Isle of Man
Overview of the Isle of Man
The Isle of Man is an island nation in the middle of the Irish Sea at the centre of the British Isles.
It is 33 miles (53km) long and 13 miles (22km) wide at its broadest point. The population is around was 90,000. It has a richly varied rural landscape with a single small mountain called Snaefell. The town of Douglas, on the east coast, is the capital and main centre. People and things native to the Isle of Man are described by the adjective ‘Manx’.
The Isle of Man is not part of the United Kingdom, nor is it part of the European Union.
The Island is a self-governing British Crown Dependency (like Jersey and Guernsey) with its own parliament, government and laws. The Queen, who is ‘Lord of Mann’, is the Manx Head of State.
The Manx parliament, Tynwald, was founded more than 1,000 years ago and is the oldest continuous parliament in the world.
History and Culture
The unique heritage of the Isle of Man is a blend of Celtic and Viking influences. Norse Viking settlers established Tynwald, the parliament, and the Manx Gaelic language can still be heard. Manx is a Celtic language related to Irish, Scots, Welsh, Cornish and Breton.
The Island was ruled by Norse, Scots and English Kings in the Middle Ages, and by independent Lords of Man from 1406 until 1765, when it was acquired by the British Crown.
Other distinctive features of the Island include its national emblem The Three Legs of Man (derived from an ancient sun symbol the triskelion), the tail-less Manx cat, and the names of people and places, echoing the Gaelic/Norse past. There are several small Viking castles around the island, but most noted are those of Castle Rushen and Peel Castle. It is also home to the largest working water wheel in the world, The Laxey Wheel. A bit of trivia is that all members of the musical group the BeeGees were born on the Isle of Man!
The economy of the Isle of Man used to be tourism but an attractive tax regime has driven the business services industry strongly on the Island. Recent growth areas of the Isle of Man economy include e-business and e-gaming in particular, international shipping and aviation.
The Isle of Man is famous for a yearly motor cycle race. It is considered the ultimate 'must see it' event for motorsport fans across the globe. Every May/June the greatest road racers gather to test themselves against the incredible ‘Mountain Course’ - a 37.73 mile course using the island’s public roads. Here is a link to a video with some highlights of the TT Races!
Adapted from information taken from the Isle of Man government website:
https://www.gov.im/about-the-government/departments/cabinet-office/media-centre/isle-of-man-an-overview/, YouTube , and general knowledge.
Every household had at least one or two hives of bees to keep the family supplied with honey. It was used just as we use sugar today. Sometimes, the hives were taken up the mountain to allow the bees to feed on the heather.
Bees also love fuchsia - maybe that is why so much grew around the old cottages.
There used to be a great many fairs throughout the year, but the longest surviving one is Tynwald Fair, the Manx national day, held in the village of St John's on July 5th (Old Midsummer Day). This is the day the Acts of Tynwald (the Manx parliament) are promulgated and it is both a solemn and a lively affair. In days gone by, the fairground was dotted with shies and stalls, bands, and groups of dancers in national costume. It is still a great place to meet friends you may not have seen since the previous Fair Day.
One of the most popular sweetmeats on sale is handmade fudge:
1 lb. sugar
2 oz. plain chocolate
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup evaporated milk
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons butter
Boil the sugar, chocolate, salt and milk for five minutes. Add the honey and cook to a soft-ball stage (240 degrees F).
Remove from heat and add the butter. Let stand until lukewarm, then beat until creamy and pour into a buttered tray. Cut when firm.
'I don't know how to make it, but I know when it is good!' - A.H. Laughton, former High Bailiff of Peel The traditional dish served at a Manx wedding feast was broth, which was eaten from wooden bowls known as ‘piggins' and supped with mussel shells called 'sligs'.
The guests travelled to church on horseback and when the ceremony was over they would gallop as fast as they could to the bride's house. The first person to reach the house tried to catch a slipper from the bride's foot, and small pieces of wedding cake were scatted over her head as she was going inside. All the friends and relatives brought something towards the feast and there would be a lavish spread of fowls and cold meats to follow the broth.
A barrel of ale was put on top of the hedge outside house for people who were not at the wedding, and ill; there would be plenty of 'jough' (ale) and wine.
Piece of shin beef
20z pearl barley
Sprig of thyme
Boil shin and bone together with a good pinch of salt.
Keep topping up the water and when the meat is cooked, take it out. (The meat can be served cold as a separate meal).