Thursday, August 30, 2012

Manx Gaelic classes could be taught online via Skype

A scheme is being planned for an online Skype link-up to help people in their efforts to learn Manx Gaelic.  BBC
Language officers from the Isle of Man want to establish it to help people who cannot get to classes.
The move comes after a series of inquiries from speakers from as far afield as Australia, the US and Canada.
Manx language officer Adrian Cain said: "The most successful speakers are the ones who get together with others to practise and just give it a go."
He added: "That is why something like this could be really helpful.
"There are already a lot of things going on via various social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, so Skype is just another way of creating a network of Manx speakers who want to progress with their learning".
More information about learning through Skype is available from theLearn Manx website.

Nish As Rish Perform at Italian Folk Festival

Contemporary Manx folk group Nish As Rish (including local band member Ruth Keggin) was recently invited to the Italian folk festival ‘Folkermesse’ after their success at the ‘Festival Interceltique de Lorient’ in 2011, where they walked away in triumph with the Tropheé Loic Raison.

‘Folkermesse’, run by Ethnosuoni, an association which promotes and manages Italian folk groups, has been part of the European folk scene for 29 years, although the economic downturn has forced them to reduce their schedule, so ‘Nish As Rish’ were delighted to be asked to represent the British Isles at the event.

‘Nish As Rish’, a collaboration of musicians from both the Isle of Man and England, performed in the picturesque town of Casale Monferrato in the Piedmont region. Relatively untouched by tourism, the town has retained much of its individuality and as strangers to the area members of the group were looked upon with interest as they strolled about the streets before their gig.

Although scheduled to perform in the Piazza of the town, an increasing risk of rain forced organisers to relocate the performance indoors, presenting an opportunity for ‘Nish As Rish’ to go down to the original location with their instruments and musically escort members of the audience to the new venue in the fashion of the Pied Piper. However, the sky remained an unblemished corn flour blue, although with the town surrounded by Arborio rice fields the indoor location brought blessed relief from rapacious mosquitos.

Now firmly ensconced in the local town hall, ‘Nish As Rish’ played an extended session to a capacity audience who couldn’t resist the urge to get up and dance. Their debut, eponymous album was a top seller and with the aid of a family member band guitarist Dave Pearce translated their song introductions into Italian which strengthened their popularity.

Ruth commented, “The organisers of the festival were extremely welcoming and made it not just a gig, but a real Italian experience! Everyone we met was so kind, warm and friendly; from the man who gave us a bottle of home-made wine and lent us a double bass for use in the concert, to the little girl who showered us with home-made confetti after our encore.”

Valerie Caine
© August 2012

Brandon Cretu offers advice on getting to the island.

I see inquiries all the time on various internet forums and people constantly ask me in person about wanting to come visit the Isle of Man during the world renowned TT races.  Spectating the TT races is not something that can be described, it must be experienced.  Just as the racers experience riding on the greatest "track" on the planet, spectators also enjoy the best motorcycle enthusiasts atmosphere that can be found anywhere.  How many places can you literally sit a few feet away from a Superbike traveling at close to 200 mph, not to mention on public roads?!?

This page on my site has been created to help those interested in coming to spectate these races.  I am very passionate about the TT and love to help spread the word and create more awareness, not to mention more raving fans, of the TT here in the USA as well as throughout the rest of the world.

This is a bit new to me so I am going to structure it in a basic FAQ (Frequently Asked Question) format to help best answer the basic questions I get on a regular basis.  Above and beyond this FAQ section I encourage anyone with additional questions to contact me via my contact page on my website.  I will continue to update this page with new questions I receive so check back often.  If you are a racer interested in racing at the TT or Manx GP please scroll to the bottom of the page under "Racer FAQ".

If you are able to attend the TT please stop by to visit me as I hope to continue to compete their for years to come.  As always, if you are able and willing to donate to my TT racing effort please do so to help me continue to pursue the dream.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Isle of Man Aircraft Registry voted ‘best in the world’

Isle of Man Aircraft RegistryA survey of leading aviation lawyers from around the world, conducted by leading aviation publication ‘Corporate Jet Investor’, has voted the Isle of Man Aircraft Registry the best aircraft registry in the world.
Votes were cast in four categories: speed of service; customer service; value for money; and innovation. The Isle of Man Aircraft Registry appeared as one of the top three registries in all categories, coming out on top for speed of service and innovation.
The general consensus among the lawyers was that the Registry was the most user-friendly and ideal for aircraft not intended to operate commercially. This is the first ever survey to find out the views of leading business jet lawyers towards the various aircraft registries around the world.
The Isle of Man Aircraft Registry has grown substantially since it was launched in May 2007 and there are now over 500 aircraft on the register, making it the fastest growing offshore register in the world. Its client base is global and the success of the Registry means that the Isle of Man is now home to a world-class group of companies who offer support services for owners and operators of corporate and private jets.
Alex Andrews of Corporate Jet Investor said:
"The idea of the survey was to discover what aviation lawyers really think about the aircraft registries they deal with on a daily basis. The success of the Isle of Man in our survey reflects two things: the strength and customer service of the registry itself and also how good the Isle of Man’s service companies are. To accomplish this in just five years is a remarkable achievement."
The Isle of Man’s political Member with responsibility for the Aircraft Registry, Alex Downie OBE MLC commented:
"This is great news for the Registry, the local aviation services industry and for the Isle of Man as it reinforces the high status that the Island now enjoys within the aviation industry. To have become such a major global player in such a short space of time is testament to the strong relationships between the Registry and the aviation industry. The Isle of Man’s aircraft register is clearly the outstanding choice for corporate and private jet registration."
For more information about the Isle of Man's aviation sector, visit

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Isle of Man Stamps – Bee Fauna

This latest release from the Isle of Man Post Office gives us a fascinating insight into the busy world of the humble bee.

The Island attracts approximately fifteen species of bumblebee and fifty seven varieties of solitary bee which represents a thriving community on the Isle of Man, working in various locations from scenic mountainous landscapes in search of local blueberry and heather to the Island’s dramatic coastline fringe, where many bees frequent the Ayres and the soft cliffs of Ramsey Bay.

Solitary bees are less familiar to us and are so named because there is no worker caste and they refrain from working in colonies, unlike honey bees and bumblebees, although they can form large nesting aggregations. Their names are likely to reflect some aspect of their lives, such as the Bilberry Bumblebee, or the Cuckoo Bee who wastes little time building a nest and sneaks its eggs into the nests of others, where they deliberate eliminate any competition so as to covet the nest’s provisions.

In tandem with this healthy population on the Island bee keeping remains a thriving industry with one hundred beekeepers members of the Isle of Man Bee Keepers’ Federation which is affiliated to the BBKA.

And just to make this stamp collection extra special each of the delightful illustrations has been printed on honey-scented paper!

Valerie Caine
© August 2012

Finlo and the Fairy Kings

See our earlier entry on this.

This is Ruth Blindell’s first foray into the world of fiction with the Dhoon Glen on the north-east of the Island playing the central role in a truly Manx adventure. One of the author’s favourite places to visit, she has skilfully introduced the glen as a backdrop for a raft of new characters attempting to save their home from the avaricious William Pratt, with an early introduction to the ‘Keepers of the Glen’ and the prickly relationship between Smayr and Connee who rarely see eye to eye.

Using her own photographs and Katie Quine’s artwork (her niece), Ruth has combined her talents and introduced traditional music and song with a sprinkling of Manx Gaelic, and a useful glossary of Manx dialogue as an aide memoir.

Ruth’s vivid imagination has conjured up an easy-to-read story inviting the reader into an enchanting world they probably never knew existed, where Manx mythical characters join the ‘little people’ in their quest to outwit the ‘giants’ and save their beloved glen. As the story develops the reader will discover why the threatened inhabitants were eventually obliged to invade the Tynwald chamber and why twin fairies zip!

Included in the book is a map showing the location of Dhoon Glen with an invitation to explore features from the area which Ruth has incorporated into this enchanting tale.

It’s now available from many of the Island’s bookshops, Peel newsagents and a selection of Manx National Heritage outlets priced at £11.50 and also from  and Amazon .

Valerie Caine, © August 2012 (Courtesy of Manx Tails)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Cream of Manx Culture Heads for Brittany

The Lorient Inter-Celtic Festival has long been crowned the undisputed champion of the European folk scene. Attracting in excess of 700,000 visitors to the Breton sea port during a ten day feast of music, song and dance from the Celtic diaspora, the festival presents 200 events and invites 5,000 performers including many representatives from the Isle of Man.

In recent years the Manx contingent has forged even greater links with the festival and shown that it can punch above its weight by winning the celebrated Tropheé Loic Raison (for the best performing folk group) twice in the last four years. And it’s the consistently high quality of our local musicians which has led to the festival committee embracing a variety of new ideas from the Manx delegate Aalish Maddrell. This is already bearing fruit with the Isle of Man co-hosting an evening concert in the historical Eglise St Louis which will include David Kilgallon playing his own Manx organ compositions and working as a duo with one of the Island’s most talented musicians, Russell Gilmour, on trumpet. Joining them will be Ruth Keggin and Dave Pearce from Nish As Rish; winners of last year’s Tropheé Loic Raison. Ruth has also been invited to open the nightly stadium concerts with a Manx Gaelic song in her distinctive style, which is acknowledged to be a great honour.

Aalish Maddrell commented, “I feel exceptionally proud to be the Isle of Man’s delegate. Over the past few years the Island’s musicians have built up an outstanding reputation with both festival goers and organisers. In my opinion Manx performers stand out as being some of the most innovative at the festival. We may be the smallest of the Celtic nations but the Isle of Man more than holds its own on an international stage at a festival that hosts over 700,000 people”.

But this year the Island is even more determined to make its voice heard. Local duo Turrys, seminal Manx band Mactullagh Vannin and the dynamic northern based dance group Ny Fennee will all make the journey to Brittany to express the unique culture of the Isle of Man. However, all eyes will be on new trio Barrule who will be striving to win the coveted Tropheé Loic Raison during the 2012 festival, where they will also release their debut eponymous album.

It’s also a good opportunity to attract visitors to the Isle of Man with representatives from the Island also manning a pavilion, selling Manx seafood and beer and promoting the Island as a destination for cultural tourism.

Valerie Caine
© August 2012

(Courtesy of Manx Tails)