Wednesday, April 23, 2014

New Chapter Opens as Carol Retires from the Ward Library in Peel

A new chapter will be written at the Ward Library in Peel with the retirement of Carol Horton as resident librarian after thirty years of loyal service to the town.

Carol, who took over the position from Mrs Myrtle Nicholson, celebrated her departure from the post with an informal get-together in the Sophia Morrison Room, where she was joined by family, friends and members of the library wishing her well in retirement.

She commented, “I am delighted that so many children have been able to come and see the new bookcases and kinder boxes in the junior library, bought with a donation from the family of Mr James Kewley Ward in Canada, keeping the links with Peel alive. At last I have been able to display the beautiful collage that Mrs Sue Collins has donated to the library. A separate anonymous donation meant I was able to purchase a lot of
new books for the junior section and I hope that you all like the seaside theme. The disabled/pram access is almost completed and I’m very grateful to Peel Commissioners outdoor staff who worked hard to finish this project before my retirement.

Many of the changes at the library over the years have only been made possible with the support of Peel Commissioners and I would like to thank all of their staff, together with Chris Littler for his help in setting up the library’s website.”

A steady stream of well-wishers filtered through the library to enjoy Carol’s farewell party, which was organised by a small circle of friends and helpers, with special thanks to Mrs Margaret Bowden who made an excellent retirement cake at very short notice, and Carol’s husband and family for their ongoing support.

Carol said, “I would like to thank my colleagues at all the other libraries around the Island. Working on my own has meant that I have no-one to bounce ideas off and I have always known that they were just a phone call away if I needed help and advice. Castletown Librarian, Mrs Pauline Cringle, is also retiring at the end of April and I would like to wish her a happy retirement and thank her for all of her help over the many years we have worked together.”

Jenny Gotrel, who has been on hand to man the desk in Carol’s absence, has also decided to retire and Carol would like to extend her thanks to all of the many relief helpers who have come to her aid over the years.

Carol remarked, “I know I’m going to miss everyone and the day to day contact with you all. There aren’t many jobs where the people you come into contact with become your friends; I must have the most friends in Peel! Thank you all for making this day so memorable for me, but I am excited about the future. I’m not closing a book, just opening a new chapter.”

Miss Gemma Quilliam has been appointed as new librarian and will take up her position shortly.

Valerie Caine

© April 2014

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Isle of Man Stamps - The Battle of Clontarf

As Ireland prepares to celebrate the millennium of the Battle of Clontarf, Isle of Man Stamps has issued a set of six stamps to commemorate one of the most definitive battles of Irish history.

But the Isle of Man is closely linked to this event by the Vikings Bródir and Óspak, who gathered a substantial army of men in the western port of Peel before heading off to fight, taking with him a large number of Manx Vikings.

And although stories differ in the retelling, it is suspected that they were implicated in the death of Brian Boru.

Fought outside Dublin on the 23rd April, 1014, (Good Friday) the Battle of Clontarf marked a turning point in Ireland’s history and introduced a new era for the country.

Isle of Man Stamps commissioned artist Victor Ambrus to create six individual images of the battle, including some of the principal characters, using water-colour and ink to capture the sense of stark brutality.

General Manager of Isle of Man Stamps and Coins, Maxine Cannon, said, “Victor Ambrus has produced some amazing images that capture crucial events in the thousand year old shared history of the Isle of Man, Ireland and the Orkney Isles. The Battle of Clontarf is a key event in history that has shaped the future of Ireland and of course the Isle of Man. These stamps pay a great tribute to the memory of the battle and King Brian Boru. We are very pleased to be able to offer our collectors such an important piece of history.”

The text is supplied by Dr Howie Firth, providing a short, but detailed account of the events which led to the death of the legendary Brian Boru. His narrative also includes selected quotations and comment from chroniclers of the period.

Dr Firth commented, “It’s tremendous that the Isle of Man Post Office is marking the 1000th anniversary of an event that has resonated through the centuries in stories and sagas. The battle affected the lives of so many people and communities, from Ireland and Man to Orkney and Iceland. The sea route from Norway down through the Irish Sea and on the Mediterranean was one of the great trading highways of Europe at the time, and the Isle of Man was part of the complex mix of commerce and politics.”

Valerie Caine

© April 2014

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Innocent on the Bounty The Court-Martial and Pardon of Midshipman Peter Heywood, in Letters Peter Heywood and Nessy Heywood

Innocent on the Bounty The Court-Martial and Pardon of Midshipman Peter Heywood, in Letters Peter Heywood and Nessy Heywood Edited by Donald A. Maxton and Rolf E. Du Rietz

This is the first complete publication of a rare collection of letters and poems written from 1790 to 1792—many of which have never appeared in print—telling the true story of Peter Heywood from the Isle of Man, a young Royal Navy midshipman on H.M.S. Bounty wrongly accused of mutiny, and his devoted sister, Nessy, who worked tirelessly to save him from being condemned and executed for this crime.

This edition is a faithful transcription of a manuscript held at the Newberry Library in Chicago—one of only five surviving manuscripts. 

About the Authors
 Public relations professional Donald A. Maxton is the director of communications for a major hospital network in New York City. He lives in Manhattan.

Pacific historian Rolf E. Du Rietz, former director of the Center for Bibliographical Studies, Uppsala, Sweden, is the author of several books and articles about Captain Bligh and the Bounty. He lives in Uppsala, Sweden.

To buy the book go here:

Monday, April 14, 2014

Isle of Man Department of Education & Children's Manx Folk Awards

Organised by the Isle of Man Department of Education and Children, the annual Manx Folk Awards (Aundyr yn Kiaull Theay Vannin) were held at the Kensington Road Youth Arts Centre in Douglas at the beginning of April.

Although only in its third year in this format, the competitions, aimed at school children, have grown rapidly in popularity, encompassing Manx music, song, dance and poetry and were organised in conjunction with Culture Vannin and Manx National Heritage.

The competitions were a progression from Cruinnaght Aeg which was organised for many years by Fiona McArdle; a well known Manx speaker, dancer and singer on the Island.

But, current organiser, Jo Callister, explained why some changes had taken place. “The competitions used to happen in the north and in the south. The whole reason why we moved them into Douglas (the capital) was to make them more central and so more children could watch other children performing.”

She continued, “What we found happening was that the schools in the north entered in the north and the schools in the south entered in the south and nobody actually ever saw what anyone else was doing. By watching the children perform I think other children become inspired.”

There were classes for infant and primary school age children catering for various abilities together with additional set choir pieces, based this year on the legendary Moddey Dhoo (Black Dog) of Peel Castle.

Meanwhile in a change to previous years, entries from secondary schools were judged as video entries and displayed online, with selected winners invited to perform in concert at Yn Chruinnaght Inter-Celtic Festival later this year.

Additionally, there was also a special multi-media competition with one school clinching an exclusive visit from Manx born top Blues guitarist Davy Knowles, who has taken on the role of ambassador for this year’s Island of Culture.

Valerie Caine

© April 2014

Queensland Manx Rolling Newsletter

2014 Qms Rolling Newsletter April 2014

Friday, April 11, 2014

Celtic Festival Season Gets Underway!

The 43rd Pan Celtic Festival will cross the Irish border for the first time in its history this year as the annual celebration of all things Celtic moves to the city of Derry in Northern Ireland.

It’s a great opportunity for those from the Celtic nations to come together and celebrate the occasion through music and song, attracting a sizeable number of competitors from the Isle of Man, with the assistance of the Isle of Man Arts Council.

Many of the competitions and sundry entertainment will be held in the historical Guildhall in Derry, including the keenly contested Pan Celtic International Song Contest which will feature Manx group Shenn Scoill who recently won the local heat Arrane son Mannin (Song for Mann) with their composition Tayrn Mee Thie (Drawing Me Home). Shenn Scoill will also be kept busy during the festival entertaining the crowds with Manx music and song.

But there’ll also be two Manx contenders in the popular traditional song competition as Marlene Hendy, singing Yn Challoo Yiarn (The Iron Pier) endeavours to retain the title she claimed last year. However, she will be joined this year by another Island contender, Lindsay Ridley, who will be singing her new song Skeealyn ny Marrey (Songs of the Sea) in her debut performance at the Pan Celtic Festival.

After the main Inter-Celtic New Song Competition the Manx contingent will be hosting an evening ceili in association with their Breton and Cornish neighbours.

The proviso of the Pan Celtic Festival is that the Celtic languages be used wherever possible, with a Manx Kiaull as Cooish providing an opportunity for festival goers to learn a little Manx Gaelic through speech and song as part of a series of language workshops.

The Island’s native tongue is fairly well understood, particularly in Northern Ireland, with valuable publicity about the Isle of Man’s participation in the festival already aired on Raidió Fáilte in both Irish and Manx.

Meanwhile back on the Isle of Man the organisers of Shennaghys Jiu (10th - 14th April) hope that this year’s home-grown festival will go smoothly after last year’s major snowfall disrupted their schedule.  But if you did miss out on seeing some of the great musicians and dancers there’s a second chance to see some of the visiting groups again this year, together with the support of many local performers.
So, it’s welcome back to Awry, a talented ceilidh band from Edinburgh bringing their own brand of dancing and music to the festival, Meini Gwirion, a small group of musicians and dancers from Wales and The Kerry Dancers who will be performing a high kicking and highly entertaining Irish dance show. Joining them will be the evocatively named Cornish ceilidh band Splann, who will be delivering some of the best Celtic tunes for dancing.

Valerie Caine

© April 2014
(Courtesy of Manx Tails)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

London Exhibition Celebrates the Work of Archibald Knox

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of the world famous designer and artist Archibald Knox, with a number of events organised by the Archibald Knox Society to celebrate the occasion.

Born on the Isle of Man in 1864, Archibald Knox became one of the most influential figures in the British Art Nouveau/arts and crafts movements of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, particularly in respect of his dynamic partnership with the celebrated Liberty & Co of London.

His combination of Celtic design with modern aesthetics and manufacturing processes has attracted an extensive range of world-wide collectors, including decorative art specialists and celebrities such as Brad Pitt.

But on the anniversary of his birth (9th April), there’s a special invitation to a concert at St German’s Cathedral in Peel. Organised in association with Culture Vannin and supported by the Isle of Man Arts Council, there will be an opportunity to hear Manx trad power trio

Barrule, Manx Gaelic choir Caarjyn Cooidjagh, emerging local harp group Claasagh and the cathedral choir, together with a talk entitled The Significance of Archibald Knox by Liam O’Neill. Tickets priced at £5 from various outlets – details available on the Archibald Knox Society website.

Copies of the exclusive Archibald Knox Society Journal which celebrates the 150th anniversary will also be available at the concert.

But there’s also exciting news of a special exhibition organised in London which will bring together possibly the greatest collection of Knox’s metalwork from several private collections (some previously unseen in public) which will include rare examples of Cymric silver, jewellery and clocks from his time working for Liberty & Co.

Founder and Chairman of the Archibald Knox Society, Liam O’Neill, who will deliver a lecture about the designer and his work during the exhibition said, “In 1900 the extraordinary genius of Arthur L. Liberty, combined with his master designer, the Manxman Archibald Knox, put British Art Nouveau metalwork and jewellery in the forefront of modern design. In this exhibition the legacies of these two extraordinary men are once more to unite in bringing together an exceptional collection as chic today as it was then.”

Entitled Archibald Knox: Beauty and Modernity – a Designer Ahead of his Time, this milestone exhibition will be held as part of the Olympia International Art and Antiques Fair, 5th – 15th June.

Dr Stephen Martin, author of the seminal publication Archibald Knox and President of the Archibald Knox Society commented, “Celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of the great Manx designer, Archibald Knox, with this exhibition at Olympia is a long overdue and very fortunate opportunity to appreciate more deeply Knox’s diverse genius, his vast influence on twentieth century design and the sheer beauty of his objects.”

Valerie Caine

© April 2014

(Courtesy of Manx Tails)