Friday, December 30, 2011

Mollag Ghennal

The mid-Christmas musical extravaganza Mollag Ghennal has now found a new home at the Masonic Hall in Douglas, after many happy years in the Garden Room at the Villa Marina, with the emphasis firmly placed on some of the Island’s most talented exponents of traditional Manx music. The annual sell out gig included King Chiaullee, Strengyn, Tom Callister, Caarjyn Cooidjagh and the Mollag Band. Additional entertainers were well-known Welsh accordionist Jamie Smith of Jamie Smith’s Mabon, Scottish harpist Rachel Hair, Island based band Bar Toads and new groups Barrule and Scammylt.

(C)Valerie Caine inc photos.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Evils of Holding ‘Ill-Veries’

 Once a popular event on the Manx calendar, the attraction of the annual Oie’ll Verree has dwindled, although its parochial charm still attracts a dedicated, but small audience to a handful which have survived across the Island, but cultural field worker Stephen Miller has unearthed some interesting historical comments about these gatherings, which were not always looked upon favourably.

Their association with the unique Manx Carval is highlighted during a meeting of the Manx Methodist Conference held at Ballakaneen, Andreas, during October 1817, when the evils of holding ‘Ill-Veries (sic) clearly became a lengthy talking point. Roundly condemned by the majority present, with the exception of two or three individuals who pleaded their case, the Oie’ll Verree was said to be contrary to the Lord’s words. They objected strongly to the singing of a Corral (sic) (Carval), twenty or thirty verses in length, with some verses making no sense at all. This would continue for several hours and according to those at the Manx Methodist Conference attract ‘the worst of characters’.

Held on the eve of Christmas Day, the Oie’ll Verree was associated with the lower classes, attracting servants and labourers who sat in the rented pews of their masters. The resident Vicar, or Rector, would leave the building as the singing commenced, some of the Carvals self-composed, with the women of the audience clutching parched peas to throw at any unfortunate singers who were felt not to be not up to scratch!

Occasionally their merriment got out of control, and in 1705 Messrs Fry and Caine were sentenced to a day’s confinement in the Crypt of St German’s Cathedral on St Patrick’s Isle. But their incarceration does provide us with possibly the earliest known date of the Oie’ll Verree, or Oie’ll Voirrey as it’s sometimes known.

The Rector of Ballaugh, Rev. Moore, also found himself the subject of discontent in 1758 when, too ill to attend to his duties with regard to the ‘Ill-Verry’ (sic) his house was surrounded by a hostile crowd and attacked with stones.

Stephen Miller describes Carval singing and the composition of such songs as ‘a remarkable insular phenomenon’, with the explorative text a body of vernacular Manx worthy of further study.

It has also become apparent during his research that originally ‘Hunt the Wren’ took place on the 25th December, but shifted to its current position on St Stephen’s Day sometime during the eighteenth century.

But a number of the older Manx people still cling to the dates of the old calendar and in some rural pockets of the Island you will find the renowned Oie’ll Verree still taking place at the beginning of January.

Valerie Caine © December 2011 (inc photos)

Hunt the Wren 2012

Dhoona Leece

Vicky Beavis

Call for government and residents ownership of ferry service to IOM

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Government control of the Manx ferry service is a demand of the Liberal Vannin faction in the new Manx government. Only people the government defines as Manx residents could buy shares, which would mean we couldn't participate over here.

THE future ownership of the Isle of Man’s ferry service is set to hit the floors of the House of Keys and Tynwald in the near future, following an announcement today by a political party.

Liberal Vannin says the Manx government should prepare an action plan in the event of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company being offered for sale in the future.

“As soon as possible, the ferry service should be owned by Manx residents,” the party said today.

LVP says that a contingency plan should include the following:-

We believe that this contingency plan should be:

• Government should form a new company with two classes of share capital. Class A would control the Articles of Association and Class B would be ordinary shares. The Articles of Association would state that only Manx residents could own shares in the company and there would be a maximum limit to the shareholding allowed. This class of shares would be retained by the Manx government.

• The assets of the Steam Packet would be purchased by government and put into this company.

• The ordinary shares would then be sold to Manx residents. 

• If implemented, this plan would prevent the Steam Packet ever again being owned by an off-Island corporate structure whose main focus is the bottom line profit.

Party leader, Peter Karran MHK, said, “One issue that the world economic crisis has highlighted is that the Island’s new government of national unity needs policies that promote more self reliance if we are to protect the social improvements that have been achieved of the last 25 years.

“The present structures of the key components of off Island transport, energy and telecommunications need close investigation to maintain a diverse economy for the Island.

“The new administration has to own up to the total mess and the fiscal madness of the previous administrations’ policies such as the User Agreement with the Steam Packet and the MEA fiasco and be brave enough to take the necessary steps to rectify the situation for future generations.”

The Steam Packet is currently owned by a consortium of banks, the principal one being Banco de Spirito de Santo, a Portuguese bank.

Shared from who own copyright.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Call from the North American Manx Museum at University of Wisconsin-Platteville

"Given that this is a national museum, it would be great if we could get donated materials from across North America.  We really need some 3D items that would help round out the museum, make a splash (if you will).  It seems to me that people would be more than willing to donate some great things to the museum for display, but they have to know that we exist. could do in getting the word out across North America would be wonderful.  An email or facebook posting might do the trick with some of the Manx organizations across the continent."

Please send items to:  The North American Manx Museum, c/o James Hibbard, University Archivist, Southwest Wisconsin Room, Karrmann Library, 1 University Plaza, Platteville, Wisconsin 53818. His email is if you want to discuss it first.

Christmas activities on the island

Cammag game at St. John's followed by some music down the pub!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Christmas message from Rushen MHK Laurence Skelly

Date Posted: 25/Dec/2011 16:30

Rushen MHK Laurence Skelly
Rushen MHK Laurence Skelly
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A CHRISTMAS message for readers from Rushen MHK Laurence Skelly:

"Firstly may I thank all the good people of Rushen for their vote and confidence at the general election.

"As stated I have fully engaged with government and have been appointed two department roles in Economic Development and Community Culture and Leisure where I believe I can contribute positively. 

"Recognising the gravity of our financial situation the work has begun in earnest and presented early difficult decisions like the loss of the low cost community halls. 

"Whilst unfortunate for Rushen and Middle the saving is significant especially when the majority of this budget was going off-Island. 

"We will revisit this option in the future and will seek an on-Island low cost alternative.
"My responsibility within Economic Development is extensive and provides opportunity to create new inward investment for the Isle of Man and shape policy on important areas like energy, employment and skills.

"I enjoy working closely with Juan Watterson and Phil Gawne and feel confident our combined influence can help with constituency matters. We have said a call to one is a call to all three! 

"Furthering regeneration projects for both Port Erin and Port St Mary are priorities for all three of us.

"With that in mind I am still progressing the marine and heritage venture with government support and potential private investor. 

"Helping our farmers and trades people is another key priority and will promote cross-department initiatives.
"The new Rushen Youth Action Committee is on Facebook and welcome comments.

"I have been invited to give the English oration at the annual Illiam Dhone commemoration on January 2 at 2pm at Hango Hill. Please come along to this important event commemorating our Manx Martyr.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

European Award for Isle of Man

Community, Culture and Leisure Minister Tim Crookall MHK
Community, Culture and Leisure Minister Tim Crookall MHK
The Island has been presented with a prestigious award for its work in sport.
The Isle of Man is the European Community of Sport for 2012.
It was announced earlier this year that the Island was to hold the honour, and Community, Culture and Leisure Minister Tim Crookall recently picked up the award at the European Parliament building in Brussels.
The award recognises the Island's work in managing and developing sport.
Mr Crookall says the rise of cycling star Mark Cavendish is testament to sports development on the Island [play clip]

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

New Head for Manx Language Unit

Local Manx speaker Rob Teare will succeed Rosemary Derbyshire as the Department of Education and Children’s Manx Language Officer after her retirement from the post at Christmas.

Mr Teare will head the Manx Language Unit, based in Peel, with a team of peripatetic teachers working with pupils from Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 5.

The Manx Language Unit is responsible for producing the resources required for teaching the Manx Language at all levels and supplying teachers to the Island’s schools. This includes a new two-year A level qualification which is now directly comparable to other language A levels, assisting university entry.

Mr Teare said, “The Manx Language Unit tries to ensure that every child on the Island who wants to learn Manx has the opportunity. I believe that every local child should be offered the chance to learn our language”.

Mr Teare, however, acknowledged that not everyone sees the opportunity to learn the Island’s native language as a good thing. “There will always be people who question the value of learning Manx and I suppose I would have been in that camp myself once upon a time. I was very fortunate to meet people like Leslie Quirk and Brian Stowell, who introduced me to the language and its fascinating and articulate way of describing the world that I otherwise never would have guessed existed. For me, as for many others, Manx has not only added another dimension to life on the Island, but has also been a springboard to wider language learning, which was a major advantage for me when working overseas”, he concluded.

But Mr Teare’s commitment to the Manx language extends far beyond the classroom. He is a member of Yn Çheshaght Ghaelgagh (Manx Language Society) and Coonseil ny Gaelgey (the regulatory body responsible for official translations into Manx) and is also involved with Caarjyn ny Gaelgey, Club Spoyrt, the Gaelic Broadcasting Committee, BlognyGaelgey, the Scottish Gaelic Learners’ Association and the North American Association of Celtic Language Teachers. In addition Mr Teare has published two academic papers on Manx and two collections of short stories in Manx, translated from Japanese and Irish.

Awarded both BA and MA degrees Mr Teare also holds a Post Graduate Diploma of Education in Gaelic from Strathclyde University. After teaching for 22 years and lecturing in a Japanese university, Mr Teare returned to the Isle of Man in 2005 to join the Manx Language Unit.

Valerie Caine
© December 2011

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Magic lantern reveals risqué Onchan

ILLUMINATING EVENING: Peter Kelly and his magic lantern, which helped the historian provide a fascinating talk to the Ladies  Committee of the Ellan Vannin Home, raising more than �600 for the charity in the process. PICTURE: Steve Woodley

ILLUMINATING EVENING: Peter Kelly MBE and his magic lantern,
which helped the historian provide a fascinating talk to the Ladies
Committee of the Ellan Vannin Home, raising more than
GBP600 for the charity in the process.

PICTURE: Steve Woodley
The magic lantern show, held in aid of the Ladies’ Committee of the Ellan Vannin Home, showed that at one time men and women on the Douglas shore had to ensure a distance of 100 yards between them when bathing. The iron pier at the bottom of Broadway was used as a boundary, with the men on one side and the women on the other.
However, the by-law that enforced this didn’t apply in Onchan, so liberal mixed bathing was de rigueur at Port Jack!
The lantern show, held at the Promenade Methodist Church in Douglas, comprised a nostalgic trip around the Isle of Man during Victorian times and then further scenes up to the early 1930s, and it raised £650 for the home.
The committee were delighted to welcome Lieutenant Governor Adam Wood and Mayor of Douglas Ritchie McNicholl and Mayoress Julie McNicholl, together with a number of residents from the home.
Ladies’ Committee secretary Anne Minay said: ‘Peter Kelly’s narrative is fascinating, humorous and informative. We were very lucky to have secured his magic lantern show for the event, especially as he only does a handful each year.
‘The money we raised will be spent on replacing the soft furnishings in the dining room.’
The Ladies’ Committee thanked all those who supported the evening and the members of the Promenade Methodist Church for their help.
The Ellan Vannin Home is a Manx-registered charity which receives no government assistance and is entirely reliant upon public subscription.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Prince of Wales to visit Isle of Man

Prince Charles will visit the Isle of Man as part of a Royal Family tour in 2012, Buckingham Palace has announced.
A series of regional visits around the British Isles have been arranged to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.
The Prince of Wales is also scheduled to visit the Channel Islands along with Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.
The central weekend for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations will be between 2 and 5 June.

During this time, according to Buckingham Palace, various activities have been arranged including The Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant, a televised BBC concert at the Palace and a service of Thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral.
In addition, a Diamond Jubilee Pageant will take place on 10, 11 and 13 May in Windsor.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Mann, Abandoned

This book dwells exclusively on the numerous abandoned properties, scattered liberally across the Isle of Man. Some lie hidden in the depths of the Manx countryside, but others frequent the growing sprawl of the urban landscape.
Photographer Hazel Walsh deliberately uses little in the way of text to illustrate her point, but using a combination of colour and black and white images, focusses our attention on the dereliction of both residential and industrial buildings. Leaving the photographs to speak for themselves allows the page turner to reflect more purposefully on the images. They’re not all pretty little ‘tholtans’ showing the shift of communities and the irresistible pull of emigration, but graphic images of neglect and heartbreak through each generation.
Every building holds onto its tantalising secrets, although some abandoned personal items reveal scattered clues to their story. Despite the inherent dangers of wandering through derelict buildings, it’s always tempting to look behind a partially open door, or glance through a broken window, but in the case of this publication all you have to do is turn over the page.
Split definitively into two sections, ‘Mann, Abandoned’ also studies the Island’s industrial dereliction. Covering areas such as mining, and tourism, together with the disused prison and hospital it reminds us that other buildings, although less pleasing to the eye, deserve recognition in their own right.
Valerie Caine
© December 2011