OVERLOOKED PLACES TO VISIT ON THE ISLE OF MAN
The Isle of Man was a place Jon called home growing up. His family moved there when he was nine years old, and he had always wanted to take me there and show me around the island. For his 30th we went back and spent four days with his parents exploring all of the different aspects of the island and for me discovering the unique history of the island. It was so much fun gathering information, stories and pictures of its hidden sites, untold stories and fascinating heritage. Here are 10 overlooked places to visit on the Isle of Man!
1. Old Fairy Bridge
Jons family had often mentioned Fairy Bridge when chatting about the Isle of Mann. When passing this decorated bridge, you must greet the fairies, as various fates await non-believers. Many are familiar with the Fairy Bridge, located on the main road and waiting there you will see drivers wave to the fairies as they drive past.
What my in-laws weren’t aware of was that this is actually a newer bridge – it was nice to be able to share something new with them about the island! Less known is the ‘real’ Fairy Bridge which is situated on the outskirts of Douglas near Kewaigue School over Middle River. The newer bridge was designated the suit the tourists visiting the Island, but visiting the original fairy bridge was far more magical and mysterious. It takes a little walk and a bit of searching to find but is worth the effort. Go and pay your respects with a gift of flowers, shells or just a wish to keep the fairies’ real home a natural beauty.
2. Meayll Hill Neolithic Stone Circle
We visited this unique archaeological monument just as a storm had hit the island. It was one of the windies days possible but was well worth the steep hill climb to find it. Another well-kept island secret that my husband had never visited. The Meayll Hill Neolithic Stone Circle dates to around 3500 BC the stone circle and includes 12 burial chambers with 6 paired entrance passages.
3. Silverdale Victorian water-powered carousel
Growing up in a city I never visited parks that were quiet, but when we arrived at Silverdale Glen, the area and playground were empty despite good weather. For many, the Isle of Man can feel very tranquil in comparison to busy town centres.
Hopping on the traditional water-powered carousel from the Victorian era at the beautiful Silverdale Glen is an absolute treat. Use the crank handle to affect the flow of water, taken from the Foxdale mines, to give the power to turn the carousel. There are different horses and boats to ride on and is so much fun from the youngest to the eldest visitor.
4. Slave Grave
Found at the back of Old Braddan churchyard this gravestone reveals the interesting story associated with the grave of Samuel Ally; The inscription reading:
“Samuel Ally An African and native of St Helena. Died the 28th of May 1822 aged 18 years. Born a slave and exposed in early life to the corrupt influences of that unhappy state, he became a model of TRUTH and PROBITY for the more fortunate of any country or condition. This stone is erected by a grateful Master to the memory of a faithful servant who repaid the boon of Liberty with unbounded attachment.”
Samuel Ally was born into slavery in the West Indies. Colonel Wilks, governor of St Helena, returned to the Isle of Man, bringing his servant Samuel with him. Ironically Samuel was granted his freedom by his master, yet dies shortly after aged 18 years. He was buried a free man at Old Kirk Braddan Church with his headstone paid for by his employer Colonel Wilks.
5. The Calf of Man
The Calf of Man is a small island, rougly 600 acres, half a mile off the southern tip of the Isle of Man. Located amidst spectacular scenery this island is now in the care of Manx National Heritage. The Calf is an ideal destination for spotting seals. Birdwatchers love to visit and the island can be accessed by small boat operators. Overnight stays are available or alternatively visit the Sound Cafe for panoramic views of the Calf in the comfortable cafe.
6. Magnetic Hill
This hill is likely one that you would drive on without a second thought, but it is a gravity hill. Located between Ronague and the Round Table you can experience the magic the optical illusion, feeling as though you are rolling back up the hill. Always be careful of other cars as this is a public road. Find the stone monument for the Magnetic Hill, Ronague. Place your car in neutral with the handbrake off, and you will be amazed as the car seemingly rolls back up the hill.
7. Niarbyl Fault
As you head down to Niarbyl, you may recognise the scenery and cottage from the film Waking Ned. Make your way along the shore and see if you can spot the diagonal fault line across the cove. This marker represents the collision point of two ancient paleocontinents – Avalonia on which present day England is found, and Laurentia which contains present day North America and Scotland. It is a must to climb the rocks so that you can stand with one foot in North America and one in England, without needing to leave the Island.
8. Corrin’s Folly
Easy to spot if Corrins Tower on Peel hill. This monument was built in 1806 for Thomas Corrin. The graves of his wife and children are laid to rest just next to the Folly, his favourite place. The tower is four stories high and memorial tablets and inscriptions can be seen throughout the tower. If you want a look inside the tower can only be accessed with permission of the Manx Heritage Trust.
9. King Orry’s Grave
This site is found in Laxey and is the largest known Megalithic tomb on the Isle of Man. It is said to belong to King Orry, an almost legendary character. The Manx reveres him as their greatest king and founder of Mann. Kind Orry was a Viking warrior, and his arrival on the island in1079 is seen as the starting point of Manx history as we know it. At his grave are the remains of two prehistoric chambered tombs, estimated to have been built during Neolithic times around 5000 years ago.
10. Peel Ghost Walk
On the west of the Island is the old fishing town of Peel. In the daylight a quiet little beach town but head there on an evening to walk the streets and lanes of the of this truly Manx town and hear ghostly stories! The standard walks run from July until November every Wednesday starting at 8.00 pm Dead. Our tour lasted just over 2 hours, a bargain at £5.00 per person. Be sure to dress up warmly as you learn the chilling tales of the terrifying black dog; The Mauthe Doo, of ghostly souls and infamous murderers whose spirit remains…