Sunday, January 30, 2011

MA in Manx Studies

University of Liverpool, Centre for Manx Studies, Douglas, Isle of Man --Commencing October 2011

The MA in Manx Studies offers students the chance to study for a postgraduate qualification while spending a year on the beautiful Isle of Man, with its rich Celtic and Viking heritage.  Although one of the British Isles, the Island is not part of the UK and has its own parliament, Tynwald. 
The MA allows students to pursue a wide variety of subjects, which are taught with a combination of general study skills training, disciplinary background and Manx case studies. Students will learn about Manx history, archaeology, and culture, and will have the opportunity to learn Manx Gaelic and participate in Manx cultural events.
Please visit the Centre for Manx Studies website for more details:

Friday, January 28, 2011

Isle of Man is purrfect home for Harry Potter cat

By Visit Isle of Man on Friday, 28 January 2011 at 08:37

ONE of the stars of the Harry Potter films lives in Douglas. And it seems Pumpkin, who plays the world’s most famous moggy – Hermione’s pet cat Crookshanks – has got used to a celebrity lifestyle.

Pumpkin’s trainer and owner, Donna McCormick-Smith said since starring in the blockbusters the diva has refused to eat conventional cat food in favour of roast lamb and chicken.

And she has also developed a taste for sparkling water after a shortage of still water on set one day.

Donna, aged 30, of Victoria Road, was working as a trainer with Birds & Animals UK, which provides animals for blockbuster films, when there was a casting call for the role.

Pumpkin, a 10-year-old red Persian from a UK rescue centre for Persian cats, was chosen for her looks and her ability to work in front of the camera. Her acting skills mean she has crossed the gender divide!

Crookshanks’ starring role is in the third book and film of the series, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, released in 2004.

The tomcat is described as having a ‘grumpy and oddly squashed face’ which looked like he had ‘run headlong into a brick wall.’

Donna denied that Pumpkin, who also appeared in the fourth and fifth films, had a complex about such an unflattering description: ‘She might have done, but she doesn’t anymore.’

She said Pumpkin enjoyed life on set and even had her own dressing room, in the shape of a travel crate.
And in make up, she was happy for her fur to be back combed and furballs added.

In fact, Donna said Pumpkin’s contented purring caused problems for the sound crew.

She had a good working relationship with Emma Watson (Hermione Granger), Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) and Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley).

Donna said Emma and Pumpkin ‘got on brilliantly’.

‘The kids absolutely adored the animals,’ she said.

Pumpkin was the perfect cat for sitting nicely, such as in scenes on the Hogwarts Express train, which takes the students to school.

But two other cats were brought in for shots such as the action scenes.

Donna said it took three to four months’ training a couple of sessions a day to get Pumpkin ready for the role.

‘It’s all about finding her favourite food and hers is lamb,’ she said.

She was taught to run to her mark with the help of a treat on the end of a stick and a clicker for when she behaved.

While Pumpkin’s involvement with the $6 billion Harry Potter franchise has ended, her career in front of the camera is not over yet. Donna said she would like to do some work with Pumpkin for island film making scheme MannIN Shorts.

Pumpkin, who plays the world’s most famous moggy – Hermione’s pet cat Crookshanks off Harry Potter.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Memories of Cronk y Voddy

Life has changed a great deal in Cronk y Voddy over the years, but the community spirit remains steadfast which is reflected within the pages of ‘Memories of Cronk y Voddy’, a new book published by Lily Publications.

A small number of families farmed the area, with a great deal of the book exploring their lives and daily activities; a group of hard working, generous and self sufficient people who simply got on with their lives.

Randolph Quirk, Lord Quirk of Bloomsbury, probably the most celebrated of Cronk y Voddy’s sons has written the foreword for this book, painting an evocative picture of his own upbringing in the 1920s.

Much is written about the area including the local school, the ploughing match society, church and chapel and the infamous clubroom, but you can also read about the notoriously deep snowdrifts experienced in the locality over the last two centuries. The book also looks into the nearby areas of Little London, Lambfell and Glen Helen which all have interesting tales to tell, but it’s worth buying the book simply for the fascinating collection of photographs it carries depicting some of the many characters of the area.

Affectionately known as ‘Cronky’, by both residents and others across the Island, this valuable, historical record of Cronk y Voddy has been a labour of love from within the community and has been well worth the effort.

Priced at £15 ‘Memories of Cronk y Voddy’ is available in bookshops throughout the Island.

Valerie Caine © January 2011

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

And if you're in London...

Who Do You Think You Are? If you have ancestors from the Isle of Man, we may have the answer at Olympia Stand No 903 where brand new state of the art research facility the iMuseum is previewing at Olympia on the 25th February 2011.
One lucky visitor will win an exclusive visit to the Isle of Man, courtesy of Isle of Man Tourism with VIP access to the Manx National Heritage archive, associated collections and a personal genealogist from the Isle of Man Family History Society to research their Manx family connections!
Have you ever wanted to research your Manx family connections, but are not quite sure what steps to take? Wondered what dark and mysterious secrets lurk in your family's past? Thought you might be related to a celebrity, royalty or a great Manx Worthy? Then come along to the Isle of Man stand at ‘Who Do You Think You Are. Live!’, Europe’s largest family history research exhibition at London Olympia on 25th - 27th February 2011.
This major exhibition will be attended by representatives from Manx National Heritage, the Isle of Man Family History Society and Isle of Man Stamps and Coins who have joined forces with Isle of Man Tourism to promote the Isle of Man at the exhibition and provide great advice about getting started on your journey into Manx family history research. 
Manx National Heritage will launch an exclusive preview of the new iMuseum, the Isle of Man’s groundbreaking digital research facility, set to open in March 2011. 
Visitors to “Who do You Think you are” will be able to try out the new facility which features a fully searchable digital archive of almost 200 years of Manx Newspapers from the first ever Manx Newspaper printed in 1792 to the start of the 1960s.  Over 400,000 pages of newsprint have been scanned and digitized for the iMuseum project, with the contents broken down into articles, photos and advertisements and the text extracted, so that the entire Newspaper Archive is searchable, by keyword as well as dates. Newspapers Online is only one of many elements of the iMuseum development.  Visitors to the exhibition will also be able to see some of the many thousands of photographs, portraits and museum collections, which will be added to the iMuseum over the coming months. 
Isle of Man Stamps and Coins will showcase the world’s first ever genealogy stamps with a unique set of stamps approved by Her Majesty the Queen.  The stamps celebrate the resources available for the many people interested in uncovering more about their Manx ancestry, with the stamp content inspired loosely by the seven images of the cycle of life from birth to death. 
To complement the Isle of Man’s presence at ‘Who Do You Think You Are’, well known genealogist Dr Colin Chapman, will be giving a talk on the Isle of Man’s family history records at 4.15pm on Friday 25th February. 4.15pm. 
Volunteers from the Isle of Man Family History Society will also be on hand throughout the exhibition to help and encourage anyone interested in researching their Manx family connections.  The Isle of Man Family History Society will be positioned at stands number 32 and 33, directly adjacent to the main Isle of Man stand. 
With the popularity of family history research exploding in recent years, ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ is set to attract its biggest audience yet with up to 17,000 visitors over the three day event. 
In addition to top genealogists and researchers, a range of celebrities will add an entertaining element to the exhibition including Tony Robinson, who will look at what it was like for our ancestors in 1911, along with Monty Don and Hugh Quarshie who will also take to the stage to recount their experiences of filming the television show ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ and provide a fascinating account of their personal experiences of uncovering their own family tree.
For one lucky visitor, there will also be the opportunity to win a return trip to the Isle of Man to research their Manx family connections in the new iMuseum and a day’s services from a researcher from the Isle of Man Family History Society. 
If you want to get started on researching your Manx family tree, don’t miss the ‘Who Do You Think You Are’, Exhibition at London Olympia on 25th - 27th February 2011.
 For further details on the exhibition, visit

Laurence runs for the Keys

Our own Laurence Skelly is running for office on the island. 
As a Past President of NAMA and organizer of the San Diego Convention as well the man behind the exceptional Manx Inspirations company I'm sure he'll do well. Good luck in September, Laurence. We'll follow you here!
BUSINESSMAN Laurence Skelly has announced he will stand as an independent candidate for the constituency of Rushen in September's House of Keys general election.

Manxman Laurence, 49, runs wholesale business Manx Inspirations with his wife, Jackie, and is a partner in event management company Destination Isle of Man. The father-of-two has been heavily involved in the Rushen community since returning to the Island 12 years ago. He'd previously lived in the US for 15 years, where he ran a travel business in California.

Focusing his campaign on the key issues of the economy, housing, equal care for the elderly and more facilities and opportunities for young people, Laurence believes his business acumen and work within the community – coupled with a deep national pride –will stand him in good stead should he be successful come polling day.

He said: "I'm standing because I believe Rushen needs better representation, and the Island's interests must be protected more robustly and promoted more effectively.

"There has been much criticism of government's performance in the last few years, looking at the collapse of Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander IOM, the reciprocal health fiasco with the UK, the VAT issue and so on – and the election is the time for the public to use their vote to bring about change, if that is what they want."

During his time in California Laurence served as official representative for Isle of Man Tourism in North America for five years and was a board member on the British American Chamber of Commerce in California for three years.

He was heavily involved in the North American Manx Association, serving a two-year term as president.

Laurence was chairman of Port St Mary Regeneration Committee – now South West Regeneration Committee – and a member of the Isle of Man Chamber of Commerce and Port St Mary Business Association. He's also past-president in the Rotary Club of Rushen & Western Mann.

He added: "I've always been passionate about the Island's wellbeing and political position.

"Since returning home, our family has found an incredibly strong sense of community and pride in Rushen and it would be an honour to serve the people of the sheading in the House of Keys and Tynwald.

"My community involvement in recent years has allowed me to speak at length to many people, listening to what they want, for both Rushen and the Isle of Man.

"I've based my manifesto on my findings, as I believe that in order to serve the people, you must first listen to the people."

Among Laurence's campaigning issues within Rushen are the development of a Marine and Heritage Centre for Port St Mary, the strengthening of Port Erin as a tourist destination and retail centre, improving efficiencies by decentralising services from central government to local authorities and development of housing and recreational facilities at Ballakilley.

He said: "It is important that we maintain a truly balanced society by caring for those less fortunate, providing for the elderly and investing in youth.

"I believe this to be the Manx way of life. And if it's not, then it should be.

"I'm confident that I have the business experience and creative intelligence needed to help guide the Island through these difficult economic times.

"There are more tough decisions to be made. But with a clear vision and a strong social conscience, we can look to the future with a positive attitude."

Laurence's full manifesto can be found at

There will be updates about his campaign on social networking sites Facebook and Twitter.


Monday, January 24, 2011

2011 Celtic Society of Southern Maryland Celtic Festival

Greetings all:

As is usual for this time of year, we find ourselves with our annual Celtic Festival on the horizon:  the 2011 Celtic Festival is scheduled for April 30th.  If you know of any other Celtic-related organizations that might want to in participate this year, we'd be happy to hear from them. The same goes for past participants who may have missed hearing from us (letters and e-mails have been known to vanish into thin air; you know how it goes).

Our layout for the clans and organizations should be similar to last year's, but may undergo some changes based on the number of clans and organizations that attend, so be prepared for some possible (but mild) differences; our hope is always to, at the same time, identify the spots that didn't work as well as we planned and make adjustments. This year the spaces should remain the same size as they were in 2010.

If you will be having two persons in charge of your tent, please make sure that the second person also signs the clan/organization form, as this directly affects the Celtic Cup award. Additionally, please make sure to have your representatives sign the clan applications, as they double as our "hold harmless" forms. Also, if you have interest in purchasing advance tickets, this must be done through the CSSM website; if you have any questions about this, please contact me directly. As always, the rental of a space includes two tickets and one parking pass.

This year, please return your signed application to me by April 1. After that, I cannot guarantee you rental of a tent, table, or chairs.

As usual, we are looking for sponsors for groups to underwrite trophies and awards in the various competitions; we seek sponsors for trophies, for the dancing, clans, piping and band competitions. We have sponsors for the Celtic Cup and living history awards, and we hope others will follow their example in becoming regular event sponsors. Information on the trophies is on the application sheet.

If you have any connections to living history groups, please feel free to mention us to them. We provide a small token stipend as a "thank you;" and don't forget the 4:00 battle.

I am attaching a copy of this letter and the clan application; we will send you an electronic copy of the flyer and the program advertisement application will be sent to you as soon as it's been completed. As always, you can contact me at this e-mail address (

Please note my address and my telephone number (below). I do not have a work number as I write this, so if any organization needs to contact someone during the day, they may call Greg Davis (the Davis with the beard) at his office at 202-312-9617. He does check the audix answering machine there if you do need to leave a message. And should you think something is amiss (haven't heard from me, etc.), please e-mail or call me as soon as you can.


Geoffrey Davis, Clans Steward --
6411 Old Solomons Island Road
Tracys Landing, MD  20779
h: 301.855.5045

PS: As always, if there are any clans or organizations who you believe are not receiving this e-mail, but who would like to attend (or at least have the option), please feel free to forward this missive along, or to give me a valid e-mail address (or street address) to send the letter and application out to.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Tickethall - new restaurant at Douglas railway station

Following refurbishment, The Tickethall, managed by Steve Quirke, opened for business on Monday morning at the former Greens cafe site at Douglas railway station. 

Mr Quirke, a trained chef, moved to the island in 1992 as hotel services manager for the Steam Packet. He said since then he had been ‘quite heavily involved with the hospitality and catering scene in the island’.

He had the lease at the Manx National Heritage site The Sound Cafe in 2002. And he has helped to showcase Manx produce at a variety of events, such as the BBC Good Festival, in Birmingham.
He said he was responsible for bringing the Hairy Bikers to the island and he looked after celebrity chef Gino D’Acampo when he came to Isle of Man Food and Drink Festival, held in the Villa Marina Gardens last September.

Nigel and Nicky Kermode had run Greens – an exclusively vegetarian restaurant – for 21 years before it closed on December 23.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Isle of Man Tourism Launches New Group Travel Guide

ISLE OF MAN TOURISM has produced its first dedicated guide for coach and group organisers in conjunction with industry partners to maintain current levels and develop group visits to the Isle of Man.

The guide features over forty attractions and special activities including maps and information group organisers require to assist in planning itineraries, sample itineraries and general information.

Minister for the Department of Economic Development, Allan Bell MHK, said:
‘The UK coach market, according to a recent report from the Confederation of Passenger Transport, was worth £2.3billion in 2009 with over 7 million customers taking a coach holiday in the UK.  In the Isle of Man we had close to 340 coaches visit us in 2010 with over 11,600 customers which is worth approximately £4.5million to our economy. The groups market, of which the coach business is one element, is an important part of the visitor profile and one my Department would like to help develop in partnership with the industry.’

The Isle of Man is an ideal destination for a group visit with the number of attractions and activities available to visiting groups and some perhaps lesser known options such as a tour of the Tynwald Buildings, Wildlife and Farm tours. Isle of Man Tourism sent copies to all the organisations featured in the guide with the option for them to stock a supply for visiting group leaders.
Contact: Richard Cuthbert, Isle of Man Tourism, on +1 44 1624 686888

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Voyage of Odin’s Raven -- Remember that?

The first talk of the year organised by the Friends of Manx National Heritage charted the progress of the remarkable journey made by the replica Viking ship ‘Odin’s Raven’ during the celebrations of Millennium Year in 1979. Held within the House of Manannan this fascinating story of life on the high seas was brought to life by Nigel Wood, one of the original crew members, who gave an insight into both the selection process and the sea journey itself.

Whetting the appetite with a little history of the Viking Diaspora and why the Isle of Man became such an important settlement, Nigel revealed that originally the idea of recreating the journey was looked upon as a gimmick. The concept of Robin Bigland in 1978, he had everything in place in less than 12 months, including raising the £100,000 needed to get the project off the ground and out to sea.

Based on an original chieftain’s vessel ‘Odin’s Raven’ began to take shape, and the hunt for the Manx part of the crew was put into motion. Receiving 400 replies from eager applicants from around the world this was soon whittled down to 25 people, selected because of their skills, background and compatibility. A tough training schedule, both mentally and physically, was enforced by Shane Lucas in deliberate preparation for what was going to be a tough ordeal for the final 7 chosen for the voyage.

A mixed crew from Norway and the Isle of Man they lived together cheek by jowl in very cramped conditions, little personal space and even less privacy; the expression ‘bucket and chuck it’ self explanatory. A test of endurance in such living conditions food became very important to them as did the tot of rum administered each day.

As they began their journey of 1800 miles large crowds, together with enthusiastic Norwegian bands, gathered at the quayside to wish them well as they headed out to sea, the crew testing out an early version of GORE-TEX® during parts of their journey. Obliged to wear Viking attire from time to time the crew, armed to the teeth, malodorous and reverting to animal tendencies, met with an excited King of Norway with no visible security!

The voyage of ‘Odin’s Raven’ became a journey of personal development and achievement; interspersed with highlights and lowlights such as the unexpected arrival of a Fortnum and Mason hamper in Shetland, and the disastrous moment in the Isle of Skye when the vessel was almost lost forever. But after some urgent repair work and the salvage of valuable equipment ‘Odin’s Raven’ set sail once more and was finally welcomed into Peel by huge crowds of onlookers, escorted by ‘HMS Odin’.

Nigel punctuated his talk with videos and photographs before leading his fascinated audience to see the vessel, now housed within the ‘House of Manannan’, for an extended question and answer session.

Although this remarkable sea voyage was undertaken more than 30 years ago members of the crew still gather to reminisce, and ponder on their once in a lifetime adventure in 1979.

Valerie Caine © January 2011

Stamps Release – Isle of Man Genealogy

With the iMuseum now a step closer to opening its doors to a curious public Isle of Man Post will be issuing a set of stamps on the 18th February, 2011, dedicated to the all absorbing and fascinating topic of genealogy. A series of eight stamps charts the milestones of life through the use of public records held in the iMuseum, reflecting a selection of events between birth and death.

Isle of Man Post has worked closely with the Isle of Man Family History Society and Manx National Heritage to research key themes relevant to tracing long forgotten family history, and also features the most common surnames found on the Isle of Man Census of 1891 and the valuable work undertaken by these institutions.

The main themes running through this collection are baptisms, school days, working life, weddings, family album, emigration, memorials and family trees. Additional information included with the pack reveals useful starting points for the novice genealogist and how modern technology has enhanced the availability of important documentation.

Stalwarts of Manx genealogy, the Isle of Man Family History Society, has joined forces with Manx National Heritage to provide valuable records of monumental inscriptions taken from the Island’s churchyards which are now available in a digital format. Equally important is the recording of Island based War Memorials by Roger Christian with the backing of the Isle of Man Government’s ‘Preservation of War Memorials Committee’.

A mint set of eight stamps is available together with a presentation pack and a First Day Cover.

Valerie Caine © January 2011

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Celts in the Americas

Dear friends and colleagues :—

  Bliadhna mhath ur dhuibh!  Happy New Year to you!

  I happy to announce that I have now uploaded a provisional schedule and list of abstracts for the Celts in the Americas conference to the webpage (in the main and first file listed) at

 I hope that you are excited as I am about this milestone event in the development of Celtic Studies in North America.

 I hope that you will let others know about the conference. It's not too late yet for further paper submissions.

I expect to have registration details in March, to be available from this webpage as well, and other updates about the event.

  If you have ideas about promoting the conference, please let me know.

  Is mise le meas / Sincerely

  Michael Newton

Manx Class welcomes Manx-born Mom, Pamela Wood Rand

The Christmas class of Kiarkyl ny Gaelgey welcomed Douglaswoman Pamela Wood Rand (second from left), the mom of Kearsley Walsh (far left), who was also Manx born. Kristin Sneed, Kelly McCarthy and Illiam (Bill) Cassidy our teacher range right. Bill McCarthy took the photo. The Christmas class recapped the semester's conversational Manx and included our usual whisky tasting. To our amazement, we discovered we'd actually learned some Manx over the past months!

Friday, January 14, 2011

12th Night celebrations with the Washington Manx.

The Greater Washington Area Manx Society celebrated 12th Night in traditional style this weekend. Jim Kneale has posted a number of photos to our website at (without captions), and to the North American Manx facebook page (with captions and tags on some).

Blein Vie Noa!!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

World Manx Association Centenary

Fastyr Mie!

As the World Manx Association will be celebrating its Centenary this year, I thought I would take this opportunity to update you on the events we have in place to commemorate this milestone as well as details of the Centenary Literary/Media Competition and Centenary Book and CD, which we hope our overseas friends will participate and contribute towards.

Our main events will take place in Tynwald Week (1st - 8th July)and are outlined below:

Friday 1st July -
Welcome Reception for Homecomers and Members

Saturday 2nd July -
Annual Gathering and Dinner. Sefton Hotel, Douglas. d We are hoping to organize a link - up with other societies around the world and the award ceremony for our Centenary Literary/Media Competition will take place. (This could interest members of our overseas societies - please see further details below)

Sunday 3rd July -
Homecomers Service. The Nunnery Grounds, Douglas. The service will be take place in the Marquee, after the Governors Garden Party and will be taken by John Kennaugh, with Crosby Silver Band and local choir, Encore.

Monday 4th July -
Tour,visiting various places of historical interest associated with the WMA and Civic Reception.

(Tuesday 5th July Tynwald Day)

Wednesday 6th - Centenary Concert. Promeanade Suite, Villa Marina , Douglas.
Evening concert featuring some of the best Manx singers and the poetry of TE Brown, narrated by John Kennaugh.

Thursday 7th July - Further Tour and Civic Reception

Friday 8th July - Farewell recpetion for Homecomers and Members.

Should anyone be contemplating a trip to the Island at this time, Regency Travel have put together a complete travel package incorporating the events as above. They can be contacted at

Centenary Award:

Details of our Literary/Media Centernary Award are as follows and entries from anyone oversesas are most welcome:

The theme for the award is “Manx in the Media”.
It is open to two age groups 11-15yrs of age, and 16-25 yrs of age.

The participants can create a short film, an interview, or literature, to promote the Isle of Man, or additionally for those offshore to highlight their ancestors plight leaving the IOM and what being Manx means to them.

First and second prize in each age group. IOM & Offshore. (8 prizes in all)

First prize £150, second prize £75

Entries to be received by the WMA by May 1st 2011

We hope these Centenary Awards will be the first of what will become annual awards, which will not only be a lasting memorial to the World Manx Association but help many youngsters to develop their potential in this field.

Lastly our Centenary Book and CD still need contributions from members from other societies. We would really like to hear from anyone who could send us an account - either by CD or the written word, of how they came to emigrate, their first impressions of their new home, why they decided to emigrate, details of family members and what part of the Island their famil originally came from. We hope this will be another lasting memorial of our Centenary,

Details of all our events, souvenirs etc will shortly be on our Website.

Many thanks for taking the time to read this and may I wish you all very happy and healthy 2011.

Kind regards,

Carol Gray (Sec WMA)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Announcing the 2011 Conference of the North American Association for Celtic Language Teachers (NAACLT)

"The Isle of Man--Center of the Celtic World"

The conference will be held May 11-14, 2011 at The Manx National Heritage Center, Manx Museum, Douglas, Isle of Man, website:
WHO is invited to present? NAACLT includes but is not limited to academic professionals. People involved in Celtic language learning and teaching from every walk of life have enjoyed and benefitted from our conferences and are invited to participate, including
Community-based language teachers
Celtic language enthusiasts
Celtic language policy makers
Celtic-language musicians.
We are now accepting abstracts for twenty-minute talks in any of the following (or related) areas:

Methods, techniques, Best Practices in teaching Celtic languages
Incorporating Celtic cultures into the classroom or learning experience
Application of computer technology to Celtic language teaching or research
Pedagogical materials: what works, what doesn't
Topics in Celtic linguistics, sociolinguistics, and Second Language Acquisition (SLA)
Language policy and planning in the Celtic world
Promotion or appreciation of Celtic languages and cultures
Please send abstracts of between 200-300 words to Kevin Rottet ( by April 1, 2011.

We offer a $100 scholarship for financial assistance to partially offset the cost of attending the conference. If you are interested in presenting a paper and would benefit from this modest scholarship, simply indicate on your registration form that you would like to be considered for the scholarship.

More information about NAACLT and sample programs from previous conferences can be found on our website (

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Oie’ll Verree 2011

Traditional concerts held on the night of the Oie’ll Verree have lost favour over the years, although a number still exist in the country parishes, scattered across the calendar.

Michael Heritage Trust has kept this tradition alive in the north west of the Island and continues to fill the ‘Ebenezer Hall’, located in the village of Michael, to capacity each year with its varied assortment of entertainment.

Its provincial charm is doubtless part of its attraction as members of the audience take part in some communal hymn singing before settling down for the main part of the evening’s entertainment. It’s a trusted format that works well with a selection of entertainers of every generation providing music, dance, recitation and comedy, with Caarjyn Cooidjagh, Pam Evans, dancer Maxine Smalley from northern based group ‘Ny Fennee’, three young Manx musicians from ‘The Reeling Stones’ and a unique contribution of comedy by ‘The Deemsters’.

But its main attraction was undoubtedly the hilarious Manx dialect play ‘Yn Blaa Sooree’ (The Courtin’ Flower) acted out by the Michael Players which told the story of a special flower which blossoms once every seven years. This unique bloom holds special properties and arouses long, dormant passion in those who smell its sweet scent. This leads to all sorts of mayhem and amorous escapades, but the story ends with a curious twist which brings village life back to normal. The Michael Players also took the play on tour to Ballabeg later in the week.

The evening finished with an extensive home-made supper and the singing of ‘Arrane Oie Vie’ (Goodnight Song).

Valerie Caine © January 2011

Friday, January 7, 2011

Tynwald to consider Church rules

TYNWALD will this month be asked to approve a number of changes to Church rules.
Michael MHK David Cannan, who is chairman of the ecclesiastical committee of Tynwald, which covers matters relating to the Church of England in the Isle of Man, is seeking to extend updated rules to cover the diocese of Sodor and Man.
He will ask members to support a number of changes, contained within the committee’s latest report.
Among these are proposals to update the rules on the Church office in the Isle of Man.
One proposal is that when a bishop who is about to reitre or to move to another see, or who is unable to perform his role because of any reason, he can transfer the function to another bishop.
If he is unable to do so, the archbishop or senior bishop of the province can do so on his behalf.
Another change will see the lowering of the retiring age of a diocesan chancellor from 72 to 70, while a bishop may postpone his retirement by no more than one year, at a time up to the age of 75.
Another draft measure is to change the constitution of the Cathedral Chapter to provide for the vicar of German, instead of the bishop, to be the dean of the cathedral, ex-officio.
There is also an update on the rules concerning the relinquishment of Holy Orders.
A Church spokesman explained: ‘A UK Act of 1870 enables a priest or deacon to relinquish his orders by deed enrolled in the Central Office and recorded in the registry of the diocese where he last held office or now lives.
‘A measure of 1934 allows a former priest or deacon to petition the archbishop for reinstatement. The archbishop’s request for the vacation of the deed is to be similarly enrolled and recorded.
‘Neighter the act nor the measure extends to the Isle of Man and the effect of the relinquishment or reinstatement in Manx law is uncertain.
‘This clause provides that they shall have the same effect in the Isle of Man as in the UK and may be recorded in the Sodor and Man diocesan registry.’
If Tynwald supports the measures, they will be then passed to the Queen for Royal Assent.
Mr Cannan is joined on the ecclesiastical committee of Tynwald by Glenfaba MHK David Anderson and Onchan MHK Adrian Earnshaw.
Its job is to report to Tynwald on draft measures presented to it by the legislative commitee of the diocesan synod and also to prescribe burial fees.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Abnormal Load!

Excalibur Almaz Space Stations Traveling In Isle Of Man. The Isle of Man's Manx Radio (1/6) reports, "It's been revealed the abnormal loads being transported on the Isle of Man's roads yesterday (Wednesday) were two space stations" owned by Excalibur Almaz. "The stations will be initially stored in Jurby, but there plans for research, testing and possible launch into orbit." The article notes these "are directly related to the module design used on the International Space Station, as well as the earlier Russian Salyut and Mir space stations."

Hat tip: Brent Warner

Monday, January 3, 2011

End of an era

What a shame. The Government has closed down Green's. I wonder what they will replace it with?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Lily Neill update

Lily Neill is a big fave of the Washington Manx. On New Year's Eve she played at the free Millennium Stage concert at the Kennedy Center here in D.C. (as advertised here!)  Charles Christian was there and said it was marvellous. For those less fortunate, Jim Kneale has been doing his internet research:

Here is a link to the entire performance (57 minutes!) at the Kennedy center

She will be releasing a new album this month.  She says that it will be reflective of her live performances, including a number of the songs performed at the Kennedy center.  More info will be posted on when it becomes available

- Jim