Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Our gift displayed at Peel Cathedral!

Dear Kelly

Hope that you and your family had a good Christmas - I thought members of the NAMA might like to see a photograph of their gift of Christmas decoration as it is displayed in the Cathedral - we don’t tend to have a Christmas tree in the Cathedral so have displayed it on the flowers in front of the altar - as you can see it matches our Christmas theme perfectly.

Wishing you and your family and friends and all members of the NAMA a blessed 2015

Kind regards


Val Garrett
Fundraising Campaign Manager
Cathedral Isle of Man
Cathedral Close
Peel, Isle of Man

T (01624) 844830 /  (07624) 316001


Mollag Ghennal Hits the Right Note!

The mighty Mollag Ghennal, organised by members of the popular Mollag Band, is guaranteed to be one of the highlights of the festive calendar and this year proved no exception.

It's a great opportunity to sample some of the best the Island has to offer on the Manx music scene, and to be at the forefront of some of the revolutionary changes within the folk genre.

With tickets rarer than hens' teeth, those lucky enough to be at the party were greeted by the St German Handbell Ringers before being led gently into the main event which was opened by a select number of singers from the Manx Gaelic choir Caarjyn Cooidjagh, who sang a selection of songs in French, English and Manx.

This was swiftly followed by Island based Scottish guitarist Malcolm Stitt and local soloist Ruth Keggin (accompanied by multi-instrumentalist David Kilgallon), who presented their own style and individuality to an appreciative audience.

With a substantial supper on the horizon, it was time to raise the volume and up the beat with well-known Manx bands Skeeal and Strengyn who were both joined on stage by several other local musicians.

But the music just kept on rolling as Manx trad power trio Barrule altered the tempo to reflect their own melodic brand, before the Mollag Band themselves took to the stage to present some of their best known songs and introduce a new one based on the poem Betsy Lee; in tribute to the Manx poet T. E. Brown. Finally new group Mec Lir soon got dancers to their feet in response to a unique fusion of Manx folk and pop music, which brought another successful evening to a storming conclusion.

Valerie Caine
© December 2014

Friday, December 26, 2014

Traditionalists Undeterred by Poor Weather on St Stephen's Day

Undeterred by poor weather, many people gathered at various venues across the Island to perform Hunt the Wren, which still forms part of the St Stephen's Day (Boxing Day) celebrations on the Isle of Man.

Singers, musicians and dancers dusted down their wren poles and braved the rain to continue this long held Manx tradition and collect money for a number of local charities.

This was followed by the annual game of Cammag, once celebrated as a widespread national sport on the Isle of Man, but nowadays only played on the old fair field at Tynwald Hill in the village of St John's. With similarities to hockey, hurling and shinty, the game is played  with a cammag (hooked stick) and a ball (crick) made with cork or wood and covered in cloth, or leather. Not a game for the faint-hearted, both sides (representing the north and south of the Island) have an unlimited number of players of both sexes and play a game of three halves, each of twenty minutes duration. The term 'cammag leg' historically described  a lame person. Despite its Island wide popularity the game lost favour with the introduction of football around the turn of the twentieth century.
Hardy players and spectators headed later for the Tynwald Inn,  to shake off the relentless rain and enjoy a lively music session with some of the Island's best known traditional musicians.

Valerie Caine
© December 2014  (inc. photos)                                                                                                                        

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Knockaloe Exhibition at the Leece Museum in Peel

With its proximity to the site of the former Knockaloe Internment Camp at Patrick, the Leece Museum in Peel is an ideal location for a temporary exhibition which seeks to bring a flavour of what it was like for the thousands of internees who were incarcerated on the site during World War I.

The Leece Museum, situated in the old courthouse on the East Quay, already has a number of selected items about this historical site on permanent display, including an assortment of intricate bone carvings sculpted by the internees.

But this has now been supplemented by the personal archive belonging to Stephen Hall, who has built up a collection of material exploring the many facets of camp life, including sport, intellectual pursuits, theatre and craftwork, as the internees made use of their time at the facility.

Situated on the first floor of the Leece Museum, there's a host of photographs, leaflets, programmes and assorted items, with an interesting map of the camp detailing just how extensive the site was in reality.

A century later, many of Stephen's artefacts provoke not only a feeling of nostalgia but a deeper realisation of what life was like for those who were forcibly removed from their homes and families, to a windswept Island in the middle of the Irish Sea.

Eventually closed in 1919, Knockaloe Internment Camp is still remembered by many people and is a subject of study by scholars both off and on the Island, despite little evidence of its existence nowadays on the site itself.

Stephen's collection is on long-term loan to the Leece Museum until May 2015.

Now on winter opening times, check their website for details; entry free, donations welcome.

Valerie Caine
© December 2014

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

UPDATE: Celtic MTL 2015 and Burns' Night

Hello to all

We are very pleased to announce that Celtic MTL 2015 is almost at full capacity! We officially only have 4 spots left for this show and we have successfully filled 2 building at Concordia university! Yes indeed this is very exciting! So if you wish to be a part of this large scale event, we are literally almost out of space and we can guarantee that they will be gone before the holidays. 

We also wanted to inform you all of our next upcoming event to be held on January 25th, 2015. We will be hosting a Robbie Burns Night in the West Island (western part of Montreal's island), at Calistoga Grill. One of our big prizes that we will be raffling off that evening will be 2 tickets return from Montreal to Dublin, Ireland thanks to our friends at Air Transat! You will find attached the poster with the details and here is the link to the Facebook event page:

This is a very important even for us and the charity that it will be supporting, the Federation of Quebec Alzheimer's Societies. We hope to see some of you there. 

On a final note, we will be sending out the allocations of your tables to you after the holidays letting you know where you will be locate and in which building for May 2015. Once again we ask all of you to share and assist in advertising for this event after the holidays. We understand that the Month of March is a very busy season for some of you, but the May event has become something more than just an event, it has become an identity of who were are and where we come from and it is very important for everybody to know that we are here. This show belongs to all of you and each and everyone of you in attendance plays a crucial role in making this something to remember and in hopes, to continue on a yearly basis. 

We at the MCS wish you all a safe and Happy holiday season and let's make 2015 a year to remember!

Merry Christmas!

The MCS team.

Société Celte de Montréal / Montreal Celtic Society
Partage du Patrimoine et de la Culture Celtique à tous, d'Unir les Communautés Celtique
Sharing Celtic Heritage & Culture with All, Uniting the Celtic Communities
Burns 2015.pdf

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Gale force winds forecast for the Irish Sea have forced the cancellation of ferries from Isle of Man to the UK.

The Isle of Man Met Office has predicted winds could reach gale force nine overnight reaching 50mph (80km/h).
The Steam Packet Company has cancelled the evening sailing between Douglas and Heysham at 19:45 (GMT) on Tuesday.
A spokesman said three services between Douglas and Heysham, scheduled for 10 December, have also been cancelled because of the weather.
They include the 02:15 GMT from Heysham to Douglas, the 08:45 return journey to Heysham and the 14:15 sailing from the Isle of Man.
A decision about the 19:45 service between Douglas and Heysham on Wednesday is expected to be made a few hours before the scheduled sailing time.
Passengers are advised to contact the Steam Packet Company for more information.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Mollag Ghennal - A Fun Night Out During the Festive Season!

The mighty Mollag Ghennal is back on the festive list of fun events with a magnificent line-up of musicians to fortify everyone between the Christmas holidays and New Year's Eve.

Mollag Band
Following the usual format, it's a musical spectacular which attracts a full house, a great atmosphere and the chance to enjoy some outstanding music from the Manx music stable.

Back at the Masonic Hall on Woodbourne Road in Douglas, ticket-holders will be greeted upon arrival by members of the St German Cathedral Handbell Ringers with their Christmas music selection, before settling down for the main event.

Ruth Keggin
There'll be many familiar names but with some new material, including The Mollag Band with samples from their new album and a debut performance of their latest song Betsy Lee; a tribute to the Manx poet T. E. Brown.

They will be joined by Annie Kissack (Musical Director of Manx Gaelic choir Caarjyn Cooidjagh) with her new quintet and fellow local soloist Ruth Keggin (who also has a new CD available) with some surprise guests.

Manx power trad trio Barrule will also be heading back to the Island, hot foot from a special concert in Belgium to commemorate World War I, singing their new song See You Again, written especially for the occasion. Their second album will be available in the New Year.

This year's Mollag Ghennal will be on Sunday 28 December starting at 7.30pm prompt. Tickets priced at £12 (including home-made supper) sell quickly and are available from Shakti Man, Celtic Gold, Thompson Travel and Peter Norris Music.

Valerie Caine
© December 2014

(Courtesy of Manx Tails)

Monday, December 8, 2014

A Year of Manx Gaelic Culture - Adrian Cain

It's a little while since I kept people up to date with what's being going on in the world of Manx Gaelic so I thought I'd wish everyone a quick Nollick Ghennal as Blein vie noa as well as provide a little update on recent events.
We had a film crew from America with us last week. They were here to produce a short documentary for about Manx and how it's a successful example of language revitalisation and, in particular, they were interested in how we use technology to promote and support the language. Check out the following short interview between myself and David Harrison, the linguist heading the team, here.  This is quite a high-profile piece and I'll keep you up-to-date with developments.
Both our video-a-day project and 1000 Manx words in a year challenge are coming to an end soon. They have been hard work but we've received some good feedback with them both. Gura mie eu. We never quite made a 1000 words but I suppose that wasn't really the point! We've still a few lessons to come in our 100 episode podcast for the year too!
Next year will hopefully see the publication of a new course: Manx for Busy People which I hope will be a good introduction to the language. We also aim to put in place over the next year or two a systematic programme for adults wishing to learn some Gaelg.  
We've recently released on our You-tube channel (now with over 500 videos) a new series called Taggloo: Conversational Manx which we believe will be a really useful tool for intermediate and advanced learners. We've a great deal more to come on the film front next year too!
We've published a new Novella in Manx this year: Slane Lhiat, Vabban which was translated by Brian Stowell from the highly successful crime book, Bye,Bye Baby by Alan Guthrie. Two new books have just been finished and should be available soon: Murder on the Orient Express translated by Joan Caine and a bilingual edition of some of the stories from the classic by Nigel Kneale: Tomato Cain and other stories.This has been supported through Island of Culture funding and the book (which if you haven't read you must) should make available to a wider audience the formative work of the author of Quatermass.

Finally, I'd just like to say that we are all very sad to hear of the passing of our board member at Culture Vannin and Knox champion, Liam O'Neill. Our thoughts are with his family.

 Nollick Ghennal from us all at Culture Vannin
Check out our Website and promotional video and remember:
Manx Culture is for life and not just for Christmas  

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Calf of Man Shearwater survey indicates population increasing

Manx shearwaters only come in to land to visit their nests at night (Photo: Manx National Heritage)

This year’s survey indicates the highest number yet of nesting shearwaters on the Calf of Man since the existence of a small colony was confirmed in 2000 by the Manx Bird Atlas. 

Two years after an intensive effort to rid the island of longtails (brown rats), this is welcome news to the Calf Shearwater Recovery Project partners and volunteers who have spent many hours tramping across the island laying and checking bait stations.

Kate Hawkins from Manx National Heritage said;
The Calf aerial view (Photo: Manx National Heritage)
“After all our hard work, it is gratifying to learn that the effort to remove longtails from the Calf appears to be having a discernible effect.”

Surveyors used standard sampling and detection techniques to find out where shearwaters were nesting and estimated that the number of occupied burrows this year was 424, an increase on the 2013 figure of 348. 

Several more years of standardised scientific survey are needed to confirm that the shearwater population is recovering.  Manx National Heritage (MNH), which owns the Calf of Man and bird observatory, points out that it is still too early to say for sure that the trend is upward.

Nor can the project team relax. Although the eradication operation went according to plan and signs of longtails ceased by early December 2012, two positive sightings have since been logged and responded to as part of a long-term biosecurity plan

Kate Hawkins emphasised;
“We must keep up our guard. It is all too easy for these rodents to find their way to the Calf, as this autumn’s discovery of a live rat at Cow Harbour shows. We ask everyone who visits the Calf, particularly boat owners, to be extra vigilant for signs of rodents and to make sure that cargo, fishing equipment etc. is checked for stowaways before setting out for the island.”

The Calf Shearwater Recovery Project was initiated in 2012 with five organisations coming together in partnership to plan and carry out the removal operation on the island. Manx National Heritage was greatly assisted by the Manx Wildlife Trust, Manx BirdLife and the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture, while the Animal and Plant Health Agency’s National Wildlife Management Centre (formerly part of the Food and Environment Research Agency) provided considerable technical and practical help and the Royal Society for the Protection of Bird (RSPB) and Manx National Heritage Trustees contributed substantial financial support.

The aim of the project was to attempt the eradication of longtails on the Calf of Man and provide a safe environment for the sustainable recovery of seabirds, most notably the Manx shearwater, a species which was first named as such from the once huge colony on the island.

Longtails (Rattus norvegicus) are thought to have first arrived on the Calf at the end of the 1700s and shearwater numbers fell away catastrophically after that until they were thought to be extinct on the island. The rodents are widely regarded as predators of ground nesting birds, their eggs and young and many island authorities around the world run campaigns to eradicate them, including most recently in Britain on St Agnes and Gugh in the Isles of Scilly. 

Kate Hawkins said;
“We’ve had a really good go at getting rid of these invasive and destructive rodents and we think that we’ve removed all or almost all of them. A monitoring and mopping up campaign is in progress and it will be some time yet before rat-free status can be announced. Maintaining vigilance and continually reviewing biosecurity measures are key to keeping longtails under control and the shearwaters safe.”

Weather permitting, there will be further monitoring work on the Calf over the winter period. The project team is looking for more volunteers to help with the monitoring tasks and would welcome anyone who is reasonably fit and able to give some time to joining the team on the Calf for about one week at a time in January and February 2015. Anyone interested should contact Manx National Heritage or the Manx Wildlife Trust for further details.

For further information, please contact Kate Hawkins on (01624) 648022 or email

Monday, December 1, 2014

Norwegian-Manx Musical Collaboration Breaks New Ground

David Kilgallon
The Norwegian-Manx Musical Collaboration is just one of the many exciting projects to emerge from the Island based organisation Culture Vannin, but with their debut performance at the Erin Arts Centre in 2013, it was soon obvious that this successful partnership had tapped into something new and exciting.

With an increasing interest in this unique alliance, this year's  sell-out concert was held at the Centenary Centre in Peel, where all of the original musicians gathered to entertain an expectant crowd with their latest material, and update them on the progress of the project.

Drawn slowly and deliberately into the music by Manx Gaelic singer Ruth Keggin, we were treated to a stunning fiddle duet by Manx musicians Tom Callister (Barrule) and David Kilgallon (Chronicles and Mec Lir) who barely drew breath as they stormed through a repertoire which left everyone drooling in admiration.
Tom Callister

But this was just the beginning.

In a departure from their last concert, a small number of traditional dancers from both countries displayed a thought-provoking selection of dances suitable for solo performers and couples.

John Kilgallon and Gráinne Joughin represented the Isle of Man with Manx dances which may already be familiar to some, but we were also introduced to a young Norwegian male dancer, Vertle Springgard, who won the audience with his breathtaking mix of traditional style, athleticism and acrobatic spontaneity.
Margit Myhr

We were given a tantalising glimpse of what the musical collaboration had to offer at the close of the first half of the concert, when the Manx trio were joined on stage by visiting singer Margit Myhr (also the dance partner of Vertle Springgard)  and fiddle player Erlend Apneseth.

Erlend Apneseth
The evening was held together by the lively banter of Tom Callister, as the second half of the programme explored the hidden depths of cultural identity through melodic fusion and the richness of language; including the beautiful sound of the Hardanger fiddle and the hauntingly delicate vocal blend of Ruth and Margit.  

Such a winning partnership brings together the two countries as never before with a clever layering of music and song using both languages in an hypnotic presentation of harmony and friendship.

Ruth Keggin
With music, song and dance workshops to be held at the Philip Christian Centre in Peel the following day, the concert was the culmination of a hectic few days introducing the music to pupils at schools throughout the Island.

But if you missed the concert there's an opportunity to glimpse what was on offer on the manxmusicanddance YouTube channel and purchase the new songs and tunes booklet, with an accompanying demo CD, from Culture Vannin priced at £7.

Valerie Caine
© December 2014

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Crucial maintenance begins at The Great Laxey Wheel

A crucial maintenance programme has begun at the world’s largest working waterwheel, The Great Laxey Wheel.

Designed by the Victorian engineer, Robert Casement, the wheel was completed in 1854 to pump water from the depths of the Laxey mines using water from Glen Mooar to power the wheel. The impressive 22m (72.5 feet) diameter structure found immediate popularity and has remained one of the Island’s most iconic and dramatic tourist attractions for over 150 years.

The famous waterwheel, Lady Isabella was last repainted between winter 2003 and spring 2004 in time for her 150thanniversary celebrations. As part of her planned cyclical maintenance programme, she has recently been clad with scaffolding in preparation for the next programme of repairs and redecoration, commencing this week and throughout the winter period.
In 2013, priority preservation work was completed on the T-Rocker, which once helped prevent flooding to the Great Laxey Mine by pumping water from the mine. Works involved strengthening the main timber beams of the T-Rocker, which are some of the last remaining original timber elements of the Great Laxey Mine.
In preparation for the next phase of works, surveys have been completed to reveal the full extent of repairs required to the historic structure. The surveys revealed that work was needed on the stone masonry on the wheel housing, together with timber repairs to both the cladding and the wheel structure.

Initial works will involve cleaning the waterwheel, followed by removal of vegetation and fungicidal treatment to both woodwork and masonry. A complex tank structure will be built below the waterwheel to prevent biocides washing into the river. Old render which has suffered decay caused by natural weathering will be replaced, and then the wheel, housing, risers and viewing platform will be re-painted. 

Edmund Southworth, Director of Manx National Heritage said:
"This major project will help insure the integrity of the Laxey Wheel as a national landmark for future generations to enjoy and demonstrates Manx National Heritage’s commitment to the ongoing preservation of the Lady Isabella as one of the Isle of Man’s most iconic historic monuments”. 

Works will be completed by a local team of contractors, employing workmen from across the Isle of Man including tradesmen resident in both Laxey Village and neighbouring Lonan.  

The wheel was constructed to the design of local engineer Robert Casement, a self-trained millwright. Most of the iron castings were made by Gelling’s Foundry in Douglas, with only the largest piece, the hub, being made off-Island at the Mersey Ironworks. The pieces were then assembled on site. As well as being a functional item, the wheel was to some extent a vanity project for the director of the mines, George Dumbell, who wanted the Lady Isabella to be seen as a symbol of his prestige. The wheel ensured the profitability of the mine for another thirty or so years, providing employment and wages for many families in Laxey and Lonan.

The preservation of the waterwheel is one of several projects currently being undertaken by Manx National Heritage with works also taking place at the Grove Museum in Ramsey to repair its 150 year old roof and the Nautical Museum in Castletown, with plans to rehouse, conserve and study the Peggy. 

Editor’s Notes
The Great Laxey Lead and Zinc mine was once the foremost metalliferous mine in the British Isles, with an output of Zinc blende that on occasion exceeded the combined total output of all other Zinc Mines in the British Isles. The mines closed in 1929, although the continued potential of the Lady Isabella as a tourist attraction was recognised by local man and entrepreneur, Edwin Kneale, who first leased then in 1937 bought it. The wheel was later acquired by Isle of Man Government and came into the care of Manx National Heritage in 1989. 

Exploring Early Celtic Art

Mayer Mirror, image courtesy of
the World Museum,
National Museums Liverpool. 
 Former British Museum curator Dr Jody Joy comes to the Isle of Man this week to tell the story of ‘Early Celtic Art’. He explores the subject from its early beginnings to its influence around the world at the Manx Museum on Friday 28th November at 7.30pm.

Dr Jody Joy says;
“Celtic art was first made around 460 BC in Northeast France and Southwest Germany and draws on artistic influences from as far afield as Greece, Egypt and even Persia. From these very small beginnings, the art then spread rapidly and was used to decorate objects from as far west as Ireland to Romania in the east and the Iberian Peninsula in the south.”

Jody will tell the story of Celtic art until it changed irrevocably with the coming of Rome and he will address questions such as who made it and what was it made for?  

Page from The Deer’s Cry by Archibald Knox.
Dr Jody Joy is now Senior Curator (Archaeology) at Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge with responsibility for British and European Archaeology. He specialises in the archaeology of northwest Europe during the first millennium BC but his research interests also include the later Bronze Age and early Roman periods. His main interests concern art and technology and he is currently involved in research projects examining the technology of Iron Age cauldrons and their role as feasting vessels and Iron Age torcs and their relationship with the human body.

The lectures are in collaboration with Celtic Style exhibition on display at the House of Manannan celebrating 150 years since the birth of internationally renowned designer Archibald Knox. The exhibition explores Celtic style from pre-history to modern day, beginning with the 2000 year old Mayer Mirror.

Jody’s lecture will explore the context of this beautifully designed mirror among other examples and the roots of this exquisite design style still used by so many modern day designers. Tickets for Early Celtic Art are £10 available from the Manx Museum Gallery Shop and A 10% discount is available to Members of the Friends of Manx National Heritage.

The following day, on Saturday 29th November, MNH curator Yvonne Creswell presents an afternoon lecture ‘Archibald Knox and The Deer’s Cry’ as part of a Manx Museum Christmas lecture series. The talk begins at 2pm. Tickets are £6 Adults, £3 Student/ Child from the Manx Museum Gallery Shop and

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Kids Takeover the Manx Museum

If you visit the Manx Museum on Friday 21 November, you’re in for a big surprise! Pupils from Year 5/6 at St Thomas’ Church of England Primary School have been trained to take over the running of the Museum from 1pm - 3pm as part of ‘Kids Takeover Day’.

They will be welcoming visitors at the Museum reception, answering enquiries, working with artefacts, monitoring the environmental conditions of the Museum’s stores, leading gallery tours and even liaising with the media to ensure the entire day is a great success. The children will also be engaging visitors with some museum theatre, performing their own First World War play ‘Our Way to Victory’ in the Museum galleries at 3pm.

‘Kids Takeover Day’ is an annual event where museums across Britain are taken over by children and teenagers. The national initiative is organised by independent charity Kids in Museums who aim to help place children and teenagers at the heart of the museums.

Year 6 pupil Frankie Cullen will be Assistant Director for part of the day, she commented:
I’m so excited about taking over the Museum!  I cannot wait to be running the Museum and giving tours in the galleries.”

Classmates Charlotte Derbyshire and Alexander Shirtliff added:
We’re all really excited about Kids Takeover Day because it will be so much fun and the Museum is full of history, it will be really cool to perform our play in the galleries as well. We’re all a bit nervous though!
All fifteen class pupils have been working with Manx National Heritage’s Community Engagement Officer, Katie King, for the past eight weeks so that they know how to undertake their job roles for the day. Katie King explained further:
We are passionate about engaging young people in the work we do at Manx National Heritage. This will be the third year we have participated in Kids Takeover Day. The pupils have had some excellent ideas for making the day exciting for visitors and for making the Museum more child-friendly in general. The MNH team have been training our new young staff to manage the gallery floors, be courteous to visitors, and to ensure the security of our artefacts. We are all looking forward to the day, and hope as many people as possible will come and enjoy the children’s hard work.”
St Thomas’ Year 5/6 class teacher Laura O’Grady went on to say:
The children are very excited and enthusiastic about the day and it will certainly be a challenging experience for them. I am hoping this opportunity will give the children a memorable experience that will develop their communication and team work skills, and give them confidence in their own abilities – it will be a lot of fun as well!”
‘Kids Takeover Day’ takes place at the Manx Museum on Friday 21 November and admission is free. To enjoy pupil led gallery tours please visit between 1pm – 2:30pm, and to see the play ‘Our Way to Victory’ please arrive at 3pm.

Monday, November 17, 2014

50 years of commercial radio - and pirates!

Caroline on the dial for Island radio fans

by Manx Radio
Caroline on the dial for Island radio fansBroadcasting history will be made this week in a unique collaboration between Manx Radio and Radio Caroline.
The pioneers of commercial radio in the British Isles both celebrate half a century on air this year.
Listeners can hear special Radio Caroline programmes each evening in place of our Greatest Hits show from 6.30pm tonight (Tuesday). 
Overnight you can listen to Car
oline's output from under the bed covers on Manx Radio AM 1368, from midnight until 6am! 
Caroline's floating base - the MV Ross Revenge - is currently anchored in the River Blackwater in Essex.  
The link-up marks the arrival of pirate station Radio Caroline North in 1964, in Ramsey Bay. Presenter Steve Silby says it's an exciting project: Clip 1

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Rare Opportunity to Hear Norwegian-Manx Music Collaboration at the Centenary Centre in Peel

Historical links between Norway and the Isle of Man have been well documented by historians and scholars for centuries, but during November there'll be an opportunity to learn more about an exciting music collaboration between the two countries; with school visits, workshops and a concert at the Centenary Centre in Peel.

This ground-breaking alliance, which is a Culture Vannin project, brings together some of the Island's best known traditional musicians (Tomas Callister, Ruth Keggin and David Kilgallon) and their two Norwegian counterparts, Erlend Apneseth and Margit Myhr, to create an inspiring and powerful performance.

The project, initiated in February 2013, aims to celebrate the shared cultural heritage of both countries in a vibrant, meaningful and creative way, with a visit by local fiddle player, Tom Callister, and Manx Gaelic singer, Ruth Keggin, to Western Norway to work with Hardanger fiddle player Erlend Apneseth and Norwegian vocalist Margit Myhr.

It was a rich and productive partnership which later shifted to the Isle of Man, culminating in a sell-out concert at the Erin Arts Centre, where they were joined by multi-instrumentalist David Kilgallon.

Following a number of positive reviews, the group headed to Brittany earlier this year to perform at the Festival Interceltique de Lorient.

Each musician and singer comes with an impressive catalogue of credentials. Erlend, who recently won the Grappa Debutante award, is one of the top young Hardanger fiddle players in Norway, and Margit, who is a multi-talented performer, also sings in her band Firil.

Closer to home, all of the Manx performers have been pushing the boundaries of traditional music in recent years and introducing local music to new audiences across the world, using a cross-section of skills and musical talent.

Hot on the heels of their sensational performance on the Isle of Man last year, Culture Vannin will be bringing the Norwegian-Manx Collaboration back together for another visit to the Island this month, including an educational tour of Manx schools, in conjunction with the Department of Education and Children.

But there's also a unique opportunity to see the group live at the Centenary Centre in Peel, where they will be joined by Manx dancers Gráinne Joughin and John Kilgallon and one of Norway's top traditional male dancers; the inspirational and dexterous Vetle Springgard.

Starting at 8.00pm on Saturday 29th November, tickets are available in advance (priced at £10) from Celtic Gold, Shakti Man, Thompson Travel and Peter Norris Music, or £12 on the door.

And for those who would like to learn a little more about Norwegian song, fiddle music and dance, there'll be a series of workshops  on the following day at the Philip Christian Centre, also in Peel. Priced at just £4 each, further information and booking advice is available from

Valerie Caine
© November 2014

Photo courtesy of Phil Kneen

(Courtesy of Manx Tails)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Another London airport added to schedule for 2015

Flybe has announced it will operate a new service between the Isle of Man's Ronaldsway airport and London Stansted in 2015.
The Exeter-based airline said it will operate "up to three times a day" from 15 March.
Flybe's chief commercial officer Paul Simmons said bolstering regional connectivity is their number one aim. 
The company also announced extra flights from Stansted to Newcastle and Newquay. 
A spokeswoman for the Isle of Man airport said it was "good news for Manx passengers".

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

At the going down of the sun, we shall remember them

Lieutenant Governor Adam WoodLieutenant Governor Adam Wood laid a wreath

More than 100 people gathered at the War Memorial in Douglas to pay their respects on Armistice Day.
A two-minute silence was observed by veterans, local dignitaries and members of the public.
In strong winds and against a backdrop of crashing waves, wreaths were laid at the foot of the memorial on Douglas promenade.
Among those to pay their respects were the Mayor of Douglas Stan Cain and Lieutenant Governor Adam Wood.
Armistice Day is observed on the 11th day of the 11th month each year to mark the anniversary of when World War One ended in 1918.
It is also used to remember all of those who have died in conflicts ever since.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the start of World War One, 70 years since the D-Day landings, and the end of the UK's combat operations in Afghanistan. 
After World War Two, memorials were adapted to honour the fallen of both World Wars, and Remembrance Sunday was established alongside Armistice Day.
From 1995, the British Legion campaigned successfully to restore the two-minute silence to 11 November as well as Remembrance Sunday.

More at the BBC Ellan Vannin

Friday, November 7, 2014

Cathedral Isle of Man - Update from Val

Dear Kelly

The months have flown since the members of the NAMA visited us at the Cathedral on 4 July and we have carried out some repairs to the building and started landscaping some of the grounds.  We have also launched a new website

I have attached an update of the work that has been undertaken and a brief note about some of the plans for the future and it would be appreciated if you could share this with your members, either on your blog, website or mailing list.

With every good wish to you all.


Cathedral Isle of Man – the Island’s Cathedral – has launched a major campaign to develop the facilities on site for use not only of the worshipping community, but for the general public and visitors to the Island.  The vision to expand the Cathedral’s offering is complex, and will require £10 million of investment:

Worship Space: Re-ordering and upgrading the Cathedral interior to create a first-class venue for civic, cultural and social events, in addition to its primary purpose as a place of worship.

Music and Education: New music facilities, including a purpose-built Song School with teaching facilities for local educational projects, in addition to a new Pipe Organ will see the great choral music tradition flourish on the Island.

Cathedral Isle of Man during the
Flower Festival, and the NAMA visit.
Visitor Experience: A series of seventeen conceptual gardens will be developed within the grounds, (12 telling the story of our Island and how Christianity has engaged with it and 5 with special themes) through visual and interactive methods.  Teaching packs will be created to support curriculum education in the Island’s schools.

The 20th century garden, currently under construction, is particularly associated with internment during World War I.  (Just outside our City was the largest internment camp in the British Isles with 24,500 ‘enemy aliens’ living on 22 acres of land).  At the center of this garden we are commissioning a bronze sculpture (costing $55,000) that commemorates two global figures, both associated with the camp and both connected with the United States.  Archibald Knox was a censor and made his reputation as a designer for Liberty of London and Josef Pilates was an internee and inventor of an exercise system which had its birth in the confines of internment.  Knox, tried to make a life for himself in the United States, but it didn’t work out and you might be aware that Brad Pitt is an avid collector of Knox’s Celtic-art-nouveau designs and his son is named after Knox.  Josef Pilates on the other hand migrated to New York in 1926 and became a United States citizen.

The 9 feet high sculptural design by Angela Patchett takes its inspiration from a Pilates movement and Archibald Knox’s Celtic-Art-Nouveau style (see picture at bottom of article).

Community Engagement: A refurbishment of the current Hall will provide community leisure facilities and will support community development through the creation of a Lychgate, opening up the Cathedral’s entrance and doubling up as the City’s bus terminus.

Endowment: A significant endowment fund will be built to ensure the Cathedral’s on-going structural health, in addition to choral musical provision for future generations.

Further details of each of the project areas can be found on the Cathedral’s new website

The Dean, the Very Revd Nigel Godfrey, and his team are delighted with progress to date, and with HRH The Princess Royal as their Patron, the Cathedral has already raised over £1 million.  This has enabled development work to begin on various areas, updates of which can be seen on the website.

The Cathedral is now looking to reach out to supporters across the world, as well as on the Isle of Man, and would welcome communication from friends in the North American Manx Association.  

The Campaign Manager Val Garrett can be contacted via or +44 (0)1624 844830 to discuss the projects and how to donate, including naming recognition for particularly generous gifts.  Those wanting to make a gift in the US can do so tax effectively through Cathedral Isle of Man’s partner Cathedral in San Diego, the details are as follows:  Cathedral Church of Saint Paul, 2728 Sixth Avenue, San Diego, CA 92103.  Contributions should be clearly designated as being for Cathedral Isle of Man.  For further information re giving via the Cathedral Church of St Paul please contact Erin Sacco Pineda ( or Christine Spalding (, 619-298-7261).