Praying the Keeills Week 2013

Praying the Keeills Week has now settled into an annual event with opportunities to join together and pray at some of the ancient spiritual sites on the Isle of Man.
It’s a chance for anyone to seek out some of the Island’s places of peace and beauty during a week-long schedule of events that takes keen walkers and Christians to various parts of the Manx countryside as they reflect on their spiritual journey.
Organised by local churches from all denominations, a hardworking group of volunteers put together an Island-wide schedule, drawing on the extensive knowledge of local historian Frank Cowin.
There’s a large network of keeill sites scattered throughout the Island, which historically served as family chapels, wayside shrines, or places of hermitage. Small buildings made of earth and stone, they date predominantly from the eighth century, but very few now remain in any tangible form. However, the sites themselves, which include burial grounds, can predate the buildings from the sixth century, or earlier, and tend to be pre-Christian sites or Bronze Age cairns.
It’s a flexible programme of events with something to suit most abilities, with walks to areas of scenic beauty such as Santon Gorge, St Runius Church in Marown, around the Meayll Peninsula and along the Carnanes in the south of the Island.
Other activities during the week included a celebration of song at Abbeylands Methodist Chapel, a tour of the crosses and keeills within Maughold churchyard and a coach trip to the ‘Irish Abbeylands’ finishing at Glen Maye Chapel.
Valerie Caine
© June 2013