Spotlight on The Beautiful South
Port Erin Self Guided Walking Trails
Described in 1837 as a village and sea port of forty dwellings, a small Wesleyan chapel and a comfortable inn, Port Erin has grown and evolved over the years into a picturesque and thriving town located on a beautiful bay full of life, history and things to do. All three trails begin at Port Erin Steam Railway Station and follow the routes down to the bay where it then diverges down to the promenade and harbour, as well as a slightly more strenuous route towards Bradda Head. These three walks vary in distance, terrain and difficulty so the map on the reverse provides an idea as to the extent of each walk. Grading: Leisurely/Moderate
Isle of Man Railway Museum
The museum charts the history of the steam powered railway from its inception in 1873 to the present day including the now defunct lines which used to serve Peel, Ramsey and Foxdale. Inside you’ll find steam engines and carriages including the royal carriages which carried The Queen and Queen Mother in 1963 and Queen Elizabeth II in 1972. The museum is home to a fine collection of locomotives, the Royal Train, rolling stock, memorabilia, posters and interpretive displays. The museum is also home to the Isle of Man’s only railway simulator.
Cregneash Village Folk Museum
The picturesque village of Cregneash was one of the last strongholds of the traditional customs, crafts, and skills which characterised the Manx crofting way of life. You’ll find a number of thatched Manx cottages which are open for you to explore. Visit Manxman Harry Kelly’s cottage where there’ll be Manx Bonnag cooking on the fire, speak to the village’s joiner and blacksmith and attend a service at St Peter’s Church. You can also see the fields being worked with horse-drawn equipment, villagers thatching the roofs, dying wool, spinning, weaving and wood turning and have a chance to learn about the growing and preparation of Manx food. In the fields surrounding Cregneash you’ll spot plough horses, shorthorn cows and Manx Loaghtan sheep.
Located in the ancient capital of the Isle of Man, Castletown, this impressive fortress was once home to the Kings and Lords of Mann. Originally built for a Norse king in around 1200AD, Castle Rushen was developed by successive rulers until the 1600s. During its time it was used as a fortress, royal residence, a mint and even a prison. The castle’s towering limestone walls would have been visible over much of the south of the Island – and you can climb the stone spiral staircases to the roof where you can enjoy panoramic views of Castletown and beyond. Inside the Castle you’ll be able to indulge in its history and hear from some of its inhabitants, including Bishop Wilson who you will find in his cell and the castle guards in their vaulted rooms. You’ll also be able to dine with the Kings and Lords of Mann in the great banqueting hall, experience the sights and sounds of a Medieval kitchen and visit the gatehouse.
Old House of Keys
The former home of the Manx Parliament and centre of 19th Century political life on the Isle of Man. Animated portraits of Keys members and a simulated model of Mr Speaker bring the debating chamber to life. The Secretary of the House welcomes you to join in the debates on law setting in this participatory experience.
Uncover the story of the inventive George Quayle and his most significant surviving creation Peggy, the earliest known example of a British armed yacht. Find out what excavations revealed about nautical life in Castletown and the exploits and ingenuity of George Quayle who designed his own cabin room and private dock. Hear about the work the Nautical Museum are doing to conserve Peggy to ensure she survives her third century.
Originally a home for monks of the Sauvignac Order, Rushen Abbey came under Cistercian control and was developed as the Isle of Man’s seat of religious power housing the main body of knowledge and literacy for the Island. Stroll through the Abbey Gardens to find remains of substantial medieval buildings, blossom trees and an array of herbs and flowers – many used to cure common ailments. You can also follow the footpath beyond the Abbey to the 14th century Monk’s Bridge in the nearby Silverdale Glen.
Manx National Heritage
Manx National Heritage (formally known as the Manx Museum and National Trust) has a number of other great museums and monuments to visit including Grove Museum, Ramsey, House of Manannan, Peel, The Great Laxey Wheel & Mines Trail, Laxey Wheel, Laxey, Manx Museum, Douglas, Peel Castle, Niarbyl, Dalby. If you’re a member of any of the following you can enter MNH sites for free under a reciprocal agreement with your card, National Trust; English Heritage; Scottish National Trust; Historic Scotland; Cadw; York Archaeological Trust; Office of Public Works (OPW) Republic of Ireland; the National Trust for Jersey and Jersey Heritage; and also the Trusts of Australia, New Zealand, The Cayman Islands, Bermuda and Malta (Din l-art Helwa and Heritage Malta)
Rushen Heritage Trust
We are ‘a museum of no fixed abode’. A museum building costs money to buy, and needs volunteers to staff. People often visit it once and say ‘I’ve done that’. So instead we run exhibitions and pop-up events around Rushen, encouraging repeat visits from people who live outside Rushen. Our projects are delivered by a team of dedicated volunteers. The volunteers are members of our HATS - Heritage Action Teams - and include a number of specialist leaders such as Drew Herdman (photography, video, editing, films) and Alan Jackson (ex-BBC – interviewing). Other volunteers help the teams as and when needed. We have published three books since the Trust was founded in 2014, including Friend or Foe, which tells the story of women’s internment during WWII in Port Erin and Port St Mary, and our next publication, due later in 2019, will be Living with the Sea: A history of Port St Mary and its people.