Isle Of Man
Situated between Ireland and the UK, the Isle on Man (or Mann) was never found by the Romans and was a good stopping off point for trade between the two larger countries.
A visit to this island takes you back about 30 years and, if anyone asks what the weather is, it's probably safe to say "everything"!
Whilst there are no spectacular ancient remains, the island is littered with smaller relics; only being in the island for a short time this year, for a wedding, I only covered the southern end of the island and then only partially, but did get in some of the main southern sites in, as well as the modern Tynwald. I did not get to Balladoole or St Patrick's Chair, sadly, as I ran out of time.
Old Tynwald (OS 95: 362 824) No disabled access, church with some effort
The Tynwald is the ancient "parliament" of the Island and dates back over 1,000 years, although the earliest recorded record dates to 1471 BCE. This, old, Tynwald is set near a hill at Keeil Abban (Killabane) alongside the Millenium Way. With fine views across the hills the site must have been a wonderfully spectacular place to proclaim the island's new laws, traditionally in Midsummer's Day, if somewhat draughty!
Views over the hills
The site itself, a small circle of stones built
Part of the Millennium Way, passing past Tynwald and St Luke's Church, where Ronnie Aldrich is buried. Whilst I was at the church (keeill) I met a local, Mike Goldie, who told me about Ronnie Aldrich's grave and of a folly built on a close-by hill by an eccentric Victorian who wanted to be closer to God.
St Luke's Church
Some possible alignments. I decided to see if there was anything obvious or likely here in terms of deliberate alignments. It seems that ancient man had a thing about straight lines, often marking from hilltop to hilltop and with artificial places in between. Field systems, unlike modern roads, often maintain entrances over very long periods and, as far as I could determine on a very windy day, the entrance to a field next to the church, the Tynwald and this hill were in alignment. The gate and Tynwald are directly behind me and the guidelines. Of course, this could, and probably is, no more than a coincidence. I am not inclined to look any further at this aspect, though.
Modern Tynwald at St. Johns, near Peel (OS 95: 277 819) Easy disabled access
The modern Tynwald is a simple. but formal, affair with the famous hill linking to St. John's Chapel. Laws are proclaimed on the Old Midsummer's Day, 5th July. Notice the earth banks and straight line to the holy place from the hill - remind you of anything?
Tradition says that the hill, of 4 levels, is made from soil drawn from each the ancient island parishes and the Manx name for the hill is Cronk Keeilleoin (Hill of St. John's Chapel)
Behind the Hill is Millennium Park, celebrating Manx history and looking forward to the future. Interestingly, the path in the park is a deliberate modern alignment with the Twnwald itself.
Meayll (or Mull) Circle (OS 95: 189 678) No disabled as far as I could see
Situated near the folk village of Cregneish, this strange 18m diameter circle sits on a hillside with beautiful views over Port Erin to the north and the Calf of Man to the south west (nominally). Mull Circle is actually a chambered tomb, with six grave-pairs dating from between the late Neolithic or early Bronze Ages.
The circle is quite small and comprises of 3 sets of kists on each side of a wide path between them. Each set of kists has an entrance trough them to the circle, so there are 12 kists altogether.
Looking up ....
The centre quartz stone is not pointed at by all of the kist entrances nor does the wide pathway seem to have an obvious terrestrial alignment. There were, however, other deeply embedded stones in the ground and two of them aligned perfectly with Bradda Head summit and an odd corner in a field system.
Of course, these stones may not be in their original position, this monument having been robbed for building materials over time and the odd point in the hedgerow may be rather modern (and there is an equal point on the adjacent field without an apparent alignment); it would seem a good place to investigate if one were so inclined.
One of the kist-pairs showing the path through them. This path was in good alignment with the centre stone although not all were. In fact if you are looking for leys, this is maybe not a good place to look!
And, finally, some views of its locale....
The Calf of Man from a wartime pillbox
The site was excavated in 1911 by Kermode and Herdman and again in 1971 Henshall. (www.iomguide.com)
Cronk Howe Mooar(OS 95: 204 696) Disabled - easy to view, but not to actually get to
Known locally, as a local lady told me, as the Fairy Hill. I do not know much about this as I was too short of time to find out, this is a typical motte around the island as far as I can see. The Isle of Man guide describes it as "a possible artificial hill with remains of a stone faced structure on the top, typical of a motte or castle mound. Around 35 ft high with a ditch around the base. Possibly one of the timber forts constructed around 11AD."
It is possible that the ditch was originally flooded.
Fairy Bridge (OS 95: 306 720) Disabled easy, but everyone watch out for fast traffic!
Situated on the A5 between Douglas and Ballasalla near Santon, is a well known hideaway for the little folk. When crossing this tiny bridge over Santon Burn it is only polite to say hello to the fairies who live there as you pass them, so don't forget to say 'Hello Fairies' or 'Good Day' ('Laa Mie' in Manx) when crossing the bridge.
In recent years people have started placing messages of a tree at the bridge, presumably hoping for a little of that fairy luck.
There is no parking here other than roadside, so be careful and considerate when stopping and looking.
On the other side to that where the tree is you can easily see why the little folk like it there, although the tree-side is not so pretty (to my mind). The small picture shows the pretty side, but it looks much nicer in 3-D.
Keeill near Corvalley (OS 95: 358 787) Disabled: No
I spent some time looking for this before clambering up a high roadside bank and seeing it in a farmers field. I only went here because it was on my way out of Douglas and now it does not seem worth the bother; the site is of no significant importance as far as I know, but it is the remains (as are most keeills) of an early Christian place of worship.
Below are some other pictures that I took whilst visiting.
The refuge at Douglas Harbour
Sun reflecting off the sea
Douglas Harbour in the evening
Douglas promenade after the Sun has set