Our OE - The Isle of Man                                 
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  Isle of Man - Douglas,
Ballaglass Glen,
Point of Ayre
Glen Helen,
Port Erin / Cregneash,

Sat 28-Feb 04	Dublin - The Isle of Man  

In comparison to our other recent trips, we got up at a relatively respectable hour this morning to catch our flight to the Isle of Man.  The flight was only about 30 minutes across and it was a perfectly clear day - with brilliant views of Skerries, the Mourne Mountains topped with snow, and Ards Peninsula in Ireland, as well as the Isle of Man with a fair amount of ice and snow also!  We arrived into Ronaldsway airport near Castletown, picked up a rental car and headed north to the capital of Douglas (stopping briefly at Rushen Abbey, Ballasalla).  

We drove around Douglas a bit to see the harbour, promenade and surrounding cliffs, before visiting the Manx Museum.  This was quite a reasonable little museum with an interesting video presentation of Manx History, including Viking and Celtic settlements.  Grabbed some lunch and jumped back in the car, heading north.

Harbour at Douglas, Isle of Man

The Promenade, Douglas

The Tower of Refuge, Douglas Bay

Beach, Douglas Bay

The Three-Legged Isle of Man Emblem, Manx Museum, Douglas

Our next stop was Groudle GlenThe Glens of Isle of Man are nature reserves or effectively miniature National Parks.  Groudle Glen was a tad barren with Autumn, but pretty just the same.  Continuing our drive north (anti-clockwise) up the island, we stopped in at Laxey where unfortunately the Great Laxey Wheel was being restored and so rather obscured by scaffolding, and then Dhoon Glen at our next stop was closed for the Winter.  Our luck did improve though and there was some amazing coastal scenery up the east of the  island and we could even see Scotland and England from here.

Groudle Glen, north of Douglas

Further north Ballaglass Glen was open and very pretty with many little waterfalls cascading down the stream.  Next we passed through Maughold (churchyard with ancient Celtic crosses) and Ramsey (another quaint Victorian resort town like Douglas), and then on up to the northern-most tip at the Point of Ayre.  The landscape here was more barren, tussocky and windswept - and with a huge rubbish dump trying to destroy the place.

Ballaglass Glen


Ballaglass Glen

Maughold Churchyard, near Ramsey

Lighthouse at the Point of Ayre, Isle of Man

Another Lighthouse at the Point of Ayre - a small one in the centre of the beach

From the top at Point of Ayre we headed down the west coast to Peel (along another pretty coast), which is another pretty fishing village/port with it's very impressive castle on St. Patrick's Isle on one end of the bay.  We started doing a bit of the T.T. motorcycle race course, but ran out of daylight and turned back!  Saw a country inn established in 1790 ('The Raven') !

Stayed at Kerrowgarrow Farm B&B in Greeba, near St. Johns.  A very pretty little island so far.

Peel Beach and Peel Castle (on St. Patrick's Isle), Peel

Peel Castle

Peel Castle / St. Patrick's Isle, Peel

Vikings at Peel!
(Outside the 'House of Manannan' Heritage Centre)

A Manx Sunset, with the Mountains of Mourne (Northern Ireland) visible in the distance!

Sun 29-Feb 04	Isle of Man - Dublin   

Today was another lovely fine day.  We headed back north a little way to visit Glen Helen which was very picturesque with snow and ice everywhere, a stream and the impressive Rhenass waterfall at the end.  A little winter wonderland!


Glen Helen

Glen Helen

Rhenass Waterfall, Glen Helen

Rhenass Waterfall, Glen Helen (again)

Back to Peel to start heading around the south half of the isle, stopping briefly to Tynwald Hill on the way - where parliament is held annually in a tradition going back to Viking times about 1000 years ago.  Our next stop was Glen Maye with another good waterfall and lots of snow and ice.  

Tynwald Hill

A little further south we turned off to the quaint little village of Niarbyl with thatched cottage and a great coastal view, as seen in the movie 'Waking Ned Devine', where it was supposed to be on an island off the west coast of Ireland!  ('Waking Ned Devine' is an Irish comedy about a guy that won the lottery and died of the shock, so some of the locals masquerade as Ned to get there hands on the winnings! Info on filming locations here)

Between Niarbyl and Port Erin we drove over Dalby Mountain which was almost completely white with snow from the week before - very pretty especially with the sun shining off it also.  There was also a cross-country triathlon or something going on up here too!  Mad if you ask me.

Niarbyl Village

Dalby Mountain

Port Erin is another cute Victorian beach resort town in a very pretty bay.  Our next stop south was Cregneash, a mostly thatched traditional village (and a living folk/tourist village in the summer months), also where parts of 'Waking Ned Devine' were filmed.  Another cute little spot - this small island has more than it's fair share of them!  We had a very tasty lunch (and Cider) at Calf Sound Visitor Centre, the most south-westerly tip of the Isle of Man, across from the island 'The Calf of Man'!

Port Erin

Cottage at Cregneash Village

Cregneash Village

'Calf of Man' island and Calf Sound, Isle of Man

It was starting to get a little overcast after lunch, but we were practically on the home stretch now (unfortunately).  Port St. Mary was yet another very picturesque located Victorian resort.  The Victorians certainly knew where to build there holiday resorts!  Although yesterday was very nice too in the northern part of the island, the south is even better.

Port St. Mary

Our final actual stop before having to leave the island (to go back to dirty Dublin and work), was Castletown.  This was a nice quiet town with the impressive old castle, Castle Rushen, in the centre, an historic harbour and quay and some snow as a finishing touch.  We had a quick look out on Longness Peninsula near Derbyhaven (and right beside the airport) and another drive up to Douglas and back to use up our last hour, before returning the rental car and checking in for our return flight.  

Castle Rushen, Castletown

Castle Rushen

The Isle of Man is a very peaceful and picturesque little island which is a bit like a miniature Ireland but with it's own unique charm.  Thoroughly recommended.  We also only used 15 of diesel and did about 210miles and yet covered a lot of the island!


Some Isle of Man Links:
Visit Isle of Man

Manx National Heritage


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