Manx Celtic Festival Celebrates Fortieth Anniversary!

Yn Chruinnaght celebrates its fortieth anniversary this year and organisers are inviting everyone to come and mark the occasion at various venues in Peel, alongside a line-up of some of the best performers of Celtic music, song and dance, both at home and abroad.

The opening night at the Centenary Centre kicks off with a concert including several Manx winners of this year’s BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. This was a pivotal moment for local, traditional musicians, whose outstanding talent was publicly acknowledged outside of the Island, leading to a greater awareness on the world stage. It will include harpist Mera Royle and Ímar featuring local boys Adam Rhodes and Tom Callister, as well as fellow band member Mohsen Amini, who was crowned Musician of the Year.

But there’s a coup here for music lovers, with confirmation that Irish music superstars Altan will close the festival with a special concert to celebrate more than thirty years in the music industry.

Sandwiched between these events will be a steady stream of top-flight performers from Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Brittany, along with an extensive variety of local groups. It’s a great opportunity to experience the diversity of music that the Island has to offer, including the Manx Gaelic gypsy/jazz fusion of Clash Vooar, talented siblings The Lawrences and an inter-Celtic duo combining the talents of Ruth Keggin and Malcolm Stitt.

A packed programme of events, centred largely around Peel, also includes outdoor performances from both local and visiting groups, family-friendly ceilis (featuring Breton group Glaou and a Welsh contingent led by Ceri Evans) and a weekend gathering of free entertainment, sessions, workshops, crafts and children’s activities based at the House of Manannan. Additionally, there will be several lunchtime gigs at Noa Bakehouse in Douglas.

And there will also be two days of educational concerts in the Centenary Centre as part of their packed schedule, which it’s hoped will inspire eight hundred local school children to learn more about the Island’s traditional music scene.

Yn Chruinnaght (The Gathering), founded in Ramsey by Mona Douglas in 1978, is a volunteer led/not-for-profit organisation, which is recognised as one of the longest-running Celtic festivals in the world.

Concert tickets for the festival (11th – 15th July) are available now from Celtic Gold, the Centenary Centre, or the festival office, including a special online only all concert festival pass and a family ceili weekend pass.

Organisers of the festival would like to thank Culture Vannin, the Isle of Man Arts Council, Year of Our Island 2018, Culture Ireland, Thornton Associates, the Scott Dickinson Charitable Trust for their sponsorship and Manx National Heritage, Department of Education, Sport and Culture, Peel Town Commissioners, Department of Enterprise and Noa Bakehouse for their support.

Keep up to date with what’s happening with Yn Chruinnaght on Facebook and Twitter and buy tickets for events at, or phone the festival office on 07624 302200

Valerie Caine

© July 2018

(Courtesy of Manx Life)

Launch of New Book of Manx Tunes for Bagpipes

This unique publication was recently launched at the Masonic Hall in Peel as part of a weekend of workshops organised by Island based Ellan Vannin Pipes and Drums.

Entertainment during the evening was provided by members of the Ellan Vannin Pipe Band, visiting piper Finlay MacDonald and Island based Scottish guitarist Malcolm Stitt.

Produced by Culture Vannin, Piob Vooar – Manx Music for Bagpipes, features thirty local songs and tunes and is seen as a useful addition to the repertoire of both solo pipers and pipe-bands.

The publication includes well-known favourites such as Ellan Vannin, Mylecharaine’s March, Eunyssagh Vona and the Manx Fishermen’s Evening Hymn; together with more recent compositions like Kinnoull and Irree ny Greiney, which is popular with Scottish pipe bands.

Well known piper Finlay MacDonald commented, “This is a truly refreshing collection of tunes adapted for pipes from the Manx tradition, with a subtle and considered touch. The airs and lullabies are so simple and beautiful, capturing the essence and beauty of our shared folk traditions whilst retaining their unique voice. There are some very spritely dance tunes and exciting melodies which give a great insight to the Manx style.”

Transcribed and arranged for Highland bagpipes by a graduate of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and a highly respected piper, David Shedden, it was edited by Dr Chloë Woolley, with additional assistance of Finlay MacDonald (Head of Piping Studies at the National Centre of Piping in Glasgow), Paul Davenport and Ellan Vannin Pipes and Drums.

David Shedden has played with many of Scotland’s top bands, including Boghall and Bathgate Pipe Band and the Scottish Power Pipe Band. He now works as a freelance performer and piping tutor and was a finalist in the BBC Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year 2018.

Piob Vooar (bagpipe) is available now (priced at £10) directly from Culture Vannin, or from both book shops and museum shops across the Island.

Further information from

Valerie Caine

© June 2018

Judging: YOUTH AWARDS 2018

Message from Anne Minay, Douglas, Isle of Man

Once again I was very pleased to be asked to be one of the judges of the NAMA Youth Awards for 2018.  The other judges were Professor Ron Barr, Frances Hampton and Shelley Moffitt of the Department of Education, Sport and Culture and Aimee Corlett from the World Manx Association.

There was a good number of entrants across all the categories and it was a pleasure to listen to the selection of music accompanying some of the nominations and the art portraying aspects of Manx life was very varied. 

The judges receive details of each nomination in advance and all the entrants lead very busy lives, combining school work with contributing to charity and promoting the culture and life of the Isle of Man. NAMA should be very proud to be supporting these inspiring young people and encouraging their commitment to the Manx community.

After some considerable debate winners were decided and the awards will be presented in the Barrool Suite of the Legislative Buildings on Friday 6thJuly by long time supporter and friend of NAMA, Alex Downie, OBE.



Tagged with:

Click on this link to register for the 2018 Convention in Victoria, BC

NAMA Convention Registration Form 11-30-17  (Word File) THIS BLUE LINK WILL OPEN THE REGISTRATION FORM – JUST PRINT IT OFF AND COMPLETE ONE PER DELEGATE. MAKE YOUR  CHECKS FOR REGISTRATION OUT  to North American Manx Association.”  Or click here for PDF. NAMA Convention Registration Form 11-30-17

The official hotel of the 2018 convention is the Hotel Grand Pacific. Convention dates run Evening Thursday, June 21st – Evening Saturday, June 23rd.

Convention Itinerary

Thursday June 21, 2018

12:00         Board Meeting

18:30         General Meeting and Buffet Dinner


Friday June 22, 2018

9:45            Orca Spirit Whale Watching, Adventure in Zodiac (if registered)

10:00         Orca Spirit Whale Watching, Sight-seeing larger vessel (if registered)

13:30         Tea at the Fairmont Empress (if registered)

20:00         Evening snack in conversation in 1st Vice President’s suite

Read more ›

Praying the Keeills Week Celebrates Mann’s Ancient Chapels

   Now in its thirteenth year, Praying the Keeills Week (Goaill Padjer ec ny Shenn Chialteenyn) provided a week-long programme of events designed to celebrate the Isle of Man’s Celtic heritage, with an opportunity to visit some of these ancient chapels which are located across the length and breadth of the Island.

An extensive programme offered a variety of walks together with a coach tour and an illustrated lecture, but this year there was also an opportunity to see examples from the Methodist Modern Art Collection, currently being exhibited on the Island.

A keeill is the local name which describes a Christian chapel, many of which were built between the eighth and twelfth centuries, the earliest buildings constructed with sods of earth and rarely larger than three metres by five metres internally. Others, however, were far more substantial, but constructed with stone. Typically some of them were surrounded by a walled graveyard, and often a well would be situated nearby.

It’s estimated that there may have been in the region of two hundred of these Christian stations at one time, but there are now only about thirty five with visible remains, often found on farmland.

A keeill might be used as a family chapel, a wayside shrine, a place of retreat or hermitage.

Excavations, where permitted, have unearthed memorial crosses and other decorative items, which were subsequently re-housed in local parish churches. But with a number of them facing an uncertain future, some of these artefacts have been released into the care of Manx National Heritage.

Praying the Keeills Week was organised by a group of people from local churches, presenting an opportunity to put aside the hustle and bustle of a contemporary world.

Both prayer and meditation were of importance to those who worshipped at these places in times past, which were believed to be what might be described as ‘thin places’; where believers could draw close to God.

Valerie Caine

© May 2018

Celebrate Mann’s Milling Heritage at Kentraugh Mill

   With the Year of Our Island initiative encouraging everyone to get out more and explore the Isle of Man, there’s a great opportunity this month to discover more about a rare, architectural gem in the south of the Island and its valuable contribution to rural life.

Kentraugh Mill will be open once again as part of the annual National Mills Weekend, which celebrates the remarkable history of milling heritage in its many forms and includes both windmills and watermills across the length and breadth of the British Isles.

Kentraugh Mill, near Colby, is now one of the last remaining intact watermills on the Isle of Man, and although the original waterwheel is now in a sad state of disrepair, visitors can still fully experience the mill in action through the power of electricity.

The mill itself was first recorded as being in use as early as the start of the sixteenth century, although it’s likely to have been active much earlier. Largely rebuilt around 1832, when its original wooden workings were replaced by the current machinery, Kentraugh Mill remained in the Qualtrough family for several generations before being sold to a fellow miller, John Woods of Ballabeg, in 1904.

Finally closing its doors in 1943, Kentraugh Mill lay untouched for more than twenty years until a new owner (who believed the mill building was a garage) lovingly restored this iconic part of Manx life.

Visitors can join an informative, escorted tour of the three storey mill, and stroll over to the former miller’s store room (now known as the Chapel Garden) which was once the site of the Island’s first Primitive Methodist Chapel in 1825.

New for this year is the opportunity to install a free app (available from on an Android phone, giving fingertip access to information available on the National Mills Weekend website, directions to all of the open mills and further links to Windmill World and the Mills archive. Updates will continue to be added in the run-up to the event.

The National Mills Weekend is organised by the Mills Section of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, with Kentraugh Mill open to the public by kind permission of Canon and Mrs Sheen.

Visitors are reminded that they explore the mill at their own risk, and although entrance is free of charge donations are invited for the USPG (United Society – Partners in Gospel). Light refreshments will also be available.

Open Days

Saturday 12th May 10.00am – 1.00pm

Sunday 13th May 11.00am – 5.00pm

(Access to Kentraugh Mill is by either turning inland at the Shore Hotel at Gansey (Bay ny Carrickey) or from the Croit e Caley Road near Colby)

Valerie Caine

© May 2018

(Courtesy of Manx Life)

Richard Corrin: Memorial Service

Richard’s Memorial Service will coincide with what would have been his 75th birthday. We will meet at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church at 11.30am.

The church is located at 1775 Grove St, Glenview, IL 60025. 

This obituary was published in a Chicago Tribune Media Group Publication on Apr. 8, 2018:

Richard “Rick” L. Corrin Jr., 74, of Glenview, passed away April 3, 2018. Beloved husband of Mary Lee Corrin; cherished son of the late Richard and Penelope Corrin; dear brother of Anne (Merrill) Eggestein; uncle of Terry, Marie, and Gwen; great uncle of six, brother-in-law of Laurie Hinds. Rick attended Taft High School and George Williams College. He was a 35-year employee with CB&Q, Burlington Northern, Amtrak, and Metra. Rick was also a volunteer and former board member at Norwood Crossing. He was active in the Chicago Council of the Navy League of the United States, Navy Recruiting and the Chicago Society of the North American Manx Association. He always enjoyed helping other people. Interment at All Saints Cemetery on April 9th.

Memorial mass will be held Saturday, May 26 at 11:30am at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, 1775 Grove St., Glenview.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Norwood Life Care Foundation, 6016-20 N. Nina, Chicago, IL 60631; Tree House Humane Society, 7225 N. Western Ave., Chicago, IL 60645 or Sr. Paulanne’s Needy Family Fund, (made payable to OLPH), 1775 Grove St., Glenview, IL 60025. Funeral information 847-998-1020.

Visit Peel for the New Boaldyn Fire Festival!

As we enter the merry month of May we can also welcome an exciting new, free event in Peel, which will bring together a number of Gaelic and Norse traditions in a dramatic and exciting representation entitled the Boaldyn Fire Festival.

Traditionally Manx celebrations would commence at sunset on the eve of May Day and continue between sunrise and sunset on May Day (Boaldyn) itself, with several key observances largely revolving around the expulsion of evil spirits and witches, cleansing of animals and land and the desire of that all important good luck. The element of fire was also a symbolic feature, both here and across Europe, which will be re-introduced by organisers and form a stirring backdrop to the pageant.

This family-friendly event, held in partnership with Hospice Isle of Man, kicks off at 2.00pm on the 6th May at Weatherglass Corner (aka Spit Corner), near the Sailors’ Shelter with music, dancing and plenty of food and drink during the afternoon and early evening. John ‘Dog’ Callister will be on hand to make a simple Crosh Cuirn with which to shun those evil spirits, in exchange for a donation to Hospice, and the Vikings of Mann will be inviting onlookers to join in some fun May games and sports on the shoreline.

Additionally, there’ll be guided tours of Peel from the Sailors’ Shelter led by both Manx and English speakers, as well as the opportunity to listen to some great stories and hear more about Manx May Day customs with local storytellers Cathy Clucas and Sue Woolley.

During the evening a glorious fire show will become the backdrop of a re-enactment of the historical, mock battle between summer and winter. A costumed drama with its roots in an early description written by George Waldron in 1726, it will be preceded by two ‘armies’ heading from Peel Hill and the Creg Malin, converging on the shoreline in preparation for battle. Everyone is invited to gather for the combat, which will be followed by feasting, dancing, drinking and a spectacular firework display to end the day.

Torches (over 16s only) for use in the parade will be available in advance, or up to 7.00pm on the day, from the Peel branch of Hospice Isle of Man, as well as luggage labels from any Hospice shop, upon which relatives and friends will be encouraged to write messages for loved ones, which will be attached to special trees at the May Fire Festival.

Please check the Oie Voaldyn Facebook page for updates and further information about how to get involved on the day, although participants under the age of sixteen will need to be supervised.

Organisers would like to take this opportunity of thanking the Year of Our Island committee, Peel Town Commissioners, Culture Vannin, Hospice Isle of Man, Manx Radio and Cathy Clucas for her invaluable input.

Valerie Caine

© May 2018

(Courtesy of Manx Life)

Richard Corrin. R.I.P.

Richard Corrin was a trustee of NAMA, having been appointed at the convention in Minnesota.  He served one term of 6 years from 2006 until 2012.  He was also the President of the Chicago Manx, succeeding to that position when Bob Kelly passed away.

The funeral will take place on Monday April 9th. Prior to the funeral, there is a visitation on Monday, April 9, 2018 at Scott & Hanekamp Funeral Home, 1240 Waukegan Road, Glenview, IL, from 9:30AM to 11:30AM.  There will be a burial service at All Saints Cemetery Chapel, in Des Plaines, IL.  There will be a luncheon to follow.  There are plans for a memorial service in late May or early June, at Our Lady of Perpetual Responsibility (actually Perpetual Help), in Glenview, IL.

Manx Musicians Shortlisted for BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards

 This year’s final for the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, a key highlight of the folk music calendar, will be presented by BBC Radio 2 presenter Mark Radcliffe and multi-award winning Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis, at the prestigious Belfast Waterfront on the 4th April, with a number of Manx musicians competing for success in several categories.

The event, on its inaugural visit to Belfast, will showcase the best of folk, acoustic and roots music, but will also welcome an assortment of special guests, with performances from Cara Dillon, Paul Brady, Eliza Carthy, Lankum and The Wayward Band. A number of world famous performers have clinched awards at this ceremony during its nineteen year history.

Those chosen for the final were initially amongst hundreds of hopeful young musicians, later reduced to ten lucky performers, who were invited to play in front of a live audience at a special BBC Radio 2 Folk Show concert in Kendal. Judges included Eliza Carthy and Tim Van Eyken.

Mera Royle, who has been shortlisted for the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award, is known widely on the Isle of Man as a talented harpist and performs regularly at events across the Island, both with up-and-coming band Scran and as a solo artist. Now aged eighteen and a student at Ramsey Grammar School, Mera was introduced to the harp by Mike Boulton and later tutored by Scottish harpist Rachel Hair, but also plays the violin and whistle.

Meanwhile, the five-piece band Ímar has been nominated for the Horizon Award, the category for Best Emerging Artist, with a strong Manx presence within this multi-talented group. The band includes musicians from Ireland, Scotland and England, including a previous winner of the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award. Although Ímar is based in Glasgow, two of its musicians have been recognised as gifted players for a number of years on the Isle of Man. Both Adam Rhodes and Tom Callister entered the local music scene at an early age and roved between several bands on the Island before their latest venture with Ímar.

Additionally, Mohsen Amini of Ímar, who gave a stunning performance within the trio Talisk on the Isle of Man last year as part of Celtfest, is also shortlisted for the Musician of the Year Award.

And finally, a Welsh group with long term links to the Isle of Man has been put forward for Best Traditional Track. ALAW (Welsh for melody) draws upon a collected Celtic heritage and is described by Songlines Magazine as a Welsh folk super group, uniting three exceptional musicians. ALAW, which has recently played its debut concert at the Centenary Centre, includes talented accordionist Jamie Smith, who has now moved to Peel and made the Island his home. He’s also involved with the eponymous Jamie Smith’s Mabon, who have made several visits to the Isle of Man.

Valerie Caine

© April 2018

(Courtesy of Manx Life)