[From 1923 Official Handbook]
"To unlock the treasures of the Island's heart."-T. E. Brown.
THE Island whose treasures are only partly unfolded to the view herein, lies in the centre of the Irish Sea. It is, in a sense, the heart of the British Isles, and appropriately possesses many healthgiving qualities.
A robust walker may encompass its seventeen little parish churches in a day; a pleasure steamer the whole of its rugged coastline in four hours. It does not belie its appearance on the map as a small fraction of the earth's surface until one views its mountain ranges from the highest peak, or attempts a close acquaintance with its four hundred miles of winding roads.
Mere size, however, counts for little in Creation. Many of the smallest things most teem with interest, and the Isle of Man is no exception. Those who have trodden its highways and byways, and strolled through its valleys and glens over and over again, are still discovering new sources of pleasure and enchantment.
It has a choice collection of scenic treasures: all the most alluring types abound. The majority of people are accustomed to think of visits to any of the beauty spots of the Home Country as joys which, of necessity, must be spread over separate years, but the " Little Man Island " contains replicas of them all.
There are typical bits of Yorkshire's breezy moors, and a perfect gem from the Lakeland setting. Fairy glens, each with its own tiny cascade falling through luxuriant foliage, are associated with weird legends of Phynnoderee and hobgoblins.
Myriads of wheeling sea-birds haunt the dizzily perched rocks of the sea coast. In the valleys one comes across typical Norwegian and Swiss scenery, and it is possible to go trout fishing in the glens and believe one is in a much more southern latitude than actually is the case. Ranges of heather-clad mountains fade away into a blue distance, and make the beholder wonder whether the' place has ever been accorded its correct relative size on -the map. And here and here lie the towns by the sea, or the quaint villages slumbering in rural scenery which for beauty may be equaled but not surpassed anywhere.
The profusion of palms flourishing in gardens or in the sheltered glens round the coast strongly suggest a tropical climate. They are, happily, no more indicative of blazing heat than the sea-lions of Groudle typify an arctic cold.
The Island is favoured with much more than the average of sunny days. It is more favoured still in that it does not experience extreme variations in temperature. The climate is one of the most equable in the world. Summer never brings an oppressive heat, while the delicate primrose blooms regularly in January, and the fuchsia and eucalyptus, flourishing in the open air, are a source of wonder in such. a northern latitude.
The quick and convenient transit of the visitor is amply provided for, daily steamboat communication with . the mainland being maintained throughout the year. During the season, which generally extends from Easter to the end of September, a fine service of steamers links up the Island with the principal neighbouring ports.
The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company has an extensive fleet of cross-channel steamers, second to none in the world. Many of the vessels are of recent construction, and embody the latest improvements in marine engineering, in addition to being fitted with luxurious lounges and saloons capable of reassuring the most timorous traveller, and of making the sea passage a delightful and exhilarating part of the holiday.
The crossing from Liverpool is accomplished in about three-and-a-half hours, while the Fleetwood passage is made in rather an hour less. These two ports are the main consideration of the Manx Company. But this enterprising firm also runs direct services to such places as Dublin, Belfast, Glasgow, and Ardrossan during the visiting season. The excursions round the Island, providing an enjoyable sail of four hours, and to neighbouring places of interest, are very popular, and are frequently arranged.
A short sea passage of two-and-a-half hours is provided by the London, Midland, and Scottish Railway Company's steamers, plying between Douglas and Heysham, in the south of Morecambe Bay. The turbine steamers performing this service are very speedy, and well maintain the Company's reputation for comfortable travel. The Heysham route is deservedly popular, and of those which are tapped to any considerable extent is second only to Fleetwood by way of being the shortest sea route to the Island. This service is a seasonal one.
All the year round communication is kept up by the Dublin, Silloth, and Isle of Man Steamship Company, whose ports of call are indicated in that title, the Manx port of call being Douglas. Silloth lies on the Solway Firth, and will suggest itself as a route involving only a short railway journey in the case of those residing in the North of England and the Tweed district.
The railway companies provide an excellent service of trains in connection with the boat service, and the ease with which it is possible to reach the Island from any part of the country may be imagined when it is stated, for example, that one may breakfast in London and dine early in any part of Mona's Isle.
The organisation for transporting the visitor to the sunny shores of Mona's Isle being so ample in its scope and efficient in its operations, it is, perhaps, unnecessary to state that the minor problem of the movement of visitors within the Island is equally well solved.
There are two main carrying companies: the Isle of Man Railway Company and the Manx Electric Railway Company. The Manx railway system is simplicity itself.
The lines of the former company tap practically the, whole Island, running as they do from the north to the south, very much in the shape of a badly written G, which would start at Ramsey, and round by way of St. John's and Peel into Douglas, the tail being the south line running along the eastern half of the coast into Port Erin. Trains run in connection with the morning steamers from Liverpool and other places, and it is generally possible for those who so desire, to complete the journey to any inland place on this system on the day of travelling, without being under the necessity of putting up for the night in Douglas.
The Electric Railway specialises on a service from Douglas to Ramsey along the coast, the route in this case running through fine coastal and pretty glen _scenery, embracing such places as Groudle, Garwick, Laxey, and other smaller villages. From Laxey a branch line runs to the summit of Snaefell, which is a favourite trip with thousands of visitors .
The electric cars set passengers down at frequent intervals, and a boon to the travelling public is that which allows passengers to break their journey at any station en route. Boat connections are practically always obtainable, by the electric cars, which run on a double-lined system and lend themselves to greater variation in service.
The Island is rich in historic and legendary associations,. and perhaps the place to which the largest majority of visitors wend their way is the ancient and famous Tynwald, Hill at St. John's. It is here that, on July 5th every year, a ceremony takes place which is unique in presentday parliamentary history, and which has typified the freedom and independence of Manxmen from the very early days, when his contemporaries in the neighbouring isles were groaning under the tyranny of serfdom.
Tynwald ceremony, which is enacted on an artificial mound composed of earth drawn from the seventeen parishes of the Island, has its origin in an old Scandinavian custom of holding Courts in the open-air. The, earliest record of this ceremony being held in Mann is dated 1237. All laws passed by the Manx Government are promulgated from the historic Hill in both the Manx and English languages, and no Manx law is regarded as actually being in operation until, after having received the Royal Assent, it has undergone the process prescribed by the Manx Constitution and exemplified year by year at Tynwald.
The occasion is one for a state ceremony, in which various military, civil, and ecclesiastical personages, including the Governor and his Deemsters and members of the House of Keys, take part. What display of pomp and circumstance this little Island is capable of making is then made, and natives and visitors alike pour out of the towns and villages and crowd to St. John's in the role of spectators.
Another interesting circumstance, which deserves lifting out of the obscurity to which it has hitherto been relegated, is that the Isle of Man boasts the scene of the first Derby race.
It is not generally known that the great English sporting event was inaugurated at Derbyhaven-an unpretentious little fishing village in a quiet backwater near Castletown. This site was chosen by James, the seventh Earl of Derby, and there is documentary evidence in existence that the Isle of Man course was the scene of a race for a prize of plate valued at £5, for which only Manx bred horses were allowed to compete. The event was instituted for the diversion of the Earl and members of the English Court resident in the Island during the latter half of the seventeenth century.
The site of the original Derby is now a golf course, of which there are seven, mostly full sized, in different parts of the Island.
They are situated in charming places, all within range of the cool breezes coming in from the sea. It would not be easy, even should one desire, to get completely away from the welcome coolness thus brought about. The greatest distance which it is possible to penetrate inland does not exceed six miles.
This being so, it is not surprising that fishing has played an important part in the life of the Island. It is possible to indulge in river and sea fishing under a variety of delightful conditions, which may come under the notice of the angler as he sets foot on the fine piers or passes any of the peaceful glens, or coves around the coast with their boats drawn up on the beach.
The waters of the Manx coast are crystal in purity, and the mysterious bed of the sea is visible at a great depth. This renders skate, and other flat fish, an easy prey to fishermen, who are adept at spearing.
The principal fish caught are whiting, plaice, bream, - cod, ling, comer, skate, pollack, guarnard, and many others, while the rocks teem with shell fish and crustaceans. The small rivers intersecting the Island are well stocked with trout by the Fisheries Board; last year no less than 10,000 young fish (salmo fero) being transferred from Scottish waters. A further substantial addition is being made this year, so that the angler is assured of good sport. Some of the larger rivers have a good run of salmon in the autumn and sea trout in the spring.
Motorists need no recommendation to the roads of Manxland. A tribute to their excellence is implied by the holding here for many years of the world-famed Motor Cycle Races for the coveted Tourist Trophy. Together with the Motor Car Races, these trials are largely attended by the motoring fraternity and others interested, and are usually held in June, when the Island is at its best.
No matter what one's taste may be in the way of sport, amusement, or recreation, the Isle of Man, with its ideal climate, tonic air, beautiful scenery, and enterprising people, will provide anyone with unlimited material for an outstanding holiday.
A LITTLE over one hundred years ago, Douglas was a tiny, clay-built fishing village, astride the mingled waters of the Dhoo and the Glass, from which the town derives its name.
To-day it ranks as one of the leading watering-places in the kingdom.
It is built on the slopes of a majestic bay, in the form of an amphitheatre, facing the morning sun. On either hand the land ends abruptly in bold headlands, which form, as it were, the pillars of this natural main gateway to the Island. Beyond the blue waters of the bay, the promenade sweeps in a perfect crescent, and is fringed by a long line of imposing buildings, whose solid front is broken, here and there, by patches of refreshing green foliage. The gleaming roof-tops of the houses appear to run uniformly close to the margin of the bay. Several spires, and a solitary tall chimney, innocent of the smoke of a manufacturing town, are sharply lined against the sky in the clear air. Behind all are verdant slopes, and a long, low-lying mountain range, which ascends gradually as it runs northwards, and culminates in the lofty height of Snaefell.
A view from the steamer gliding into port past the lighthouse on the cliff, fills in the details of a memorable scene. Presently the faces are distinguishable on the pier of a smiling, waving crowd, who typify the decorous behaviour of the throngs of pleasure-seekers to be encountered later. The arriving vessel is smartly berthed alongside others of the Manx fleet. An idle glance shorewards reveals an identifying feature of Douglas Bay in the Tower of Refuge, surmounting a rocky islet in the near offing. Boats are drawn a on the beach and people are seen climbing over the rocks to the castle, which, as all good guide books inform you, was built by Sir William Hillary, the founder of the National Lifeboat Institution, in 1832.
The glassy waters of the bay are dotted over with innumerable craft, and beyond one glimpses the surging life on sands and promenade, and is conscious of a medley of pleasant sounds coming out from the town. In the inner harbour, guarded from the sea by a promenade breakwater, pleasure yachts lie at anchor, flat-bottomed ferries ply to and fro to the accompaniment of tinkling music, and further up the river are quaint jetties, a swing bridge, and a forest of masts gently swaying on the tide.
A general view of Douglas is almost Eastern in its picturesqueness. But, unlike the average Eastern town, Douglas will stand the closest scrutiny and even improve on a near acquaintance. The hillside on which the place is built lends itself admirably to modern methods of sanitation, which have been introduced here, as throughout the other towns, by a wise and enterprising local authority. The water supply is pure and abundant, and the visitor cannot but be impressed by the general air of cleanliness. A general electric lighting scheme is being introduced in the capital this year, although a nightly electrical illumination of the Douglas Promenade has been a feature of the town for many years, and has been described as one of the most beautiful and impressive sights to be encountered in these Islands.
The means of getting about the town are simple and adequate. From the foot of the landing pier, a service of horse-trams runs along the Promenade to Derby Castle -the terminus of the Manx Electric Railway. Speed is not intended to be the essence of the contract either in the case of this service or of that of the cable cars which run through a main shopping centre, and, after ascending an incline-which, by the way, is perhaps the greatest drawback to the introduction of electric trams-pass along the top of the town to the outskirts. The horse-trams are popular for taking an airing, and are aided as occasion requires by motor 'busses, which also ply along the quayside to the railway station and the west end.
During the past year a Manx National Museum has been opened in Douglas. It contains a fine collection of Natural History objects. Pre-historic Pottery; Stone and Bronze Implements; Celtic and Runic Crosses; and many articles illustrating the life of the Manx nation from the earliest times. There are also a Fine Arts Gallery, containing a collection of pictures by the most celebrated Manx artist, the late Mr. J. M. Nicholson, and a Library of Manx Books, Manuscripts, and Prints.
The capital does not claim to possess any public buildings of outstanding architectural merit. The Town Hall, to which is attached the Free Library, is a modest building of grey sandstone, tucked away in a quiet neighbourhood off the main cable route. The Government Offices and Legislative Buildings, also, notwithstanding their heavily pillared balconies, are more suggestive of service than -show. But people do not come to Douglas to see architecture. They come to breathe the bracing air, and to be amused. And it is in this direction that Douglas excels.
Its entertainment houses include The Palace and Derby Castle, two fine resorts standing in well-kept grounds by the sea. The Palace, which was destroyed by fire in the summer of 1920, was re-erected within a year, and the new building, rising Phoenix-like from the ashes, has lost none of its former glory. The dancing hall is probably the largest in the kingdom.
The interior, from the high vaulted roof to the polished parquetry floor, is a dazzling white, which harmonises with the brilliant scenes ensuing when several hundreds of dancers nightly take the floor to the haunting music of a first-class orchestra. All the latest modes of the glad art are executed here and at Derby Castle, under the direction of experts: and the carnival nights, with the tumultuous showerings of confetti from the balconies upon the gaily attired dancers, and the multi-coloured searchlights sweeping the dimmed hall, provide a fascinating spectacle.
Derby Castle, also, has an excellent dancing hall of large dimensions, and is similar to The Palace in that it has a good variety theatre attached.
On the Promenade, at the foot of Broadway, is Villa Marina, another splendid house of entertainment, and a result of the enterprise of the Corporation. The site marks the residence of the late Mr. Noble. One may enjoy a. pleasant afternoon in the sheltered grounds of this fashionable resort, listening to the strains of a good orchestra or a. famous hand. In the rear, behind a curtain of foliage, is a secluded spot which has been laid out with bowling greens and tennis courts.
Of an evening, the elegant hall, which adds a distinctly continental touch to the animated Promenade, is given over to a good variety show, to dancing, or to some other popular amusement; and the Sunday evening concerts, both here and at The Palace, are participated in by some of the most gifted artistes of the day. Ante-rooms contain lounges, cafés, reading rooms and so on, all richly furnished; while outside, the roof gardens, promenade, and mounds are illuminated with thousands of fairy lights, making a rich setting for gay throngs of pleasure seekers.
There are two fine specimens of theatres in the Gaiety and the Grand, the former abutting on Villa Marina and the latter in Victoria Street. They represent the last word in comfort, and, in company with the fore-going resorts, are visited by many stars of Stageland, who appear to have little difficulty in shining in the seaside air of Douglas with great brilliance.
Plentiful provision is made in the way of cinemas. There are the Crescent Picture House; the New Picture House and the Strand, in the quaint old shopping street behind the Loch Promenade; the Grand; Pier Pavilion; and the Empire.
Douglas Head is a place to which all creation appears to move in the mornings. Near the lighthouse are Port Skillion baths and creek, with every convenience for the bather. An electric lift ascends the slope above the baths and sets one down among numerous side shows, where innocuous enjoyment may be purchased for one's small change. A troupe of entertainers perform in the open air before huge crowds sunning themselves on the headland.
From this point an enjoyable coastal trip may be taken by the Douglas Southern Electric Railway, along the Marine Drive to Port Soderick. This may be accomplished in a few hours, allowing time for a saunter up the glen and a visit to the Smugglers' Caves.
There are public swimming baths in Victoria Street, and Russian and medicinal baths are also available within the building. Port Jack is also in great demand as a bathing creek. It is situated at the north end of the Promenade, below Onchan Head. This is another resort for those light-hearted crowds whose chief joy is in merry-go-rounds, water-chutes and caves, toboggan slides, and other similar pastimes. There is an excellent troupe of pierrots, who give daily performances in the open air and in the large concert hall on the headland.
Golf courses, two in number, are situated one on either side of the town overlooking the sea, while tennis and bowls may be enjoyed in various places both in the town and on the outskirts. One of the latter places, the Public Recreation Ground, looks over the roofs of the houses on to Douglas Head and the Bay, with its arriving and departing steamers, and the surroundings are ideal. Behind the town is Belle Vue Race Course, where bi-weekly meetings are held throughout the season, to the delight of the crowds who repair thither by train, 'bus, or waggonette. or on foot.
The spirit of the town is essentially one of carnival with the unruly and boisterous element left out. Light-hearted, sane, wholesome enjoyment is the lot of those who visit Douglas. A week or a fortnight there in the season will make yours a holiday to remember for the rest of your days.
Prospective Visitors are invited to addre3s inquiries for any further information required respecting Douglas, to the Town Clerk, Dept. B., Douglas.
THE village of Onchan lies to the north of Douglas and appears from the sea to form part of ;he capital. It, however, orders its own local government affairs, and is very popular among visitors who prefer the upland air and a suburban quiet. Government House stands back from the main highroad connecting Douglas with Onchan. The parish churchyard contains several Scandinavian crosses of great antiquarian interest, and the vicinity abounds in charming rustic walks. Onchan Head entertainments are close by. and Port Jack and other little bathing creeks are much frequented by visitors staying in the village. The amusements of Douglas are easily reached by a service of horse trams at the foot of the hill.
Groudle, with its deep, winding Lhen Coan, and miniature railway and sea-lions, is a pleasant excursion; and Garwick, another little resort, is situated in a charming valley. The tiny beach, having smugglers' caves running in far under the cliff, is approached by another leafy glen, and is ideal for picnicing.
Also reached by the Manx Electric Railway is Laxey, nestling in a pretty valley below Snaefell, whose mines enjoyed much prosperity last century, when shares sold for over ten times their original value. The village caters for visitors in its famous glen, where bands perform during the day, and where there is every facility for the enjoyment of the young; its wheel, which was the largest in the world at the time of its erection, in 1854; and in its hotels and small boarding and farm house accommodation.
There are plenty of glens in the neighbourhood, and trout fishing may be had in the streams. A good beach offers excellent bathing facilities, and the place has obvious advantages as a headquarters in being midway between the two main towns of the Island. Electric cars run from the picturesque station, with its palm grove, to Snaefell summit, and Ramsey and Douglas, and permit of visits to the theatre of an evening.
Union Mills and Crosby lie in the central valley on the railway, and are, perhaps, the most sheltered places in the Island. The district holds such objects of interest as St. Patrick's Chair, and the ruin of St. Trinian's Church, concerning whose roofless state there is a weird tradition; and a Druidical stone circle at the head of Glen Darragh, whose outline may still be faintly traced.
Half an hour out of Douglas, Kirk Braddan, an old ivy-covered church, set in a mass of foliage, is well worth inspecting. Inside are a number of Manx runic crosses of great antiquity. An old grave-stone leaning against the eastern wall of the church was erected by the Rev. Patrick Thompson, a former vicar, eleven years before his death. Sunday services are held in an adjacent field, and are attended by many thousands of worshippers, whose singing is borne on the quiet breeze for miles around.
Another favourite drive is to Injebreck, through the valley of Baldwin, where the first Danish invaders are said to have encamped. The Douglas reservoir lies in the valley, and viewed from the mountain side, clothed in firs and pine woods, presents a view strongly reminiscent of a Norwegian fjiord. Fishing is permissable in the reservoir, whose waters are well stocked with trout. The keeper, living close at hand, issues tickets at moderate charges, and good sport is assured here and in the many streams of the surrounding hills.
On the south coast of Douglas, and within easy reach both by road and rail, are Port Soderick and Santon. They are both quiet villages with farm and other accommodation, and their glens, and rivers, and beaches appeal to the lover of the simple life.
Prospective Visitors to any of the places named in the fore going, are invited to address inquiries for any further information required, to the Clerk to the Commissioners, Dept. B., of the respective districts,
RAMSEY is notable for its historic landings. It was here that, after essaying an entry further south, Colonel Dukinfield, an emissary of Cromwell, first set foot on the Island when, with his
three regiments of foot and two troops of horse, he came to take possession of Mann on behalf of the Parliamentary forces. Royalty, in particular, appear to have a predilection for this place. Queen Victoria and the Prince Consort, who visited these shores in 1847, also landed at Ramsey, and the Albert Tower on Ballure Mount overlooking the town, marks the spot where the Royal visitors viewed the surrounding country. In more recent years, King Edward VII landed here; and, finally, our reigning sovereign, after history had repeated itself in the changing of plans as to a landing place, followed an illustrious precedent, and the northerners now proudly refer to theirs as the Royal town of Ramsey.
The town lies at the foot of North Barrule, and looks out from the estuary of the Sulby river across the low- lying sand-dunes stretching away to the Point of Ayre. A thirty-five mile expanse of water separates this coast from Whitehaven, and the Cumberland hills loom large and clear on the horizon. Ascending to the top of Snaefell-the highest altitude in the Island-along the world-famed motor-racing track, one gains a magnificent bird's eye view of the fertile northern reaches of the country, once the scene of many a pitched battle between the Manx and invading tribes. Looking further ahead, an inspiring panorama of land and sea meets the eye. On the left are the mountains of Mourne ; ahead lies the Mull of Galloway, whose lighthouse may be seen twinkling at night from many lower parts of the Island; and, southwards, the dim outline is visible of the mountains of northern Wales.
The seaboard in these parts is a study in contrasts. To the north of the town, the coast runs along a stretch of yellow sands, reminiscent of Kent. On the other side, the rocky height of Maughold Head drops sheer into the sea, and is succeeded along the coast by bold cliff scenery, whose harsh aspect is softened by some of the Island's most beautiful glens, which hereabouts reach down to the shore. At the foot of Ballaglass Glen, an idyllic spot, the telegraph cable connecting the Island with the mainland leaves the water and finds its way to the capital.
Ramsey is a watering-place much favoured by those who prefer a restful holiday. Sir Hall Caine, who was once the member of the House of Keys for the town, recommends the air and scenery as being stimulating to depressed spirits and soothing to exhausted nerves, and, notwithstanding' his wide experience of travelling, has a word of praise, which is both generous and sincere, for the beauties of the district.
The town is scattered over an ample area, and has good hotels and hydros, and commodious' boarding-houses lining the Promenade. From the Queen's Pier, running out from the centre of the town, angling is a favourite pastime, and competitions are arranged by the townspeople, who are zealous in all matters pertaining to the amusement of their visitors. This pier, which has witnessed the Royal landings previously mentioned, functions mainly as berthage for the direct boat service with Belfast, Ardrossan, and Liverpool, which plys during the summer months.
The Mooragh Park and Lake is a popular rendezvous, with its beautiful lawns and gardens, bowling greens, tennis courts, and waving palms; bordering the shallow, waters whereon yachting and rowing may be enjoyed by the veriest amateur. The golf course, designed by Mr. Tom Morris, is the scene of many a close handicap for valuable cups and other trophies during the season; and fine trout may be landed in the broad waters of the SuIby river, flowing round the foot of the hills. The rural scenery in the neighbourhood is altogether charming.
There is no difficulty, if you are so minded, in reaching Ramsey by the routes already indicated. An ever-increasing number of visitors from the North of Ireland find the place a real health restorer, as is testified by their never-failing annual visits.
Prospective Visitors are invited to address inquiries for any further information respecting Ramsey, to Mr. G. W. Kewin, Dept. B., Town Hall, Ramsey.
THE Sheadings of Ayr and Garff, between which Ramsey is situated, are rich in glen, mountain, and rural scenery. Elfin Glen, the Dhoon, Glen Mona, Ballaglass, Sulby Glen, Glen Auldyn, to mention a few, are well worth the exertion necessary .to their exploration. For they form some of the best natural I treasures of the Island, with their waterfalls, which com-pensate for a lack of size by their beauty. Trout fishing may be had in most of the glens, and in the neighbourhood of Sulby the angler will be reminded of Switzerland.
Skye Hill marks the scene of a battle fought between Norsemen and the islanders in 1077, and the old tumuli and remains of fortifications scattered about the countryside will gain the attention of those who have a bent for out-of-the-way knowledge in history. Near St. Jude's Church, on Ballachurry Farm, are the remains of an old Cromwellian earthwork.
Kirk Maughold old church goes back to the tenth century, and probably earlier. It stands on the site of a monastery which once gave sanctuary to the Manx clans against the warlike Vikings, many of whom settled in the north. Mr. Gladstone, who visited the Island in his latter days, said that the porch of this old church was one of the most perfect examples of early Christian architecture he had seen. There are many Celtic and Scandinavian crosses in the churchyard. One, of the twelfth century type, bears a crude representation of a Viking ship, which was the ancient arms of Mann. This is the only specimen of its kind now in existence. Those who have seen the Isle of Man office in Ludgate Circus, London, with its large gilt sign, will know that Manxland's Arms are now its Legs, three in number, joined together round an axle. A parish cross outside the church recalls a morbid custom, now almost forgotten, of bearing the dead three times round this symbol before interment took place. The Holy Well near by is said to have effected marvellous cures in days gone by, and is now neglected by a generation which has lost the faith of its forebears.
Another interesting old church is at Ballaugh. Bridging the gap of a thousand years is a runic cross within the hallowed enclosure, bearing hieroglyphics which are interpreted to the effect that " Thorloff Thorjolfson erected this stone to the memory of his son Ulf." Druidale also contributes to the peculiar charm of the district. Cairns and keeils, crosses and implements of the Stone Age, and many other discoveries have been made here; and those who are content with the present will find enough in these rural parts to spend a pleasant holiday angling, cycling, bathing, and getting- a maximum of healthy enjoyment out of their visit, such as the Isle of Man is noted for yielding.
Prospective Visitors are invited to address inquiries for any further information regarding places named in the foregoing, to the Clerk of the Commissioners, Dept. B., of the respective districts,
THE western city of Peel is an old-world place, with a charm all its own. It stands in marked contrast with those resorts which are whirlpools of pleasure during the summer season, and provides, along with other towns along the Manx coast, an ideal retreat for those whose tastes are mainly for natural beauties of sea and land and the joy of the open air.
The town has up-to-date hotels and boarding-houses both on the Promenade and extending over the crest of the gently sloping hill spur on which the town is built.
Peel is the main fishing centre of the Island, and its dominant note is of the sea. The small fleet moored to the old cannon lining the heavily buttressed quayside is now all that remains of some two hundred sail, which once completely packed the harbour and gave employment to hundreds of the sturdy fishermen for which the Island is famous. The scenes on the quay still retain a certain -charm; and the glistening herring there sold at auction are later transformed into the succulent Manx kipper, whose flavour many curers outside these shores have sought, with ill success, to imitate.
What lends most charm to the town is the ancient castle built on an islet at the mouth of the harbour. St. Patrick's Isle once formed a strong natural protection, and hereon, at various intervals in the march of time, were erected the historic piles which now boast many interesting associations. The rock has been linked to the mainland in recent years by a wide causeway, forming part of the West Quay, which runs out to a landing pier, or breakwater, guarding the outer bay.
The castle and grounds are, as may be imagined, a fruitful source of attraction. They form one of the most outstanding links with the past with which the Island abounds. A strong, battlemented wall, several feet thick, runs round the islet, enclosing an area of some five green acres. The main entrance is approached by a flight of well-worn red sandstone steps running under a darkened archway. An object of curiosity is the haunted guardroom, and the tale of the " Moddey Dhoo," or the black dog of the castle, loses nothing of its grimness in the oftrepeated telling. Conspicuous among the ruins is St. Germain's Cathedral, within whose walls six Bishops lie buried. Among these are Simon, Bishop of Sodor and Mann, who died in 1247, and Dr. Samuel Rutter, whose epitaph refers to his " sharing a house with the little worms," and enjoins the passer-by to " stop, and smile at the palace of a bishop." In the fourteenth century, the Earl of Warwick was immured in the tower overlooking the sea, and in the Cathedral dungeon the Countess of Gloucester was imprisoned for fourteen years for the then grave offence of witchcraft. The oldest buildings existing in the Island are the Round Tower and St. Patrick's Church, giving evidence of the Celtic Church in Mann. A mound near by is said to be a burial ground, and no effort of the imagination is required to give credence to the tradition concerning the giant's grave below the walls looking seawards. No part of the castle grounds is without interest. The remains of the armoury, the soldiers' quarters, castle well, sally ports, and many other features, all enable the most casual observer to reconstruct the absorbing scenes once enacted within the grey walls. Small wonder that such a-place aroused the interest of Sir Walter Scott, who, in the " Lay of the Last Minstrel " and " Peveril of the Peak," makes copious references to the ruins.
The tiny bay on the land side of the castle and at the foot of Peel Hill is still called Fenella Bay, after one of Scott's immortal characters. This is a perfect natural bathing creek, with its firm sands and rocky platform, providing splendid facilities for the more accomplished swimmer.
On the northern side of the tidal harbour are excellent sands, forming an ideal playground for children. Further along, adjoining C'reg Malin, are the Traie Fogog Baths, and the visitor will find every convenience for sea bathing in safety and comfort in this secluded and charming creek.
The neighbouring cliffs abound in weird rock formations, caves and stacks being numerous. Public footpaths along by the sea, combined with the good country roads near by, make the place ideal for walking tours. Boating and fishing may also be indulged in under perfect conditions. An excellent 18-hole golf course lies at the top of the town. The turf is naturally springy, and Mr. Alex Herd, the designer, has made the most of a. fine undulating area containing many natural hazards. Seven tennis courts and a putting course are attached to the links and are very popular.
Prospective Visitors are invited to address inquiries for any further information respecting Peel, to the Town Clerk, Dept. B., Peel
There are many places of interest in the West. The peace of Patrick village was somewhat broken into during the war, when a vast alien encampment was established there. Soon the only evidence of this great invasion will be found in the neighbouring churchyard, where a variety of tombstones have inscriptions reading in a babel of tongues. Glen Maye, by the coast, is reputed to be the last home of the Phynnoderee-a fairy sprite-and is a short walk along the main road running south. This place may also be reached by a cliff path running behind Peel Hill, below the Coastguard Station. The coastal views obtainable along this route are grand and inspiring. There is a good trout stream in Glen Maye, and accommodation for man and beast in the village. Dalby, still further south, is a little farming community where the visitor may find himself most remote from the crowd. Access is by motor or other conveyance from Peel.
St. John's has already been mentioned in connection with the famous Tynwald ceremony, and Foxdale, a mining village hidden in a valley of the near hills, has many places of stay. A branch line of the railway connects both Upper and Lower Foxdale with St. John's, which is the junction for the Douglas to Peel and Ramsey lines. Glen Helen and the Falls of Rhenass are at the head of a neighbouring gorge, which re-echoes to the sound of much traffic in the summer time. Greeba Castle, a, couple of miles distant from St. John's, is Sir Hall Caine's residence, whose ivy-covered top may be seen from the passing train peeping out from the fir-clad slopes of Greeba.
Seven miles to the north of Peel is Kirk Michael, a small coastal resort. 'There are tennis courts and swings and other delights for the children in Glen Wyllin, close bv, and the sands are excellent for bathing. Bishop's Court, the episcopal palace of the Bishops of Sodor and
Mann since the thirteenth century, stands on the outskirts of the village. The parish church of Kirk Michael, in the village, is another feature of interest.
Prospective visitors are invited to address inquiries respecting any of the places named in the foregoing, to the Clerk to the Commissioners, Dept. B., of the respective districts.
ALL four towns of the Island are placed almost on the four cardinal points of the compass. Castletown is in the south. Down to the latter end of last century this was the capital. The Government Offices and State Prison were situated here, and in the mediæval castle, round which the town clusters, the Legislature and Law Courts sat and made the Island's history. In 1869, the seat of Government was removed to Douglas, on account of the latter place being more central. A reminder of the former importance of Castletown in the life of the Island is contained in the Doric monument erected in the old market place to the memory of Cornelius Smelt-a former Governor.
Castletown lies at the mouth of the Silverburn river, whose upper reaches abound with trout and flow through charming rustic scenes. The lower range of South Barrule appears in the distant background. From Cronk-nyIree-Lhaa-" The Hill of the Break of Day "-and the neighbouring uplands a good view of the south of the Island is obtainable-a view which, when the gorse is in bloom, is full of beauty. These hills hold the town's water supply, which is of uniform excellence and purity with the water supply of the whole Island.
The inhabitants of Castletown are justly proud of their old fortress overlooking the harbour.. It has an absorbing history dating from the tenth century. In 1313, Robert Bruce laid siege to the place for six' months. Here one may yet see the marks made by Cromwell's men when sharpening their spears, after the Countess of Derby, in the melancholy circumstances recorded in history, had surrendered the castle. Leading from the outside door to the main gateway is a narrow alley, flanked by high walls of great strength and well preserved, as is the whole of the structure. A resounding passage, heavily timbered overhead, emerges on to the old moat. An ancient drawbridge spans the moat, long since drained, and gives access to an inner courtyard with its old-time well, and tiny mullioned windows high in the forbidding walls. Gloomy doorways lead to the dark dungeon where the famous Bishop Wilson was cast, and to spacious stone-floored chambers with their yawning fireplaces. A few years ago an old dungeon of Stygian darkness was discovered, which bears a. resemblance to that in which St. Paul was imprisoned in Rome, the entrance being through the floor. An oak beam over a doorway is dated 947. Ascending a narrow spiral staircase, one comes to the upper chambers, all teeming with interest, and eloquent with the association of ancient times. In one of these was exhibited for many years a fine specimen of an Irish elk-a silent witness to the fact that the Island was once part and parcel of Hibernia. This skeleton has now been removed, along with other objects of antiquarian interest, to the Manx Museum. Small chambers containing the crude machinery for raising and lowering the drawbridge have narrow embrasures through which the defenders of the castle poured molten lead on the heads of the assaulting forces.
A tour of the broad walls, which provide an excellent promenade, brings the visitor to the clock presented by Queen Elizabeth in 1597. It is the town's chief chronometer, and still faithfully records the passing hours. Within the ramparts is the residence which was built for, and occupied by, the Countess of Derby. This building now contains the quaint, early Victorian Court -louse, where the High Court of Justice and Petty Sessions for the district are held.
The metropolis, as it is called locally, is not lacking in enterprise where the health and amusement of its visitors are concerned. A modern drainage system was completed a few years ago. There is an extensive range of boardinghouses and hotels in the town and neighbourhood. The promenade and sands, park and river; the golf links on the site of We original Derby; the many features of geological and antiquarian interest; the sea and river fishing, and the facilities for indulging in these and other forms of sport, all make their own appeal to an ever-widening circle of admirers.
King William's College, which was built in 1643 [sic 1833], stands on the outskirts, in spacious grounds. It is a well-equipped public school, with a. long record of brilliant successes. The principal is the Rev. Canon E. C. Owen, M.A., who also supervises the High School for Girls, which is adjacent to the College. Together with the Castle, these educational foundations play an important part in shaping the destiny of Castletown as a quiet, decorous resort, where to sojourn is to find health and complete relaxation.
Prospective Visitors are invited to address inquiries for any further information regarding Castletown, to the Town Clerk, Dept. B., Castletown.
Scarlett Stack is a favourite ramble from the town. It is mentioned in Dean Farrar's famous school story as the place where Eric spent a night's vigil on the rocks. Near by Scarlett is Cromwell's Walk, Stone Chair, and Desk. From this point, the Puritan super-man is said to have reviewed his fleet crossing to Island. Hango Hill is still pointed out as the place of execution of William Christian, a former Receiver-General of the Island, who took a prominent part in surrendering the Island to the Cromwellian forces.
At the end of Langness Peninsula is St. Michael's Isle, with its old fort, which once guarded Ronaldsway harbour. This part of the coast appears to have been a vulnerable point in olden days. For it was here the King of Scotland forced an entry in 1275, when he established the authority of the Scottish crown in Mann. After that date, the Island changed hands many times, and invading hordes appear to have taken most readily to Ronaldsway. The old ruin on St. Michael's Isle is of a Roman Catholic Church of hoary age.
Ballasalla village, a short distance inland from this point, is near Rushen Abbey, a Cistercian monastery, and one of the last in the kingdom to be dissolved. It was a branch of Furness Abbey, and is full of interest. The Abbey was founded in the 12th century, and its first occupants were an abbot and twelve monks, who, in their black cowls and scapular with white vestments, supported themselves by manual labour. The Monk's Bridge, spanning the Silverburn river, speaks of days when the pack mule was the most advanced form of transport.
A romantic flavour is lent by the tradition which tells of a subterranean passage connecting up the Abbey with a forest that once flourished in Poolvash Bay. The underground tunnel discovered in 1798 gives this tradition an element of truth. Excellent trout fishing may be had in Silverburn river.
No visitor should miss the beauties of Colby Glen. The village is well sheltered, and roses bloom in the open air all through the winter. Ballabeg is also near by, and, together with the many interesting features in the south, is reached by the railway from Douglas.
Prospective Visitors are invited to address inquiries for any further information required regarding the places named in the foregoing, to the Clerk to the Commissioners, Dept. B., of the respective districts.
THESE two southern villages share much popularity as summer resorts. They are close neighbours and have much in common. Both were declared village districts in 1890, and enjoy unsullied reputations as health resorts. The authorities are alert in adopting modern methods of sanitation. The water supply is no where surpassed for purity, and is now under a Water Board combining both districts. Both resorts possess comfortable boarding-houses, hotels, and hydros,. surrounding the margin of sheltered bays. There are good golf links, tennis courts, bowling greens, splendid baths, and bathing creeks, boating facilities in plenty, and fishing waters adjacent to either port where abundant sport may be obtained.
The extensive sea beaches both at Port St. Mary and Port Erin form attractive and delightful playgrounds for children, and from vans or the houses, are much used by bathers. The bays are free from any tidal currents and are safe for bathing and boating.
Port Erin lies between Bradda and Mull Hills, facing west. The coastal scenery round the entrance to the bay is wild and grand. Bradda Head, with its Milner Tower silhouetted against the sky, drops six hundred feet sheer into the sea. The rocky ledges below are the haunt of thousands of sea-gulls. A Manx law protects these birds from harm on account of their proclivity for locating shoals of herring.
Mining operations were conducted on Bradda in the thirteenth century, when lead and silver were discovered. The huge concrete blocks lying across the entrance to the bay are the remains of a breakwater which was erected in 1864 and destroyed by storm four years later.
A Marine Aquarium and Fish Hatchery, together with a Biological Laboratory, stands on the quayside at the base of the old breakwater. It performs very useful work in stocking the adjoining waters with fish, and various specimens of denizens of the deep are on view within the building In addition to sandy creeks and an excellent beach, Port Erin has a large swimming bath built in the rocks below the promenade cliffs. It is fitted with many up-to-date devices and conveniences, and every glorious summer day throughout the season is a popular rendezvous.
Port St. Mary, aptly called the home of the artist, is quiet and restful, and its charms of beach and seaboard are attracting the attention of many visitors. The village is said to derive its name from the fact of the previous existence of a Catholic chapel in the vicinity. There is still a Chapel Bay and a Chapel Cliff to keep this memory green. The bay is a favourite bathing creek, and is overlooked by the commodious houses on the Promenade. All the attractions, such as the golf links and tennis courts, concert hall, and so on, are clustered together, although the smaller houses of the village, and the pretty villas, many of which are let furnished, follow the main roads leading inland.
The outer harbour witnesses regattas and swimming galas during the summer, and the Alfred Pier, the foundation stone of which was laid by the Duke of Edinburgh, provides a landing place at all states of the tide for private yachts and other pleasure boats. A charming boat excursion is to the Chicken Rock Lighthouse.
The whole seaboard in this district is rugged and grand. History and tradition invest these frowning cliffs with peculiar charms. The Calf Island, lying off the most southerly point, was once fortified. It has an old ruin which marks the residence-" Bushell's House "-of a recluse who lived on this lonely isle for three years.
Sir Hall Caine consigns one of his characters to this isolation, and graphically depicts a hermit's life on the Island. It is said that an Elizabethian courtier, escaping from vengence, made this spot a hiding place. Nowadays its occupants are swarms of scurrying rabbits and innumerable sea-birds.
Part of the Spanish Armada was wrecked, in 1588, on the bold headland now known as " Spanish Head." Poolvash, or " The Pool of Death," is on the northern side of Port St. Mary Bay, and the Chasms lie between this point and Port Erin, and deserve a visit. There are several fissures in the top of the cliff which penetrate to unknown depths, caused no doubt by some vast seismic disturbance. The Mull Circle, also, is of much historic interest.
Not least of all the charms of the neighbourhood is the characteristically Manx village of Cregneish, nestling in a sleepy hollow on the extreme southern reach. It is typical of the older life of the Island, with its little thatched cottages; and the more aged of the inhabitants still speak the fast-dying language of the native.
Prospective Visitors are invited to address inquiries for further information required respecting Port Erin and Port St. Mary, to the Clerk to the Commissioners, Dept. B., of the respective districts.
Any comments, errors or omissions
gratefully received The
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