All roads lead west on the 9th and 10th August when this year’s Royal Manx Agricultural Show opens the gates for yet another fantastic day out for all the family – whatever the weather.

Firmly established as one of the highlights on the rural calendar, the Royal Manx Agricultural Show, now held at Knockaloe Farm just outside Peel, is the culmination of months of hard work from both show participants and committee members, led by Secretary Carol Kennaugh.

And this year Mrs Fiona Moore has been nominated as the first woman President.

There’ll be an extensive range of craft and trade exhibitors, along with a wide selection of food and drink vendors, including the agricultural show’s own Country Kitchen and Burger Queen catering outlets. There’s been a high demand from trade exhibitors for sites at this year’s show, which will include a cross-section of agricultural merchants, car dealers, charities, conservatories, local banks, as well as health and beauty suppliers, amongst others.

Back by popular demand, is the Ridgeside Falconry Show, with birds of prey featuring in dramatic flying displays and close handling, and lurcher racing – a fun demonstration of speed and agility for dogs. Other entertainment includes sheep shearing, Spike Milton’s Timbersports Lumberjack Show, sheep dog trial demonstrations, dressage to music, classic car and vintage tractor parades and a full musical programme on the bandstand. But this year’s line-up also includes something new in the arena with the world famous Vander Space Wheel of Death, providing the best aerial stunt act in Europe and guaranteed to keep spectators mesmerised.

The event is, of course, at heart an agricultural show, with animal judging and the popular arts and crafts forming the backbone of the event, with the local farming community competing for the ‘best in show’ awards.

It’s also a celebration of Manx life, highlighting such as traditional arts and crafts, the Manx Beekeepers’ Association and the Manx Craft Guild. Additionally, the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture will be showcasing Manx produce and tempting visitors to buy an extensive range of local food.

Carol Kennaugh, Secretary of the Royal Manx Agricultural Show, said “There really is something for everyone at this year’s show – it’s very much a family day out and we try to appeal to everyone from all walks of life. While we will always remain an agricultural show, dedicated to maintaining traditions that have been upheld for years, it’s important that we move with the times. We’ve had great demand from exhibitors and are delighted to see so much interest from the community in what is one of the Island’s longest running events. We are extremely grateful to each and every one of our sponsors, particularly Manx Telecom, Conister Bank and Pokerstars, for all their support.”

The ultimate prize for exhibitors will be the Deemster Johnson’s Supreme Award, presented for the best animal in show by His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor Sir Richard Gozney and sponsored by Conister Bank.

Gates open 9.00am – 5.00pm on both days with tickets priced at £7 (Friday) and £9 (Saturday), children £1 on either day with those under the age of four allowed in free. Dogs permitted on short leads only. Pre-show tickets available from outlets across the Island, or from the show’s website.

Further information available from www.royalmanx.com, or by telephoning 801850.

Valerie Caine

© August 2019

(Courtesy of Manx Life)

(Since publication of this article first day of the event cancelled due to atrocious weather conditions)

The forty ninth edition of the Lorient Interceltique Festival will this year focus on celebrating the region of Galicia, recognised for its language, culture and traditions, with a strong Manx contingent alongside during the ten day event.

Holding a population of almost two million people, Galicia, situated on the Atlantic coast, is surrounded by the Principality of Asturias, Castilla y León and Portugal, but has preserved its language, culture and traditions. The music, song and dance of this region has long been established at the Lorient Interceltique Festival, but so too has the famous Galician gastronomy, which can be savoured at the Pavilion Galicien.

One of Galicia’s most famous musical exports, Carlos Nunez, who will be performing in Lorient, is a multi-instrumentalist who plays the gaita, the traditional Galician bagpipe, Galician flute, ocarina, Irish flute, whistle and low whistle, previously performed on the Isle of Man.

But you can also sample performances from other Celtic nations, including the Isle of Man, with presentations from the highly regarded Mollag Band, producing original songs in Manx and English and an up-and-coming group of dancers known as Skeddan Jiarg, who have developed a growing reputation for introducing young children to Manx dancing. Additionally, there will be the Mera Royle Trio (including Owen Williams and Raygie Dolloso), artwork by Julia Ashby-Smyth and an opportunity to sample Fynodoree Gin. Here too will be the popular Manx Pavilion on the Quai des Pays Celtes, supported by Culture Vannin, Visit Isle of Man and the Isle of Man Arts Council and the premiere of a new documentary about Mera, produced by local young film-makers, Dark Avenue, at a CineFIL events.

Described as the cosmopolitan heart of the twentieth century, the Lorient Interceltique Festival emerged from the Lorient International Bagpipes Festival, launched in 1971.

Recognised as one of the thirteen most important festivals in Europe by the European Commission in 1996, it’s an extravaganza of Celtic culture, with an extensive programme of concerts, shows, parades, literary meetings, sports events, gastronomic tastings and exhibitions of contemporary arts and crafts. More than seven hundred thousand festival-goers gather each year in the streets of Lorient to immerse themselves in Celtic culture from Scotland, Wales, Brittany, Acadia, Asturias, Cornwall, Galicia, Ireland and, of course, the Isle of Man. The Celtic Diaspora also draws performers from Australia, New Zealand and Argentina.

Festival Director, Lisardo Lombardia, said, “I am working with the festival’s values, the identity of each Celtic nation, but also with an open mind, constantly searching for contemporary perspectives.”

With over four thousand artists, twelve stages, two hundred concerts and shows, and almost two thousand volunteers to co-ordinate, the festival has become a hub of cultural exchange with huge potential for Manx tourism, where those supporting the event discover the value of sharing and conviviality.

Valerie Caine

© August 2019

(Courtesy of Manx Life)

 

Hailing from Prince Edward Island, the smallest province of Canada, Gordie MacKeeman and His Rhythm Boys have just finished their latest UK tour and appeared for the second time at the Centenary Centre in Peel, where a packed auditorium tapped their feet in unison with the unmistakable vitality of fiddle player and dancer Gordie MacKeeman.

Gordie is known to one and all as ‘crazy legs’, which needs little explanation if you’ve seen the show, but there’s an unmistakable synergy between members of the band, the audience and their island status, which offers a familiarity to those who live on the Isle of Man.

Their performance draws favourably on each band member’s multi-instrumental capability, as they move effortlessly between various musical instruments with a long held, unflustered confidence, which reflects their ability to work closely together as a unit in concert.

Happily slipping into other genres, it’s fair to say that they are recognised for traditional bluegrass and roots music in their live and exhilarating shows, which have drawn international attention and awards such as the Roots/Traditional Group Recording of the Year at the East Coast Music Awards and the Galaxie Supernova Award at the Ottawa Folk Festival.

The Rhythm Boys have also performed at the legendary Glastonbury Festival, The Woodford Folk Festival, WOMAD and Celtic Connections, as well as before enthusiastic audiences at sold-out venues, festivals and theatres across Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Belgium, Malaysia and Australia.

Their crowd pleasing performance ended with an encore of the song The Craic was Ninety in the Isle of Man, written by Barney Rush and performed by many Irish singers and groups since the 1960s.

Valerie Caine

© July 2019

The American Civil War (1861-1865) is a conflict which still resonates strongly today. As might be anticipated, immigrant participation was significant, particularly in the Union forces, and is generally well documented. However, this book is the first to explore the role played by men from the Isle of Man,a small island in the middle of the Irish Sea.

From a broad overview of the contribution of Manx soldiers, the author draws on previously unresearched military service records, extant war-time correspondence and other documentary evidence to focus on the war-time experiences of more than 50 Manxmen who played their part in the ‘new birth of freedom’ of the United States.

About the author:

John Murray is a retired solicitor now living on the Isle of Man. A long-time student of the American Civil War, he has published numerous articles on diverse aspects of the conflict.This is his first book on the ‘War between the States’.

 

Go here to purchase: https://www.greenex.co.uk/ge_record_detail.asp?ID=194

Cost is £19.99 which is around $24

 

Isle of Man Classic TT August 24, 25, 26 2019

Isle of Man, – August 24-25-26 – For the 7th consecutive year, Team Obsolete has been invited back to the Isle of Man Classic TT, this time to display and parade two genuine exotic bikes from its world renowned collection: the 1976 Agostini MV Agusta 350/4 and the 1959 Surtees AJS Special.

Ten-time TT winner, fifteen-time FIM world champion, Giacomo Agostini will be riding the MV Agusta 1972/76 350 cc 4 cylinder Assen winner at the Jurby Festival and will be participating in a Special Lap of Honour on the fabled 37 mile “Mountain Circuit.” This is the same bike that he rode to victory in his last 350 Grand Prix, Assen 1976. (see article here.)

In addition to Giacomo Agostini, Classic Racing Legend, Dave Roper, the first American to win a TT will be riding the 1959 Surtees AJS Special which was recently honored at the ASI MotoShow in Varano, Italy. The “Surtees” had a long and distinguished career in ARTER EQUIPPE. Riders Mike Duff and Peter Williams scored many high placings just behind the Italian Multis. Williams was second behind Agostini’s MV 350/3 at the 1966 Isle of Man “Junior” TT.

Team Owner, Rob Iannucci said, “We are thrilled to return these great riders and bikes to the Isle of Man, the world’s greatest race circuit.”

Many thanks to our sponsors: AVON Tyres, Vanson Leathers, and Red Line Synthetic Oil.

Now in its forty first year, the Yn Chruinnaght Celtic Gathering is firmly established in its role as an annual celebration of music, song, dance, language and culture in Peel, and is recognised as one of the longest-running Celtic festivals in Europe – which later this month will present a packed programme of entertainment from both at home and abroad.

A series of evening concerts at the Centenary Centre, opens this year with Welsh Celtic super-group Mabon, celebrating their twentieth anniversary. They will be joined by one of the Island’s best-loved groups, The Mollag Band, before they head off to the Festival Interceltique de Lorient.

And there are other great musicians to come during the week. Highly acclaimed Scottish harpist Rachel Hair, familiar to many on the Island as Culture Vannin’s harp teacher with over twenty young Manx students under her wing, will be joined by guitarist Ron Jappy to promote their new album.

Singer Lors Landat and accordionist Thomas Moisson from Brittany will join local harpist Mera Royle (winner of the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Musician 2018) and keyboard/fiddle player/composer David Kilgallon (King Chiaullee/Chronicles/Mec Lir) for the premiere of an exciting, new Breton-Manx collaboration.

But headlining the final concert, will be Irish singer and bouzouki player Daoirí Farrell, accompanied by Robbie Walsh (bodhran) and Michael O’Connell (uilleann pipes). Armed with several BBC2 Folk Awards and a new album produced by Irish music legend Donal Lunny, Daoirí was recently awarded Male Vocalist of the Year by LiveIreland. They’ll be supported by Manx flautist Peddyr Cubberley, Malcolm Stitt (guitar) and Russell Cowin (bodhran) under the guise of the Peddyr Cubberley Trad Trio.

However, there’s plenty of other entertainment to enjoy during the week-long event at various venues, including the multi-talented Cornish Davey family, as well as Falkirk Piping and the Glenbervie Folk Duo from Scotland. And there’s a rare opportunity to learn more about Appalachian music and dance and its connections with the Celtic world, with Appalachian banjo player Randy Wilson based in Kentucky, USA, and his son Gabe Dansereau, who specialises in old-time fiddle.

Several visiting groups will also participate in educational outreach sessions and Francis Boutle Publishers will be selling a selection of minority language publications – reflecting the 2019 International Year of Minority Languages.

During the final weekend, Cathedral Isle of Man will become the hub for an afternoon of free community events, including outdoor entertainment, acoustic recitals, children’s activities, workshops, refreshments and the Artisan Craft Fair.

Music and dance displays will also be on offer at the House of Manannan the following day, together with indoor activities, with informal music sessions during the week in Peel and at Noa Bakehouse in Douglas.

Credit: Paul Michael Hughes

Sponsors are always welcome, but organisers wish to thank Culture Vannin, the Isle of Man Arts Council, Culture Ireland, Thornton Chartered Financial Planners, Malcolm Scott Dickinson Charitable Trust and the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company. Also the support of Manx National Heritage, Cathedral Isle of Man, Department of Education, Sport and Culture, Peel Town Commissioners, the Department of Enterprise and local venues.

Concert and ceili tickets (including the special festival pass) are available from their website, with single tickets also available from Celtic Gold, or phone the Festival Office on 07624 302200.

Further information about the festival from www.celticgathering.im, Facebook or Twitter.

Valerie Caine

© July 2019

(Courtesy of Manx Life)

May 24th 2019 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of HM Queen Victoria. Isle of Man Post Office decided to mark this important occasion by issuing a collection which celebrates the great works and inventions of six eminent Victorian engineers who have hugely influenced on the historical development of engineering, science and technology still used today in everyone’s daily lives.

This stamp issue presents six great engineers and inventors who influenced food manufacture, clothing, naval gunnery, modern machinery, oil shipments and engine fuel injection in original and unique ways now almost forgotten. It is a celebration of what the Isle of Man does well – providing opportunities to develop great people who go on to provide great service to mankind. Each of these great engineers was either born in the Isle of Man or created their ideas whilst living and working here. The full collection can be found at www.iompost.com/engineers.

Galicia will be the nation guest of honour this summer at the Lorient Interceltic Festival (LIF)
For 10 days and 10 nights, Lorient will become the Interceltic Capital, where thousands of artists and festival-goers from around the world come together every year to share these common roots!
750,000 festival-goers
200 shows
4,500 artists
12 stages
1,600 volunteers
9 Celtic nations

Lorient Interceltic Festival, is a music festival dedicated to the encounter of Celtic cultures from all over the world, this summer in Brittany.

Each year, musicians and dancers are invited to perform and let the festival-goers discover their traditional music, always mixed with contemporary influences. This year the guest of honour of Lorient Interceltic Festival is Galicia, located in the north-west corner of the Iberian Peninsula.

Some key information:

* one of the largest festival in Europe (+750.000 festival-goers, 12 stages, 200 shows and more than 4.500 artists)

* famous Galicians artists performing, including Mercedes Peón, Banda de Gaita de Forcarei, Carlos Núñez and many more

* Goran Bregović, Peatbog Fearies, Martin Hayes Quartet and many other international artists

* 10 Celtic countries with their own artists and stages (Galicia guest of honour, Scotland, Ireland, Cornwall, Wales, the Isle of Man, Australia, Canada, Asturias, Brittany)

Moreover, Brittany and its Morbihan Gulf, are one of the first tourist destinations in France with its wild beaches, its amazing history and its gastronomy. The festival could be a great opportunity to discover more of this wonderful region and its famous traditions.

Last year’s inaugural Oie Voaldyn Manx Fire Festival in Peel was literally a spectacular success which returned with an even bigger display during the early May bank holiday weekend.

Traditionally, Oie Voaldyn (May Eve) was a time to celebrate the return of fertility to the land and recognise joy, revelry, courtship, romance and the potential for new life. An opportunity to cast off the shadow of darkness and enjoy the light. The use of fire was an important custom at this time of year in order to fend off witches and evil spirits, but was also acknowledged as a purifier and healer. Winter gorse was burnt away in anticipation of new growth, and farmers would drive livestock between bonfires in order to cleanse and protect them before release into the fields.

This year’s festival, however, was a re-interpretation and modernisation of the old Manx customs associated with the eve of May Day – which quickly captured the imagination of visitors to the occasion.

Spokesperson for the festival, John Shakespeare, commented “We soon recognised there was a real desire to revive some of our unique Manx customs. We don’t intend to recreate ancient practices, but to continue in the spirit of our forebears and create our own connection to the cycles of the seasons. Oie Voaldyn celebrates the traditions of the past with an eye on the future, but the aim of the festival is to bring people together to acknowledge and celebrate the return of summer.”

The event itself presented a spectacular performance, with the excitement of torchlight processions, inspiring music, dancing and roaring bonfires. Additionally, there was a dramatic interpretation of the traditional, mock battle between summer and winter during the evening. It was a fully costumed event, including such intriguing characters as the Gorseman, the Boneman, the Phynodderree and a flock of Loaghtan sheep, as well as the two main stars of the event – The Queen of Summer and the Queen of Winter.

It was a fully choreographed and narrated event, concluding with fire poi, fire spinning and a fabulous firework display against the dramatic, historical backdrop of Peel Castle.

Entertainment during the afternoon included live bands on stage, dancing and speciality food producers down by the quayside, with Viking Games on the beach, guided tours of Peel in Manx Gaelic and an opportunity to make a traditional Crosh Cuirn (rowan cross) to keep away those evil spirits which may be lurking nearby.

www.oievoaldyn.com

www.facebook.com/oievoaldyn

Valerie Caine

© May 2019

(Courtesy of Manx Life

WE’RE EXCITED!!!! Mark the Date! 7th-9thAugust 2020

Plans are progressing for the 2020 North American Manx Association Convention. It will be held at Hotel 1620 right on Plymouth Harbor and will run from 7th-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!

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 

 Note to the BOARD: When reserving rooms for the Board meeting on August 10th this year, please quote NAMA2019