar, a pagan and necromancer, took of the people no other acknowledgment for their land but the bearing of rushes to certain places called Warrefield and Mame on Midsummer even."
We also learn from the legendary history of the isle, that in castles on the brow of this mountain dwelt Goddard Crovan, who killed his termagant wife by hurling upon her a block of granite ; and Kitter, the mighty hunter, who perished on the rock in the Sound, now named Kitterland, when hastening to his castle, which had been set on fire by his cook Eaoch, the man whose loud cry could be heard on the Calf Islet, a distance of 10 miles. And we must not forget that at the northern foot of the mountain, in Glen Rushen, dwelt that famous Manx satyr, the Phynnodderee. Some strangers will probably have a vain search for the Giants Cave, said to exist at the foot of South Barrule, in which it is believed that a great prince, who never knew death, has been bound by enchantment for the last six hundred years. " The great-grandfather of my informant," says Waldron, " saw a huge dragon, with a tail and wings that darkened all the elements, and eyes that seemed like two globes of fire, descend into that cavern ; and afterwards heard the most terrible shrieks and groans from within. If a horse or dog is taken to the mouth of the pit its hair will stand of end, its eyes stare, and a damp sweat will cover its whole body."
Waldron also tells us of a splendid palace which existed on this mountain, in the days of enchantment, where dwelt a celebrated magician. " Every mortal who happened to venture within its portals was instantly converted into stone. This spread such terror that the country for many miles round became desolate. One evening after dusk it happened that a poor man, looking for charity, was travelling on that side of the island. He had never heard of the enchanter. Seeing no place where he might obtain lodgings for the night, he wandered about a considerable time, until at length he came in sight of the palace, which rose before him in all its splendour ; but, not presuming to enter within its doors, lest he should be turned out again, he sat down under one of the large piazzas by which the edifice was surrounded. Being hungry, he took some bread and meat, with a little salt, out of his pocket to eat ; but a small portion of the salt having accidentally fallen to the ground, instantly terrific groans issued from the earth, a dreadful hurricane arose, lightning flashed around, and thunder rattled over his head. The gorgeous palace, with its lofty porticoes and brazen door, vanished, and the mendicant found himself in the midst of a barren waste. When he communicated this wonderful adventure to the inhabitants of the neighbouring village, they refused to believe him ; till, having gone to the spot where the palace of the necromancer stood, they were convinced of the truth of the beggars statement, and all united in prayers and thanksgivings for so great a deliverance. It appeared evident from the beggars story that the salt which had been spilt upon the ground had occasioned the dissolution of the enchanters palace. For this reason salt has since been held in such high estimation with the Manx, that no person will go out to transact business without taking some in his pocket. Many will neither put out a child, nor take in one to nurse, without salt being mutually exchanged. Should any person ask the meaning of this veneration for salt, he will be told the above story, by doubting which he will incur the censure of the inhabitants of the island as a very profane individual."
South Barrule is not only interesting to lovers of legendary lore, but to matter-of-fact geologists of the present day it is equally interesting, for in the blocks of granite, which are strewn about its western side, and near its summit, it presents important subjects of inquiry as to when and by what agency they were carried from their parent source, the granite mountain, which is hundreds of feet below on the eastern side of Foxdale.
The ascent of the mountain may be accomplished without much difficulty from the three places, Foxdale, Glen Meay, and the top of the Round Table. From Castletown the best plan is to ascend from the highest point of the road leading through Foxdale to Peel. From Douglas the train might be taken to St. Johns station, and then, after strolling along the road into Foxdale, the ascent might be commenced from almost any point ; or the traveller might go to St. Johns or Peel by train, and thence to Glen Meay. From Peel a carriage may be taken to within a short distance of the top of the mountain by going either from Glen Meay past the Beckwith Vein Mine, or by Dalby to the Round Table. (See pages 93 and 95.) The tourist may also ride to the point in Foxdale, previously mentioned, as being a good place for commencing the ascent.
A steady half-hours pull over ground covered with heather will land the traveller on the summit, where he will have a fine and extensive prospect ; one which, in 1643, called forth the following letter from the Earl of Derby to his son Charles. He says : " When I go on the mount you call Barrule, and, but turning me round, can see England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, I think shame so fruitlessly to see so many kingdoms at once, which no place, I think, in any nation that we know under heaven can afford such a prospect of, and to have so little profit by them."
When the spectator looks around from this commanding position, he forgets for a time the legendary and historical associations of the spot, and gazes with delight on the large extent of cultivated land, studded with habitations, and surrounded by a wide extent of sea, stretching from Douglas Bay, round by the south of the island, to its northern extremity at the Point of Ayre. On the shores of the broad expanse of waters are seen the towns of Douglas, Castletown, and Peel; the Langness promontory, with the bays of Derby Haven, Castletosvn, and Poolvash, are pretty objects ; and far away on the verge of the horizon are discerned, looming through the haze, the coasts of Ireland, Scotland, England, and Wales. The neighbouring heights appearing to the south are the Mull Hills, Brada Head, the Carnanes, and Cronk-na-Irey-Lhaa. Beyond Glen Rushen, through which the streamlet is seen descending from the Beckwith vein mine to Glen Meay, are Corrins Tower, the Peel Hill, and Slieu Whallin. Beyond the latter rise the central mountains of the island, including Greeba, Sartfell, Beary, Slieu Dhoo, Colden, Carraghan, Pen-yPot, Snaefell, and the Cairn.
The tourist can descend without difficulty to any point he chooses ; or he may cross over the Round Table to the top of Cronk-na-Irey-Lhaa, a journey which will amply repay the labour.
It is a pleasant drive from Peel to Kirk Michael, the road running near the sea all the way, and in some places on the cliffs, and only a few yards from the shore.
On leaving Peel a steep ascent is made, and then a view is gained of a wide extent of sea, and in the rear the ruins on St. Patricks Isle, and the heights of Peel Hill, Cronk-na-Irey-Lhaa, South Barrule, and Slieu Whallin. For some distance farther the sea is hid by the cliffs.
One and a half miles from the town a road branches on the left to the shore, and on the right are seen perched, near the top of the Lhergydhoo hill, a few white stones, said to have been thrown from Peel by a giant in former times.
A short distance farther the sea re-appears, and there may be discerned the Scotch and Irish coasts ; Corrins Tower, and the ruins at Peel also are in view.
Three miles from Peel Glen Broigh is passed, and then Kirk Michael and the beautiful beach and cliffs stretching past Orrisdale head to Jurby point meet the eye. One mile further the road makes a sharp curve round Glen Cam, and runs pleasantly on the cliffs, with the sea-shore close below, and a fine view of the coast and level country in front, and in the rear Peel Hill and ruins : whilst on the right gradually advance to view the mountains Slieu Curn, Slieu Farrane, and Sartfell.
Five and a half miles from Peel Glen Mooar is crossed. A few hundred yards up the glen is situated the Spooyt Vane waterfall, which is very pretty, and well worth a visit. Here, on the roadside, is displayed a fine section of the sand and gravel of the pleistocene or recent strata. Half a mile farther Glen Wyllin is passed, a pretty dell containing a dozen houses surrounded by trees. A quick ascent is made, and when the road is passed leading to Cronk-y-Voddee and Glen Helen, the Mitre Hotel is reached at the head of the village of Kirk Michael.
Brandy Well, 3½ miles ; Snaefell, 8 miles ; Injebreck, 5½ miles; Douglas, 12½ miles.
Entering the road on the right, a few yards below the Kirk Michael parish church, a steep ascent is made, and a wide extent of ocean is gradually revealed, with the level country in the ditection of Jurby ; the ruins at Peel, and Corrins Tower are also visible, and in front Slieu Curn, the Vael hill, Short Farrane, and Sartfell. Peel and Jurby disappear, and then come in sight on the right Slieu Whallin, South Barrule, Cronk-na-Irey-Lhaa, Beary, and the Upper part of Glen Wyllin, in which is observed the hill of Reneurling.
During the ascent the traveller will look back many times and admire the view of the village resting near the sea, and close to the hollows formed by Glen Balleira, Glen Wyllin, and Glen Mooar.
When through an iron gate the open fell is entered, and a, smooth grass-covered road gradually ascends and winds between Slieu Curn and the Vael hill, allowing of a view down the solitary-looking glen of Ravensdale, on the opposite side of which appear Slieu Dhoo, Slieu Monagh, and Mount Karrin. Slieu Farrane presently comes in view again on the right, and on gaining the summit of the pass, which runs between that mountain and Slieu Dhoo, the heights of North Barrule, Snaefell, Pen-y-Pot, Carraghan, and Colden appear, and in the rear we get the last view of Kirk Michael and the level land around Glen Wyllin and Glen Mooar. On the right of Slieu Curn there is visible a level tract of country in the direction of the Point of Ayre.
The road slightly descends, and skirts the north-east side of Slieu Fariane with Druidale hollow on the left, and a desolate-looking moorland country inelosed on every side by hills. When round Slieu Farrane a descent is made by the side of Snaefell, and at the Brandy Well junction the roads are entered which lead to Snaefell, Injebreck, and Little London. (See pages 116 and 123.)
These hills being situated at a distance from Douglas, and from the other towns of the island, are little known and seldom visited, but they well deserve the attention of the mountaineer, and are easily scaled from Kirk Michael or Ballaugh, both pleasant resting-places.
Slieu Curn is the northern height, and it is ascended from either village. After a pleasant walk of about three-quarters of an hour, the summit is attained, where is a circular artificial mound similar in appearance to the Tynwald Hill at St. Johns, and which has probably in ancient times been used for a like purpose.
It commands a beautiful and extensive prospect. Kirk Michael village, and the whole of the level land from Peel to the Point of Ayre is spread to view, as if on a map, and pro-sents the appearance of a large and well trimmed garden, with its numerous fields, farmsteads, hamlets, and churches. There is a broad expanse of sea, with Ireland and Scotland in the distance. Inland the mountains are in sight from Peel Hill to North Barrule, including Cronk-na-Irey-Lhaa, South Barrule, Beary, Sartfell, Slieu Farrane, Slieu Dhoo, Snaefell, and Slieu Choar.
From Slieu Curn, Slieu Dhoo is reached, after a few minutes walk round the head of Ravensdale. It commands a good view of Druidale and the heights of North Barrule, Slieu Choar, Snaefell, Slieu Monagh, Pen-y-Pot, Carraghan, Colden, Slieu Reay, Greeba, Slieu Farrane, and Slieu Curn; but the prettiest bit is down Ravensdale, with Ballaugh and the level land about Jurby and the Point of Ayre. St. Patricks Isle is also just visible to the right of Slieu Farrane, and the Scotch and Irish coasts are discerned across the neighbouring sea.
The Manx spelling of this mountain is Slieu Fraughane, or Slieu-ny-Fraughane ; but as visitors rarely pronounce the word the same as the natives, we have thought it advisable to make the spelling agree with the proper Manx pronunciation.
The summit is not far distant from Slieu Dhoo, but the last part of the ground is steep, and necessitates a little hard work.
As from the neighbouring heights, the village of Kirk Michael, the open country from Peel to Jurby and the Point of Ayre, the sea, and opposite coasts of Ireland and Scotland, are in sight, and present a pleasing effect. The hollow of Ravensdale on the right, and the St. Patricks Isle in the opposite direction, are also seen : and then there is a long range of mountains, extending from Peel Hill and Corrins Tower in a north-east course, including Slieu Whallin, Cronk-na-Irey-Lhaa, South Barrule, Sartfell, Beary, Greeba, Slieu Reay, Colden, Injebreck Hill, Carraghan, top of Cairn Gharjohl, Pen-y-Pot, Slieu Mullagh Oure, Snaefell, Slieu Choar, North Barrule, Slieu Dhoo, and Mount Karrin. Also the hollow of Druidale, and two strips of sea to the south-east.
It is a short but pleasant walk from Slieu Farrane to Sartfell, allowing of charming glimpses on the right down to Glen Mooar, Glen Wyllin, and Kirk Michael. The top of Sartfell is covered with heather, and after rains it is rather swampy. The prospect is not so pleasing as from the heights just visited, but there is a good view down to Kirk Michael and its adjacent glens, and across the sea to Ireland and Scotland, St. Patricks Isle is visible, and then there is a long range of heights, beginning with Peel Hill, and including Beary, Slieu Whallin, Cronk-na-Irey-Lhaa, South Barrule, Greeba, Slieu Reay, Golden, Injebreck Hill, Carraghan, Pen-y-Pot, Snaefell, Slieu Choar, North Barrule, Slieu Farrane, Slieu Gum, and a patch of ocean in the direction of Injebreck Hill.
A descent might be made, on the south side of the mountain, to the road leading from Snaefell to Glen Helen or Kirk Michael.