New website with easier-to-type address

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NEW WEBSITE:  namanx.org

No, you didn’t go to the wrong page – this is the North American Manx Association.  We recently changed to a new hosting provider and a new format that will let more people provide content.  It is based around a news blog, with the addition of a menu bar to take you to other webpages for NAMA and the regional societies.

The website name northamericanmanx.org was easy to remember, but cumbersome to type – especially on a mobile phone.  To remedy that, we have shortened it to namanx.org.  The old website name will still work, but it will re-direct to the new one, as will namanx.com and northamericanmanx.com.

If you’re looking for photos from the old blog, well sadly they didn’t transfer. But you can go back here and search for them.

Posted in NAMA news

Silvery gibbon enclosure opened at Wildlife Park

stream_imgThe new home of the latest additions to the Curraghs Wildlife Park is officially open.

The Lieutenant Governor was the guest of honour at the opening ceremony of the enclosure for silvery gibbons Slamet and Nakula, who arrived at the park in July as part of a breeding programme.
The facility has taken two years of work and includes a rope bridge, heated house and island.
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David Cretney MLC, Member of DEFA with responsibility for the Curraghs Wildlife Park; Kathleen Graham, the park’s General Manager; His Excellency and Lady Gozney; Richard Ronan, Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture, and Kim Etherton, Chairman of the Friends of the Curraghs Wildlife Park, at the silvery gibbons’ enclosure.

His Excellency – a keen conservationist and trustee of the UK’s Orangutan Foundation – visited the animals first as he toured the 24-acre park in Ballaugh with Lady Gozney.

They met park staff and members of the Friends of the Curraghs Wildlife Park, a registered charity that supports the work of the attraction and contributed £30,000 towards the cost of the gibbons’ enclosure.

His Excellency said the programme is an excellent achievement for the island’s global outlook on endangered species.

The park’s general manager, Kathleen Graham, told MTTV she’s hoping there could be another new arrival in the near future: [play audio below].

Silvery gibbon enclosure opened at Wildlife Park

Posted in Culture, IOM Government, Uncategorized

BBC report on Tynwald and the Vikings

The BBC covers Ellan Vannin (Isle of Man) in a special regional section. This is an interesting examination of the World’s oldest continuous Parliament. 

Isle of Man election 2016: How the Vikings set up Tynwald

Voters across the Isle of Man will go to the polls on Thursday for the general election.

Twenty-four people will be elected to serve in the House of Keys – the lower chamber of a parliament first established by Viking settlers more than 1,000 years ago.

The first historical references to Tynwald -the world’s oldest continuously sitting parliament – can be found in the Chronicles of Mann.

The Latin manuscript, held at the British Library in London, makes reference to the original Tynwald meetings which were established sometime between the 11th and 14th Century.

The document was written at Rushen Abbey and is one of the most valuable sources of Manx history.

It tells the story of the Viking settlement on the Isle of Man which brought together Scandinavian Paganism and indigenous Christianity.

Chronicle of MannImage copyright BRITISH LIBRARY

Image caption Written in Latin, the Chronicle of Mann documents the Isle of Man’s role as the centre of the Norse Kingdom of Mann and the Isles, the influence of its kings, and religious leaders

 

To read more go here

Posted in Culture, History, IOM Government, Manx National Heritage Tagged with: ,

Swedish Folk Dancers Visit the Isle of Man

Swedish folk dance grouDSCF5696p Sunnerbogillet recently completed an exchange visit as guests of their long-term friends in the Manx Folk Dance Society, with time in their schedule for joint displays at the Quarter Deck in Port Erin and Laxey Square.

Members of the Manx Folk Dance Society travelled to Ljungby in southern Sweden during 2015, where they visited the Europeade Folk Dance Festival in the town of Helsingborg, on the Baltic coast.DSCF5679

Sunnerbogillet was established in 1959, with a view to studying and promoting Swedish folklore through dance, music, costume, handicrafts and tradition. Distinguished by their colourful costumes, which represent those worn in the nineteenth century homesteads of individual dancers, Sunnerbogillet’s repertoire includes a selection of early, international folk dances and they regularly organise exchange visits with dance groups in other countries.

Recognised for organising children’s dance groups, public entertainment and summer dance programmes, their busy schedule also includes weekly practice sessions for both Swedish and European folk dances, performances, public engagements and workshops.

In-between dance displays, members ofDSCF5695 Sunnerbogillet managed a little sight-seeing, including a visit to Snaefell, a trip on the steam railway, a tour of one of the local breweries and some free time at the Royal Manx Agricultural Show.

Valerie Caine

© September 2016

Posted in Uncategorized

London Manx Society Newsletter September 2016

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London Manx Society

(Yn Cheshaght Manninagh Lunnin)

 

PATRONS: H.E. THE LT. GOVERNOR OF THE ISLE OF MAN

                    THE PRESIDENT OF TYNWALD

                    THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF KEYS

President – Professor Bryan Corrin

 

NEWSLETTER Autumn 2016

Editor – Douglas Barr-Hamilton

 

Tynwald Cooish

Cambridge is less famous for its lush lawns than for its colleges and almost unknown is the one to be found in Girton behind the house of Sam Weller who, with his wife Mary, played host for this year’s Tynwald Day cooish held, for the first time in recent years, on 5th July itself.

The society’s July event is always less well attended as holidays and competing events clash but an encouraging fourteen made the trip out of the big city to pass the afternoon on grass and patio to renew Manx acquaintances. The members who attended were Bryan and Sheila Corrin, Pam and Mike Fiddik, Colin and Sheila Gill, Sally and Peter Miller, Sam and Mary Weller, Douglas and Margarita Barr-Hamilton, David Hill and Maureen Wigley.  There was no need to sing “Ellan Vannin” to get into expat mode for the food brought to the gathering included bonnag that Sam had made to his mother’s recipe and included in a recipe book of Andreas WI, which Mary Weller, a Bride resident, used to attend. Also, there was a box of Davison’s ice cream that an enterprising Douglas Barr-Hamilton had packed with a freezer block in a cool bag placed in his hold baggage at the end of a recent visit to the Island, thanking Iceland in Ramsey for their help in the endeavour. Finally, Moore’s kippers with particular thanks to Paul Desmond who had made special arrangements to ensure that Peel’s perfect product arrived in the best possible state of freshness. All this with savouries, desserts, cheeses and drinks provided by all attending ensured a feast with much for everyone to enjoy.

Then it was chat in small groups for the conversational, play Giant Connect 4 for the mathematical and explore the garden for the horticultural. Everyone did a bit of each; all gave a few moments to sign a card to wish the Ramsey lifeboat a happy birthday on its 25th anniversary and a few more to admire some Island pictures.

Many hours later, “So long!” and “See you at the Mhelliah!” and a group photograph.

DBH

Read more ›

Posted in Societies

Read The Queensland Manx Society’s Newsletter

Queensland Manx

Just click the link below to get all the skeet from Queensland, Australia!

 

QMS Newsletter September 2016

Posted in Culture, History, Societies

Charles Guard featured in Celtic Life International

fb-22(pp_w270_h230)Born and raised on the Isle of Man, Charles Guard left home as a student but returned to make a 25 year contribution to preserving and sharing his native culture.

A talented musician, broadcaster, film-maker, recording engineer, editor and public speaker, Charles Guard recently retired as an officer of the Manx Heritage Foundation – now known as Culture Vannin – but his newly found time off sounds strikingly like more of the same.

“I am involved in a number of new projects, including a film using the latest drone technology. I will be publishing two more books and giving a series of lectures, as well as fulfilling a commission for the Isle of Man Symphony Orchestra.”

Read more here.  And see Phil Gawne’s answers to Seven Celtic Questions here.

Posted in Culture, IOM Government

Nautical Museum yields new secrets

P1090001Archaeologists have recently completed work on the 18th century dock at the Nautical Museum in Castletown.  The dock was built about 230 years ago by George Quayle (1751–1835) for his boat the Peggy, centrepiece of the museum and one of the oldest surviving wooden sailing boats in the world.  It was created by excavating into the limestone bedrock and protected by high walls, with an entry through an arch – now filled with masonry – still visible from the other side of the harbour mouth.

In February 2014 Manx National Heritage began excavation of the dock to enable the removal of the Peggy from the boat cellar in which she had been entombed for two centuries.  Work ceased after six weeks once sufficient space had been created to allow the Peggy to be craned out and removed to a special facility where she is currently undergoing conservation and repair.

The current phase of work at the Nautical Museum was designed to reveal the arrangements for closing off the entrance to the dock.

MNH archaeologist Andrew Johnson explains,

“Two years ago we could see that there were timbers across the mouth of the dock, but we could not be certain if they had been placed there as part of the work to block the entrance when the dock went out of use, or if they formed a gate.  We knew from old photographs that there had once been a pair of gates on the outside of the entrance – remnants survive even today – but we couldn’t agree if an arrangement involving two sets of gates was likely.  The trouble with docks of this age is that most have since been destroyed, altered or modernised out of all recognition, so we have very little to compare it with.”

Excavation revealed that the timbers were indeed part of a gate, which was raised and lowered into place and slotted into a frame fitted with sluices to let seawater in and out.  Now that the gate has been revealed and recorded, it has been covered over again with a protective wall of sandbags whilst a permanent arrangement to protect it from the flow of the tide is designed.

Andrew continued:

“The more we delve into the buildings at the Nautical Museum, and the more we research the documents that survive from Quayle’s life, the less I am surprised by what we discover.  George Quayle was an exceptional individual who seems to have been incapable of doing the ordinary when a more interesting or sophisticated solution offered itself.”

The Nautical Museum is open daily throughout the summer until 30th October from 10am to 4pm.

Although the Peggy is currently away for conservation, the museum highlights the personal story of George Quayle and his family, showcasing previously unseen objects uncovered in the archaeological excavations and allowing visitors to see the recently discovered dock.

Posted in Uncategorized

Manx Performers Support their Antipodean Cousins in Lorient

After the Island’s phenomenal success at last year’s Lorient Inter-Celtic Festival, which put the Isle of Man firmly on the map for hundreds of thousands of visitors to the event, Manx officials and entertainers will be mixing with their antipodean cousins at the start of this month.

It has been ten years since Australia was designated as the honoured country, but with substantial emigration from countries such as Scotland, Ireland and the ILorient Inter-Celtic Festival 2016sle of Man, approximately half of its population can lay claim to Celtic roots.

Independent of Britain since 1901, Australia has become home to one of the largest Celtic Diasporas in the world, leading to a multi-cultural, cosmopolitan society, incorporating not only newcomers to its shores but the Aboriginal tribes.

The festival itself first appeared in 1971 under the title of the Festival des Cornemuses (Bagpipes Festival), offering a diverse programme of music and entertainment during a six day event, but in 1976 this was changed to the Lorient Inter-Celtic Festival (FIL). And although the various Celtic traditions and cultures still form the cornerstone of the event, organisers are also open to change, cross-fertilisation and evolution of the event; with an eye fixed resolutely on its future.

Manx performers this year will be the successful Mec Lir, dancers Ny Manninee (accompanied musically by Birlinn Jiarg) and local singer/songwriter Matt Creer, complemented by a Manx Pavilion offering a selection of items which will be organised by Peter Young.Matt Creer (2)

They will be rubbing shoulders at this inter-cultural exchange with internationally known artists such as Joan Baez, The Corrs and the undisputed master of Celtic music Alan Stivell. A number of Australian entertainers will include singer, composer and guitarist Archie Roach, who is also recognised as a symbol of the fight against discrimination of the Aboriginal people.

This year’s festival will follow a tried and tested format, allowing visitors the opportunity of sampling the diversity of a contemporary, Celtic scene, but will also celebrate three major events. The first celebration is in respect of the seventieth anniversary of the founding of Sonnerion, an organisation which has been working to uphold Breton music and encourage musical creativity. AdditionMec Lir (Courtesy of Phil Kneen) 1 (2)ally, organisers will pay homage to the centenary of the Easter Rising in Ireland with a concert entitled 1916:Visionaries and their Works. Closer to home, the festival will also celebrate the three hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the birth of Lorient, which grew around the East India Company and was named after one of the first ships to be built in the company’s shipyards – Le Soleil d’Orient.

Affectionately known as the ‘inter-Celtic capital’, the event attracts three quarters of a million visitors annually, has been recognised as France’s biggest festival and has recently been awarded the prize of Best French Urban Festival for the second consecutive year.

Valerie Caine

© August 2016

(Courtesy of Manx Tails)

(Photo of Manx group Mec Lir courtesy of Phil Kneen)

Posted in Uncategorized

Douglas Bay Horse Tramway Celebrates 140th Anniversary

As the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway reaches its one hundred and fortieth anniversary, debate still rages about its future, although many of the issues raised during recent discussion are reflected throughout its long history.

Requiring an Act of Tynwald, the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway was created by entrepreneur Thomas Lightfoot in 1876, after he retired to Douglas. A Yorkshireman bDSCF5057y birth, Lightfoot’s other notable achievements included the first Woodhead Railway Tunnel.

Opened without ceremony on the 7 August, 1876, the new tramway adhered to certain regulations, including no less than six double journeys per weekday, a maximum fare of 3d and the use of animal power only.

Investment in its development amounted to £7,000 – £8,000, but bDSCF7040y late summer in its opening year the tramway was already carrying eight hundred to nine hundred passengers during a fourteen hour day.

Unfortunately Lightfoot’s other ventures drained him financially, which forced him to sell the system to the Isle of Man Tramway Limited in 1882. New passing loops were added as the service continued to expand, a double track was laid five years later and passenger numbers continued to rise; dented briefly during a very wet summer in 1889.

Thomas Lightfoot died in 1893 aged seventy eight and was buried in Onchan churchyard, but the popularity of the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway continued unabated. Enhanced by the service provided by the Douglas and Laxey Coast Electric Tramway Company between Douglas and Groudle, passenger numbers increased to almost one million in that same year.

Resold to the Douglas and Laxey Coast Electric Tramway Company the following year for £38,000, its popularity soared, reaching one million six hundred thousand passengers in just one year.

The collapse of Dumbell’s Bank gave Douglas Corporation the opportunity of purchDSCF7178asing the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway (and the now defunct cable tramway) for £50,000 in 1901.

By this time a double track had been put into place, a scheduled service ran in the winter and concern about wages prompted a one day strike.

Rumours of closure persisted at various intervals and requests by the Manx Electric Railway to electrify the line (to offer passengers a complete journey between Ramsey and Victoria Pier) were rejected.

Although simplified to a seasonal service in 1927, the Victorian transportation system attracted a record two and a half million passengers, but decades later a declining holiday trade took its toll.

The fleet consisted of Winter Saloons, bulkhead Toastracks, Sunshades, Fully Open Toastracks and All Weather Cars (affectionately referred to as ‘tomato boxes’) and in celebration of the system’s eightieth anniversary all eighty tram horses paraded toDSCF1445 the Victoria Pier.

World events and impending social reform may yet provide a catalyst for the potential return of a sustainable tourism industry, initially developed by many Victorian entrepreneurs, but will this include the preservation of the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway?

Valerie Caine

© August 2016

(Courtesy of Manx Tails)

Posted in Uncategorized

Come to Peel for Family Fun this Weekend!

Peel Carnival Poster 2016 (Large)If you’re looking for somewhere vibrant, family-friendly and entertaining at the beginning of August, then you nViva Brasil Poster (Large)eed look no further than the west coast of the Island, as the town of Peel prepares for its annual carnival and the Traditional Boat Weekend.

There’s more of an international feel to this year’s Peel Carnival, with the introduction of Viva Brasil, an exotic troupe of feather-clad, costumed, Brazilian samba dancers, who will be promoting the event and joining the popular afternoon parade.

Another coup for the festival will be the appearance of well known puppeteer and model maker Steve Allen, who will be fronting a number of workshops in schools situated in the west of the Island, in a bid to encourage youngsters in creation of models and props to be used in the Grand Parade. Recognised for his work on the film Labyrinth, Steve is best known for his creative characters on both TV and film, working with the Muppets creator Jim Henderson and EMI Studios, and recreating characters from Fraggle Rock, Thunderbirds, Star Wars and those latter day stars Wallace and Gromit.

Peel Traditional Boat Weekend (1)These additional highlights will take place alongside all the usual favourites, such as fire-eating, juggling, acrobatic sideshows and the popular Manchester based Caribbean steel drum band Panfire. Also new this year will be an Hungarian dance group, which will join the spectacular Chinese Lion dancers and the local drum band SambaMann, who traditionally lead the parade from the House of Manannan.

But if you’re looking for something a little more relaxing, then the twenty sixth annual Traditional Boat Weekend may be just the ticket.Peel Traditional Boat Weekend (3)

With thirty five to forty boats expected to dock in Peel during the first weekend of August, the usual format will be adopted, including Parades of Sail (weather permitting) on both days during the weekend. It is hoped (although unconfirmed at this stage) that all four surviving Manx Nobbies, Gladys, White Heather, Aigh Vie and Vervine Blossom, may join together at the port for a regatta.

Organisers also welcome the return of local sponsor Bushy’s Brewery to the event, which is viewed by entrants as ‘the best in the Irish Sea’, due to the town’s charm and hospitality.

DSCF0150 (2)One of the highlights of the weekend is the Quick and Dirty Boat Building Competition, to be held on Saturday on the tongue in Peel. This is a challenging team exercise, with a view to building a boat using a limited supply of materials and equipment, after which they race across the mouth of the River Neb. Prize winners of both the best designed boat and the race itself will be invited to nominate a charity of their choice for their winnings.

The Sailors’ Shelter (across from Fenella Bridge) will be selling complementary goods throughout the weekend.

Further details of both events available from their Facebook pages.

 

Valerie Caine

© August 2016

(Courtesy of Manx Tails)

 

Posted in Uncategorized