WE’RE SO EXCITED!!!! Convention Dates: 6th-9thAugust 2020

COME TO THE 2020 North American Manx Association Convention. It will be held at Hotel 1620 right on Plymouth Harbor and will run from 6th-9thAugust 2020. We picked  Plymouth as it is the 400th Anniversary of the landing of the settlers aboard The Mayflower, who included Myles Standish, a Manxman. Plymouth will be a hosting a year long celebration. This is a great opportunity to celebrate being Manx AND American!

We are planning a two-site visit with guided tours during the weekend to the world famous Plimoth Plantation and a replica of Mayflower. This is definitely one for the children and grand-children! 

In addition we will be welcoming Ruth Keggin. She is a Manx speaker and fabulous musical performer. She will be running several Manx culture workshops. Check out her website for more about her work. www.ruthkeggin.com. We’d like to thank Culture Vannin for sponsoring Ruth’s trip to see us!

Accommodation

We have blocked off rooms and you should quote NAMA2020 when reserving your room. Only book the hotel directly by phone or on their own website. Please, please, please do not book in any other way, as we could be financially liable if we fail to hit our room allocation. Our specially negotiated rate at this busy harbor hotel is $229 per night.

This is an American celebration and we have some fun events planned. We will also reacquaint ourselves with Captain Myles Standish, the militia man aboard the vessel, who is of Manx descent, and delightfully links our American and Manx heritages.

While flights to Boston are plentiful, the bus link to Plymouth stops short of the town and will require a taxi pick up from a drop-off point. You might want to consider renting a car. The hotel has lots of parking spaces. Please mention any disabilities when you reserve your room. Quote: NAMA2020. Hotel Phone Number: +1 (508) 747-4900 Website: https://www.hotel1620.com 

TO REGISTER CLICK THIS LINK:  Registration Form 2020

The Arrane son Mannin (Song for Mann) competition is an opportunity for the performance of new and original music written in Manx Gaelic, with the winner representing the Isle of Man at the annual Pan Celtic Festival in Carlow, Ireland, later this year.

Held in the Masonic Hall in Peel, judges at the event were challenged to find the best, original song composed in the Island’s native tongue, which will go forward in competition with others from neighbouring Celtic nations, vying to clinch the top position in the festival’s International Song Contest.

Judges were drawn from a selection of the Island’s singers and musicians, who ultimately chose local trio Skeeal Elley, with their song Oie as Laa, which tells the story of a Manxman and his longing to escape a prison cell and return to his rural home in Ballaragh, on the north east coast of the Island.

The evening also included a selection of local musicians and singers, providing a range of Manx entertainment – including the former Young Singer of Mann Erin Loach, accordionist Jack McLean, musicians David Kilgallon and Malcolm Stitt and former Manx Bard Annie Kissack. Additionally there was a group from the north of the Island, comprising flautist Peddyr Cubberley, harpist Arabella Aayen solo dancer Ellie from local dance group Ny Fennee and an inspiring performance by a quartet of pupils from the Bunscoill Ghaelgagh. The evening concluded with a number of songs from the Manx Gaelic choir Cliogaree Twoaie.

Arrane son Mannin was organised by local Pan Celtic representative Fiona McArdle.

Valerie Caine

© January 2020

(Courtesy of the North Western Chronicle)

The annual Oie’ll Verree, now a concert-based form of entertainment, was once a celebration centred against a more religious backdrop, and has been the subject of much transformation over the years.

Many of the outlying districts have abandoned this special celebration, but in Kirk Michael it’s a much anticipated part of the calendar. Held in the local Ebenezer Hall, it’s a great opportunity for the audience to enjoy a host of entertainment in a provincial setting.

An introduction was made by David Corlett, Chairman of Michael Heritage Trust, (organisers of the event) followed by Mike Clague, compére for the evening – introducing a range of performers, including traditional dancers from Perree Bane and a number of singers, musicians, the current Manx Bard Zoë Cannell and a little light comedy.

During the evening, the annual Yn Gliggyr award was presented to local girl Chrissy Cannell, in recognition of her contribution towards Kirk Michael’s cultural heritage.

And to end the evening a little dialect poetry supplied by Deborah Taubman as an introduction to the celebrated dialect play. Presented by The Michael Players RBV, this year’s adaptation was Mr Quilliam Decides by Lillian and Eva Kneen.

Valerie Caine

© January 2020

(Courtesy of the North Western Chronicle)

When St Stephen’s Day dawned, it was with trepidation that we opened our curtains to the sight of torrential rain, but this didn’t deter many of those heading out to Hunt the Wren across the Island.

It’s a long-held tradition, not unrecognisable in other Celtic nations, although thankfully the death of a bird is no longer obligatory, and distribution of its feathers for luck has been superseded by coloured ribbons.

Some of the revellers, understandably, sheltered from the appalling weather, whilst others braved the deluge – determined to honour this local tradition.

Later, a large number of players gathered on the original fair field at St John’s to play an annual game of Cammag, despite the continuation of dreadful weather. A battle between teams from the north and south (won by the latter), the game will be familiar to those who enjoy the likes of shinty, or hurling.

Although the game lost favour on the Island at the turn of the nineteenth century, with the introduction of football, there has been a resurgence of interest in recent years.

The day concluded with a rousing music session at the Tynwald Inn.

Valerie Caine

© January 2020

(Courtesy of the North Western Chronicle)

The long-standing concert Mollag Ghennal, offering a fantastic evening of local entertainment took place at the Manx Legion Club in Douglas; with a packed house enjoying a range of musical acts, as well as a revival of the celebrated White Boys.

There was also an opportunity to take part in a local quiz and sample supper from the Mollag Band kitchens.

Following a tried and tested format, the musicians included guitarist Mark Lawrence, duo David Kilgallon and Malcolm Stitt, BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award 2018 Mera Royle, rising stars Scran, fellow duo Frank and Jamie Joughin and, of course, the Mollag Band who brought the evening to a close.

But after organising this annual event for twenty five years, members of the Mollag Band have decided it’s time to step back and would welcome any group, or individual, prepared to pick up the baton and organise this popular event.

Valerie Caine

© January 2020

(Courtesy of the North Western Chronicle)

After an absence of a number of years, two sets of entertainers historically known as The White Boys, brought back the traditional Manx version of the mummers play to the towns and villages of the Isle of Man.

Although not distinctive to the Island, it’s loosely based on a version of the theme of St George and the Dragon (although the latter is never seen) with some local anecdotes threaded amongst the story – which has been part of Manx tradition for many years.

It’s a colourful street performance which amused our forefathers, but still has a place in a contemporary setting amidst busy shoppers who witness the deaths of some of the prominent characters after a mock fight, and who are miraculously revived by the contents of a small bottle from the bag of the mysterious doctor – who seeks payment in vain for his work.

Valerie Caine

© January 2020

(Courtesy of the North Western Chronicle)

The annual ceremony commemorating the anniversary of the death of William Christian took place at Hango Hill, just outside Castletown, close to the site of both his execution and his now demolished home at Ronaldsway.

His death in the seventeenth century tends to provoke comment, with ongoing discussion as to whether he was a traitor or a patriot, although many agree that he saved the Island from bloodshed.

Jointly organised by Mec Vannin and the Mannin branch of the Celtic League, the anniversary of Christian’s death also provides a platform for members of the community to enjoy the opportunity of free speech, as well as remembering the man referred to colloquially as Illiam Dhone (Brown-Haired William).

Despite a strong wind and driving rain, a large number of people gathered at the spot also known as Mount Strange to hear an introduction by Mark Kermode, followed by orations from Devon Watson of the Climate Change Coalition and Paul Craine author of the Isle of Man Population Atlas, on the combined subject of climate change; focusing upon what we can do individually, how the Isle of Man Government can assist and the consequences of inaction. In a marked departure from the usual format, both proclamations were given in English.

This was followed by the annual wreath-laying ceremony, this year including an additional wreath laying by Maxine Cannon, General Manager of Isle of Man Stamps and Coins in recognition of the support given to the Isle of Man Post Office in the preparation of their recent stamp issue Age of Rebellion which captured the historical facts in the lead up to the events commemorated here. She said, “Generations of Manx men, women and children have nurtured Manx art, heritage and culture for the benefit of all of us gathered here today and not forgetting those who have come to our shores who positively embrace our values and traditions.”

The commemoration concluded with the singing of the Manx National Anthem – before the crowd dispersed to attend either a service at Malew Parish Church (where Christian is thought to be buried), or a lively music session at Compton Vaults in Castletown.

Valerie Caine

© January 2020

(Courtesy of Isle of Man Stamps & Coins)

Despite being only the second year running this event, the Isle of Man Young Farmers’ Christmas Tractor Run captured the imagination of the Manx public, as fifty working tractors left the Island’s farms to raise funds for local charities.

Gaily decorated for the festive season, they gathered along Marine Parade in Peel and at Tynwald Mills in St John’s before embarking upon a dedicated route along the TT course, with large numbers of spectators gathering at various points along the route.

The convoy headed diligently towards the northern town of Ramsey, where those involved with the event were treated to supper from two local chip shops (The Trawlerman and Bourne Plaice Chippy) before continuing their journey through the village of Laxey and onwards to their destination at the TT grandstand in Douglas.

They were accompanied by a number of volunteers and helpers and assisted on their journey by members of the Isle of Man Constabulary Roads Policing Unit.

Money raised by the event was donated on the night, via their Just Giving page and by sponsorship of one of the attractively decorated tractors – with almost £10,000 raised for local charities Isle Listen and Manx Breast Cancer support Group.

Next year’s date for the Isle of Man Young Farmers’ Christmas Tractor Run is 12th December, 2020.

More photos and videos available on the Isle of Man Young Farmers’ Facebook page.

Valerie Caine

© December 2019

Although the Island is often viewed as a place of wealth and prosperity, there’s a growing number of people acutely affected by the high cost of living, whilst others find themselves homeless.

These issues are unrecognised by some living on the Isle of Man, but volunteers at the forefront of the charity Graih witness at first hand the growing number of homeless individuals, of both sexes, who arrive at their door looking for help and compassion.

Homelessness is rampant across many countries, and the causes in each area broadly similar, although the spectre of economic decline often darkens their lives. The impoverished may not be seen on the Island’s streets, unlike other countries, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. It is sometimes said, with little charity or justification, that being homeless is a lifestyle choice, but many of these vulnerable individuals are likely to face an early death, or at best an unstable existence.

Graih (the Manx word for love and pronounced ‘gry’) was established in 2008 with its roots within a Christian group known as the Stauros Foundation, which offered a drop-in centre to support those with addiction. It soon became apparent, however, that homelessness was a key component of their problems – often sleeping on the streets, in derelict houses, car parks and public toilets. There was little they could offer at this point, but it was gratefully received by those who needed somewhere safe and warm to sleep. By the following winter it was obvious that there was a greater need for such a service, with the realisation that this had become a serious problem.

With greater awareness, an extended group of volunteers and supporters allowed the enterprise to expand, providing hot food, a shower, clothing (if required), a place to chat and a sofa to use overnight. Additionally, there is now an emergency night shelter.

In the intervening years Graih has fostered partnerships with government agencies as well as other charities and churches; providing security and re-assurance in an increasingly unstable world.

Based at The Alpha Centre in Douglas, Graih also offers a varied programme of events throughout the year, providing important social and pastoral support, and community work where applicable.

A capitalist society is often embarrassed by its homeless, with each country offering differing solutions, and many would argue that governments need to be better employed to prevent this growing issue. In the meantime Graih continues to step up to the plate in order to assist some of the most vulnerable in our society, including a high proportion of guests suffering with mental health problems, as well as others afflicted with substance abuse and addiction.

If you can help them, in any way, please contact them now.

Contact details:

The Alpha Centre, Broadway, Douglas, Isle of Man IM2 4EN. Please buzz ‘Drop-in’ for entry.

Drop-in office mobile: 07624 304381.

Manager: Erica Irwin. Email:erica@graih.org.im Telephone: 07624 224807

Community Worker: Michael Manning. Email: michael@graih.org.im Telephone: 07624 324767

www.graih.org.im

Valerie Caine

© December 2019

(Courtesy of Manx Life)

With the festive season just around the corner, there’s a couple of annual events coming up with a special Manx flavour to entertain you during the cold, winter evenings.

The long-standing Mollag Ghennal, starting at 7.30pm on Sunday 29th December, has now settled into its new location at the Manx Legion Club on Market Hill in Douglas, offering a host of entertainers to lift your spirits midst the holiday activities.

Following a tried and tested format, the evening will provide a rich and rewarding list of musicians, including Manx dancers Skeddan Jiarg, guitarist Mark Lawrence, fiddle and keyboard player David Kilgallon, young rising stars Scran, duets Imbolc (César Joughin and Daniel Quayle) and Frank and Jamie Joughin and, of course, The Mollag Band. It’s anticipated that further singers and musicians will be added to the list.

Tickets held at £12 available from Celtic Gold, Shakti Man and Thompson Travel, with supper from the Mollag kitchens included.

But in the west of the Island, the seasonal calendar will be brought to a close on Sunday 5th January with the traditional Oie’ll Verree (Eve of the Feast of Mary) at the Ebenezer Hall in Kirk Michael. An old style Manx concert, the evening will include local musicians, singers, dancers and comedy. However, the final act will be the annual dialect play performed, as usual, by The Michael Players RBV. Their choice of play is an adapted version of Mr Quilliam Decides, written by Lillian and Eva Kneen.

Tickets priced at £8 will initially be available to members of Michael Heritage Trust on a first-come first-served basis, with any remaining obtainable by leaving a message at 878328. Details will also be available on Michael Heritage Trust’s Facebook page.

Footnote: The Oie’ll Verree is likely to be fully booked

Valerie Caine

© December 2019

(Courtesy of Manx Life)