From the Isle of Man to worldwide


MANNIN BEG, Ellan Vannin, Isle of Fairies, Isle of Man -however named our grass roots grow greenly according to those who have been there and from the evidence of photographs.

Although only small in area - about 58 kilometres in length and 22 kilometres wide - the countryside varies from gentle pastoral land to heather-and-gorse moors, shadowy glens and thick forest. The coastline in parts is rocky and forbidding, with high headlands, but also long golden-sand beaches. There are islets and tranquil harbours.

Situated midway between England and Ireland in the Irish Sea, the Isle of Man has its own government, levies its own taxes and controls its own expenditure although it gives allegiance to the Queen and English is its language. (Manx Gaelic in ancient days.)

The current population of Man is given as 60,000 (nearly 20,000 more than a low-point in 1960) which is swelled by half a million visitors annually. They come mostly for the famous International Tourist Trophy motor cycle races and for summertime holidays.

There are eight main resorts on the Island varying from peaceful backwaters to the tourist-oriented town of Douglas, the Capital, which provides the more sophisticated pleasures of nightclubs, restaurants and a gambling casino.

The way of life, originally rural, moved into tourism in the Victorian years in typical fashion of piers and seafront boarding houses. In more recent times (from the late 1970's) a workforce has been created by banking and finance companies setting up headquarters to take advantage of the Island1s income tax rate of -at the time of writing - a flat 20.5%.

For this reason many wealthy people have taken up residence on the Isle of Man even though the locals may see little of them.

Tourists are attracted by the Island's archaeological and historical sites and picturesque towns and villages. Medieval Rushen Castle; the world's largest waterwheel at Laxey; tail-less cats; jug handle-horned Loaghtan sheep; the Bridge of Fairies and, above all else, 'the Tynwald' , site of the open air assembly Parliament, are unique in a world of dwindling wonders

Probably because of its size, the Isle of Man can record a continuous history scarcely to be matched elsewhere. On St Patrick's Isle, Peel, architecture dates from 800 A.D. - 1000 A.D. and the Tynwald at St John's, goes back to Viking times, too.

© Copyright by Malcolm Qualtrough, Elizabeth Feisst and the late John Karran Qualtrough.