Monday, July 27, 2015

Exciting New Island Degree Course in History and Heritage

Beginning in September 2015, this exciting course is a BA (Hons) in History and Heritage, subject to validation by the University of Chester, offered on a full-time (3 years) or a part-time (6 years) basis, with access to extensive online resources; including eBooks and eJournals.

An honours degree in history and heritage can open the door to a wide range of jobs in a variety of employment sectors, including the media, the civil service, tourism and heritage, business marketing, or law and education, together with some highly prized transferable employment skills.

The Island is abundantly blessed with many layers of unique history and heritage, which, if you scratch below the surface, reveals a rich seam of learning and a fantastic opportunity to discover more about how the Isle of Man evolved across the centuries, its often varied influences and learn more about how this can benefit us in a contemporary setting.

The new degree  course, however, offers a comprehensive programme which will focus on a wider remit of British, European and world history, developing historical research skills and learning about the role of heritage in representing the past.

But students will also be able to broaden their horizons by studying the heritage industry from an international perspective, and get a feel for what it's like to work in this arena on a contemporary level. During their second year, students will also be able to take advantage of a six-week work placement, or undertake a specific research project.

Studying on the Island also brings many advantages, including some fabulous resources, a strong sense of its own history and a growing heritage industry. Home-based students will also have the opportunity to learn from those directly involved in history and heritage on a local level, the chance to connect with potential future employers, benefit from academic support and become part of the college's broad HE Community.

Entry requirements will be 240 UCAS points, although applications are also welcome from mature students who will be considered on the basis of previous experience and/or professional qualifications. Students may also be eligible for an Isle of Man Government Student Award which will pay all fees for the degree programme.

Application forms can be downloaded from

Further details about the Student Awards Scheme available from

All other enquiries should be directed to the H. E. Administrator at the Isle of Man College on 01624 648278 or at .

Valerie Caine
© July 2015

(Courtesy of Manx Tails)

Friday, July 24, 2015

Manx Representatives Head for International Celtic Congress in Ireland

This year's International Celtic Congress is being held at Rosscarbery in County Cork, Ireland, bringing together representatives from each of the Celtic countries, including the Isle of Man.
Phil Gawne

Centred at the Celtic Ross Hotel, the week-long conference includes excursions, an International Celtic Concert, informal sessions and a ceili night, together with a series of lectures on the theme of 'What is National Freedom?' Phil Gawne MHK will present a paper for the Isle of Man, whilst Annie Kissack will represent Manx music. Further highlights will be a series of films, a workshop dedicated to Irish songs and the International Celtic Congress dinner.

The town of Rosscarbery has a rich heritage, but in recent times has witnessed unprecedented growth, primarily in the holiday accommodation sector, which swells the standard population during the summer months.

Rosscarbery is the location for St Fachtna's, the smallest cathedral in Ireland and the size of a typical parish church; which has parallels with our own St German's Cathedral.

Annie Kissack
But there's a stronger connection with the name of the town, which is a mutation of the Irish Ros Ó gCairbre which translates into Cairbre's Wood.

According to the Manx scholar J. J. Kneen, the parish of Arbory is dedicated to two saints, St Cairpre of Coleraine and St Columba. This dual dedication persisted, with the parish bearing the name of Cairbre or Cairpre and the parish church Columba, resulting in Kirk Carbery becoming Kirk Arbory.

The first Celtic Congress (under the title of the Pan-Celtic Congress) was held in Abergavenny, Wales, in 1838, and organised only every thirty years or so until the end of the nineteenth century, when meetings were regularised.

However, the first Celtic Congress in its present form convened in 1917 at Birkenhead, on the invitation of the National Union of Welsh Societies, as part of the National Eisteddfod. On this occasion there was a representative from the Celtic Society of Paris, as well as those from the six Celtic nations.

Preparations are well under way for next year's International Celtic Congress which will be held on the Isle of Man.

Valerie Caine
© July 2015

(Courtesy of Manx Tails)

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Peel Hosts a Successful Yn Chruinnaght Inter-Celtic Festival

The annual Inter-Celtic festival, Yn Chruinnaght, brought colour and vibrancy to Peel during five days of music, song and dance, as visiting groups and artistes joined with local performers to provide entertainment at various venues throughout the town.

It was a great location for a varied programme, which was largely focused around the hub of the fishing port, kicking off with a concert in St German's Cathedral before heading down to a popular gig at The Creek.

Peel Methodist Church has also become a favourite acoustic setting for afternoon concerts, which this year featured a selection of singers and musicians, including a number of rising stars from the ranks of the Island's younger performers.

Out at Peel Golf Club, the award-winning Mischa Macpherson hosted a Scottish singing workshop, which was followed later by a rousing ceili, with music provided by visiting Breton and Cornish groups and the inimitable Calor Gas Ceili Band in their final performance, after thirty six years on the Manx circuit.

Meanwhile a discussion about Celtic languages took place at the Methodist Guild Room, a Cornish dance workshop at the Centenary Centre  and the Corrin Hall provided a venue for a popular craft fair, which included a range of artistic talent and a varied use of local items.

And for those wishing to try something a little different, specialist carver Sharon Littley was on hand during two workshops over the weekend to help talented individuals carve their own Welsh lovespoons.

Music sessions, one of the mainstays of the festival, took place at The Royal and at The Highwayman.

But probably the most successful events were at the Centenary Centre, with two sell-out concerts featuring the phenomenal folk band Flook with support from Greg Joughin and local duo Strengyn, followed by the magnificent premiere of The Gathering, written by David Kilgallon and commissioned by Yn Chruinnaght; with a powerful finale by Breton duo Landat-Moisson.

Other events involving Island musicians and dancers were held at The Institute in Laxey and at the Villa Marina in Douglas.

The festival concluded with an energetic display of Manx dancing by local groups and a musical interlude from some of our up and coming musicians from the Bree Supergroup outside the House of Manannan in glorious sunshine.

Valerie Caine
© July 2015

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Minnesota Manx Newsletter

The Isle of Man has never looked more beautiful than in the backdrop to these striking photographs of cleverly-balanced stones.

Adrian Gray, a world leader in the art of stone balancing, has been hard at work scanning the island in search of the best locations to put his honed skills to the test, with photographer Mikael Buck on hand to record the unbelievable results.

Gray takes his inspiration from his stunning natural environment and studies each stone carefully to fully understand weight distribution and how the shapes will fit together before building his monuments.

He was asked to create the sculptures after the Isle of Man's government noticed his talent on Channel 4's Grand Designs.

See more of his beautiful designs here. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Appeal for donations to St Paul's Church in Market Square, Ramsey

Hello, Greetings from the Isle of Man. I was at the World Manx Society Dinner last Saturday, the Government Garden Party on the Sunday afternoon and then at Tynwald Day Ceremony in the heavy rain on Monday 7th July.

I am writing to ask if you would be willing to put the below appeal in your newsletter. We are looking for Manx people who might have a link with Ramsey and might be willing to make a donation towards the tower fund at St Paul's Church in Market Square, Ramsey.

I am planning to be in Chicago at the beginning of october and am already in touch with Margaret Martinson and have arranged to have dinner with her on friday 2nd october.  
I don't know how many members you have in Chicago, but I would love to meet you all.  I am a rehearsal Queen Elizabeth II for the BBC and would be willing to tell you about this.  I have attached a photo.

It does occur to me that, if by any chance anyone would like to make a donation to our tower fund, the total amount could be presented to me during my visit and then I could take the money back to the isle of man. This would save transfering the individual cheques through the banks. I am the treasurer of the church and could give an official receipt. I see that John Prendergast is the Treasurer of the your Society 

I look forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes

An Appeal to Anyone With Links to Ramsey 
St Paul’s Church is a key feature of the Ramsey landscape fronting on to the Market Place and looking out over the harbour. The tower at the Church has been in danger of collapsing and the congregation has worked incredibly hard to raise over £40,000 to carry out works to replace rotting wooden beams with new steel ones and thus stabilize the structure. However, they now need to raise a further £50,000 to carry out repairs to the roof and structure to stop the water ingress that has been causing the damage. This is a huge challenge and in addition to continuing the fundraising efforts the church is also appealing to anyone with links to the church or the town for donations towards the cost of completing this project.

If you are able to support this fundraising appeal, cheques can be made out to St Paul’s Church and sent to: Miss Ella Slack, The Treasurer of St Paul's Church, 7 Royal CourtQueens Promenade, Ramsey IM8 1EP. If you would like to obtain further information about this project before making a decision about whether or not to support it please email and the Vicar or one of the Church Wardens will be happy to respond to any queries. If you are on Facebook, why not visit St Paul’s at

Manx Musician Heads for Hebridean Celtic Festival

(Courtesy of Adam Rhodes first left)
As the twentieth annual Hebcelt Festival gets into full swing, local traditional musician, Adam Rhodes, will be heading to the Isle of Lewis as part of the highly successful Welsh band Jamie Smith's Mabon.

The popular festival, which has clinched an international reputation as a showcase for both Celtic performers and those influenced by the genre, has attracted a spectacular line-up of more than twenty performers, including Shooglenifty, Salsa Celtica and Karen Matheson of Capercaillie.

This multi-award winning event is held in the grounds of Lews Castle in Stornoway, on the picturesque Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, where visitors from around the world can soak up the atmosphere and experience a different way of life.

Dr Alasdair Allan, MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar (Outer Hebrides) and the Minister for Scotland's Languages, has praised the HebCelt organisers for using the festival as a venue to promote the Gaelic tongue. He said, "This is another fine example of the good work being done by HebCelt to promote Gaelic to a large audience. It means the language will be prominent during the festival and will encourage people, even those not familiar with the language, to see and hear it being used in everyday situations. That kind of exposure and experience is vital to Gaelic's sustainability. Hearing Gaelic being spoken and used in traditional and contemporary songs at the festival, adds to the character and appeal of HebCelt."

Jamie Smith's Mabon is known to many as Wales' finest purveyors of original Inter Celtic music, bursting into life in 1999, with their exploration of dynamic, traditional Welsh and Celtic dance music.

These days their output is largely based on Jamie Smith's own compositions, influenced by both traditional music and contemporary Celtic artists.

Adam, who plays bouzouki, was latterly a member of the Manx based band King Chiaullee, but now a familiar face in a new line-up called Mec Lir.

Valerie Caine

© July 2015