Friday, July 29, 2016


We have finally managed to link up the main North American Manx Association website and the blog.

Please go here for all your North American Manx Association questions!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Chris Killip - Isle of Man Revisited

Currently teaching at Harvard University, internationally famous photographer, Chris Killip, recently returned to the Isle of Man for the opening of a new exhibition of his work at the Manx Museum, and to present a sell out talk about his life and work.
His seminal work The Isle of Man: A Book About the Manx, published in 1980, captured a view of Manx life which was soon to disappear, focusing on a rural community through the lens of a plate camera, and the stark black and white images, with which Chris Killip made an indelible mark in the photographic world.
Born in 1946, whilst his father was landlord of the Highlander Inn at Greeba, Killip freely admits that academia was not for him, but upon moving to Peel, after his father became landlord of the White House, he felt that the town moulded him. He speaks lovingly of his childhood and his fondness for the fishing port.
Having worked briefly at Moore's Kipper Yard and in the Island's hotel industry, Killip travelled to London in order to pursue a career in photography, inspired by an image taken by Henri Cartier-Bresson and bolstered by his earnings as a beach photographer.
He finally secured a job as an assistant in the Chelsea studio of Adrian Flowers (one of the most successful advertising photographers of the day), but it was a visit to the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1969 that proved to be Killip's Damascene moment.
Returning to the Isle of Man in that same year, Killip worked in his father's pub at night and photographed during the day; developing his work in his mother's walk-in linen cupboard. Described elsewhere as 'a dour, unflashy exploration of the photographer's cultural roots', it was this work which became The Isle of Man: A Book About the Manx
During 1975 Killip relocated to England, where his revealing images of the austerity riven north east resulted in the publication of In Flagrante and the Cartier-Bresson Award in 1989.
Later, he was commissioned to photograph the workforce of the Pirelli factory in Derbyshire, before being head-hunted for his role at Harvard University. But for the people of the Isle of Man, his most poignant work is likely to be his initial foray into publishing.
Killip set aside those images for thirty years, but recently re-evaluated them, culminating in the current exhibition and his recent publication Isle of Man Revisited.
Although a number of photographs have been changed and others added, it's clear that Killip has re-awakened a host of memories. They convey many things about the hard-working, rural Manx people of that time - poverty, simplicity, acceptance and, for some, contentment.
Killip (who now lives in the US) has moved on, but so have the people of the Isle of Man, as they strive to balance an older way of life with the influence of a contemporary world.
His exhibition at the Manx Museum offers a welcome opportunity to examine his work on a more personal, emotional level and can be viewed until the 30 July, 2016.
Killip's book, Isle of Man Revisited, is available from the Manx Museum shop and various Island bookshops priced at £40.
Valerie Caine
© July 2016
(Courtesy of Manx Tails)

Friday, July 22, 2016

Rushen Heritage Trust Summer Exhibition

 A recent exhibition organised by members of Rushen Heritage Trust, focusing on the hey-day of tourism in the south of the Island, attracted a large number of visitors to Port Erin; many of whom reminisced about those halcyon days.

Situated in St Catherine's Church Hall, a stone's throw from Port Erin Bay, the organisation's volunteers had brought together a wealth of information and memories describing how visitors entertained themselves in Port Erin, Port St Mary and beyond.

The main thrust of what was on offer revolved around an extensive array of outdoor events, which afforded visitors a range of activities to keep them rooted in the south of the Island.

These were simpler, less complicated times, when they were more inclined to relax in a deckchair on the beach, or challenge a member of the family to a leisurely game of 'pitch and putt'.

Paddling pools and Beach Missions kept the younger generation busy, whilst their elders may be more inclined towards a game of bowls, or a round of golf.

Boating, fishing, bird watching (the feathered variety) and cycling were also great favourites, along with special excursions to the Calf of Man and exciting coach trips to other Island destinations.

The once popular Traie Meanagh open-air baths, situated in what was advertised as one of the sunniest and most sheltered creeks in Port Erin Bay, attracted scores of spectators to watch talented divers perform at the sea water pool.

Both Port Erin and Port St Mary are also remembered for their selection of hotels such as The Belle Vue and the Balqueen, amongst others, and a range of eateries to satisfy hungry visitors; the most well known probably the distinctive Collinson's Cafe, now in private ownership.

Chapel Bay, Happy Valley and Port St Mary Town Hall also figured in the exhibition along with the picturesque Breagle Glen and Bradda Glen.

Valerie Caine
© July 2016

(Courtesy of the Southern Chronicle)

Monday, July 11, 2016

Strongest Ever Line-up for Island's Annual Celtic Festival!

With a strong focus on top quality Celtic music, Peel’s Centenary Centre will be the hub this July for the Island's biggest Celtic festival Yn Chruinnaght (The Gathering); celebrating everything Celtic from music and dance to language and crafts.

The festival programme includes a diverse range of entertainment, including mellow singer-songwriters and fast and fiery dance tunes, with energy, attitude and talent from Dublin’s finest folk miscreants Lynched, Welsh superstars Calan, exceptional Cornish singer-songwriter Kezia and Brittany’s delightful An Tri DipoP.

But in addition to these visiting acts organisers will also welcome an all-important, über-talented line-up of performers from the Manx music and dance scene, including internationally acclaimed Manx singers Christine Collister and Ruth Keggin.

Committed to ensuring that the next generation is fully connected to the Island's rich Celtic heritage, Yn Chruinnaght has teamed up with Sure to provide two mid-festival, sell-out, school concerts in the Centenary Centre. Children are, however, welcome throughout the festival, especially during the popular ceili and the many outdoor events. New for this year will be free sessions suitable for pre-school children and their parents, as well as an after-school ceili for those of primary school age.

Now that the event is firmly based in Peel,  talented Manx artist and illustrator, Alice Quayle, has been commissioned to develop a festival design which celebrates a number of key points related to the town. Alice commented, "The unique selling point of Yn Chruinnaght is that it’s now based in Peel…this means that if you visit you don’t just get music, there’s the seaside, castle, ice cream, kippers, seals, narrow winding streets, pubs, etc. – a whole seaside experience!"

You will be able to see some of Alice's work when she joins other gifted Manx artists and producers for an Artisan Craft Fair in the Corrin Hall, where you can also learn the art of Pictish ribbon interlace and key pattern design in two workshops fronted by Greg Joughin. Advance booking for the workshops is essential – email

And in a ground-breaking innovation this summer, Yn Chruinnaght can be heard on Manx Radio’s AM service on Saturday 16 July for a unique mix of music and discussion, with a refreshing Celtic twist.

But the festival will also feature the usual formal and informal performances (both indoors and outdoors) from the Island’s many talented musicians, singers and dancers including Perree Bane, Ny Fennee and Birlinn Jiarg; together with the current Manx bard Stacey Astill.

Yn Chruinnaght is a not for profit event, supported by Culture Vannin, the Isle of  Man Arts Council, Sure, Mannin Group, Paradise and Gell, Conister Bank and Shoprite.

Tickets available now (including money saving Gig Passes) both online and at the usual Centenary Centre outlets.

For further details visit or phone 302200.

Valerie Caine
© July 2016

(Courtesy of Manx Tails)

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Recalling Eamon de Valera's Visit to the Isle of Man

As commemorations for the centenary of the Easter Rising continue apace in the Irish Republic, it's an appropriate time to reflect upon the Island's links with one of the most important men of the insurrection, Éamon de Valera.

Although he had never visited the Isle of Man, Éamon de Valera was approached in 1938 by his honour Deemster Farrant, Mrs K. Kelly and Miss Mona Douglas, together with representatives of other Celtic nations, on the question of whether financial assistance might be forthcoming from the Irish government in relation to the furtherance of Celtic culture.

But in 1947 Éamon de Valera did make a brief, informal visit to these Island shores as part of a short cruise on the former Royal Navy fisheries protection vessel Macha which was on sea trials, taking in the Western Isles and the Outer Hebrides.

Skippered by Captain F. M. White, the vessel drew alongside the Victoria Pier in Douglas, in glorious sunshine, to be met by the Lieutenant Governor Sir Geoffrey and Lady Bromet, Captain J. M. Cain ADC, the Mayor of Douglas and other dignitaries. However, his visit seemingly aroused little interest amongst the thousands of holiday makers, who were more intent, perhaps, on enjoying the summer weather.

Accompanied by his son, Rúaidhrí, and officials, Éamon de Valera and his party made a courtesy visit to Douglas Town Hall, before heading to Government House for lunch. Afterwards, they toured the Island by car, visiting places of interest and having tea at the Manx Museum. He also attended St Mary's Roman Catholic Church in Douglas before his departure.

Although brief, Éamon de Valera's visit proved to be fortuitous for the Isle of Man, securing a vital link between the few remaining Manx Gaelic speakers and revivalists of recent times.

Stopping off at Harry Kelly's cottage in Cregneash, both Éamon de Valera and the celebrated Manx speaker, Ned Maddrell, spoke together in their native tongue without difficulty. This prompted an offer to send the Irish Folklore Commission's newly acquired and fully equipped recording van to the Island, so as to record the last native speakers of Manx Gaelic.

During the following year, Irish folk collector, Kevin Danaher, arrived in Douglas, after an adventurous journey on a cattle boat from Dublin, to begin his quest; although not before his van was thoroughly hosed down at the Manx Museum.

But another, more intriguing story, linking Éamon de Valera to the Isle of Man involves the Island's cultural champion, Mona Douglas, who was staying in the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin during the War of Independence. The story recounted how a party of Black and Tans, searching for Éamon de Valera, raided the hotel, but were apparently unable to locate their prey, as he was safely hidden in a wardrobe in Mona's room!

Valerie Caine
© June 2016

(Courtesy of Manx Tails)

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Manx National Heritage Plans New Military History Gallery

Manx National Heritage, the national heritage agency for the Isle of Man, is in the early stages of planning a new gallery at the Manx Museum, examining the role armed conflict has played in the history of the Island and the response of Manx people to it. 
The gallery will build upon the success of 2014’s temporary exhibition ‘This Terrible Ordeal’, which covered all aspects of the First World War, and aims to examine what armed service and conflict has meant for Manx people from the 1700s to the present day.  
In preparation for planning the new gallery, curators from Manx National Heritage would like to hear from people on the Isle of Man who have been affected by armed conflict in recent years.
Matthew Richardson, Manx National Heritage Curator of Social History commented:
“We are seeking to examine all aspects of warfare and military service in the past 250 years, including those who have gone willingly or unwillingly to war, those who have been bystanders, and indeed those who have opposed conflict.  Our collections are strong in terms of the years up to the Second World War, but there are always new stories to tell. 
We are especially interested in hearing from Manx people who served in Korea, the Falklands, Northern Ireland, the Gulf or Afghanistan, and who may have memories or memorabilia which they wish to share with a wider audience. We would also be interested to hear from those who have been affected by conflict in other ways, or who have protested against it”.
Through the support of its Friends organisation, Manx National Heritage was recently able to acquire the medal awarded to Trafalgar hero John Cowle, who lost his arm in the famous naval battle in 1805. Five such medals were awarded to Manx sailors, who played an important part in the battle, but Cowle’s is the only one now known to survive.
Matthew continued:
“John Cowle’s story will figure prominently in the new gallery. Manx seafarers were greatly prized by the Royal Navy, and many were swept up by the infamous press gangs. John Cowle suffered what we would term today a life-changing injury, but he overcame this, and lived a successful life for many years afterwards. Injury and disability will be one of the themes running throughout each era we cover”.
One of the most poignant items to be displayed in the new gallery however will undoubtedly be the simple wooden cross from the battlefield grave of Private Thomas Corlett, who was killed in action near the Belgian city of Ypres 1917.
If you have a story to tell or an object you would like to see on display, contact Matthew Richardson at the Manx Museum on 01624 648053 or email
Image caption:
Medal awarded to Trafalgar hero John Cowle (Images 2016-00060Medal003 and 005 – medal front and reverse)
Manx flag from the Gulf War – an example of artefacts of interest from recent conflict
For further information, please contact:
Lynsey Clague
Communications Manager
Manx National Heritage, Eiraght Ashoonagh Vannin
Manx Museum, Douglas, Isle of Man, IM1 3LY
Telephone: +44 (0) 1624 648032

Monday, June 27, 2016

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Exhibition Highlights History of St Patrick's Church Jurby

 With the imminent handover of St Patrick's Church, Jurby, to The Friends of Jurby Church, a recent exhibition at the venue highlighted the ecclesiastical building's long and varied history.

A prominent feature of the northern plain, the building is an important aspect of parish life, which is reflected in the work done by Sandra Kerrison for the publication Isle of Man History at Jurby Church.

As well as raising funds for The Friends of Jurby Church, this well presented booklet provides an informative overview of both the building and the surrounding area; leading to a greater understanding of both the landscape and its people.

The exhibition itself explored topics in more detail, with an opportunity to learn more about subjects such as local industry, Norse influence in the area, early Christianity, details of men from the parish who fought in both World Wars and the role of the church itself in the neighbourhood.

The building will now be centred upon a new community based initiative, focusing on exhibitions, concerts, family history and realising its potential as a tourist attraction, but retaining an ecclesiastical link with occasional services, weddings and funerals.
If you would like further information about joining the Friends of Jurby Church, please contact Sandra Kerrison:

Post: Ballacrye Farm, Sandygate, Jurby IM7 3BS
In Person: Leave details in the folder on the table at the church

Valerie Caine
© June 2016

(Courtesy of the North Western Chronicle)


Friday, June 24, 2016

Ruth Keggin to Launch New Album

Manx Gaelic vocalist, Ruth Keggin, will be sharing her success in the music industry with the launch of her second album, Turrys (Journey) as part of two concerts this weekend.

Following on from her critically acclaimed debut, solo album Sheear (Westward) in 2014, Ruth has performed live sessions on both BBC Radio 3 and BBC Radio Scotland, as well as at the British Museum in London and at high profile festivals such as Glasgow based Celtic Connections and the European favourite, Festival Interceltique de Lorient in Brittany.

Together with her band, Ruth has also performed in joint concerts with major players in the folk world, including Scottish Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis, Irish vocalist Mary Black and the band Dàimh.

Ruth will be marking the launch of her latest album with two concerts, initially at Noa Bakehouse on the 24 June, followed by a second at the Centenary Centre in Peel on the 25 June; both starting at 8.00pm. Children are welcome at both concerts, but strict licensing laws prohibit them from Noa Bakehouse after 9.00pm.

As well as Ruth Keggin and her full band, support will be provided by talented, local fiddle player, Isla Callister (who will shortly be relocating to Glasgow where she will study traditional music at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland), ubiquitous multi-instrumentalist David Kilgallon and expressive sean-nós singer and musician Eoghan Ó Ceannabháin, who also features in Ruth's own band.

The live studio recording of her current album highlights an eclectic mix of traditional, contemporary and original songs and melodies, arranged in a fresh and imaginative way; including a mixture of vocals, flutes, guitar, double bass and concertina. It can be pre-ordered either through Ruth's dedicated website, or by using iTunes.

Tickets for the concerts can be purchased in advance at £8, again from Ruth's website, Celtic Gold, Shakti Man, Peter Norris and Thompson Travel, or £10 on the door. Tickets for the first gig only (in Douglas) will also be available from Noa Bakehouse.

Valerie Caine
© June 2016

(Courtesy of Manx Tails)

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Convention Day! Here's the 53rd NAMA Convention Schedule 2016

See you in Annapolis!

Thursday 23rd June 2016:
1pm: NAMA Convention Registration desk opens. Failt Erriu! Welcome!
2pm - 5pm: Board Meeting in Galway B Meeting Room (Board Only)

3pm: O'Callaghan Hotel room check-in begins
Evening: Informal dinner and fellowship in the hotel pub or nearby restaurants. An impromptu musical event in the O’Callaghan’s bar is anticipated!

Friday 24th June 2016:
10:45 am - 1:00 pm: Check-in for optional Woodwind Schooner cruise along dock at Annapolis Waterfront Hotel, 80 Compromise Street at right side of Spa Creek (Ego Alley).  Allow 17-minutes walking time.  Talk to NAMA check-in staff about taking our bus. Light snacks and full bar service available on board. Collect your ticket at check-in.
12:15 - 2 pm: Check in for optional Scenic Severn River cruise at Susan Campbell Park at the Annapolis City Dock, 1 Dock St. at left side of Spa Creek (Ego Alley).  Allow 17-minutes walking time.  Talk to NAMA check-in staff about taking our bus. Light snacks and full bar service available on board. Collect your ticket at check-in.
Lunch: Suggested get-together at Pusser's Caribbean Grille, the Marriott Hotel, 80 Compromise Street. That’s along the dock at the right side of the “Ego Alley” inlet. (Unhosted)
Afternoon on your own to explore the waterfront and historical areas of Annapolis
7:30 pm Buffet Dinner and General Meeting at O'Callaghan Annapolis Hotel in the Galway A & B rooms. The Convention photo will be taken during this event.

Saturday 25th June 2016:
10-12: Optional Historical Tour of Naval Academy starting at Visitor Center, 52 King George St.  Allow 18-minutes walking time and 15-minutes security screening. NOTE: To enter the base you will need a valid photo ID. A state-issued driver’s license works unless you are from Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri or Washington State, in which case bring a passport, or your DoD ID, or the Minnesota REAL ID-compliant driver’s license.
12.00: Optional lunch at Naval Academy’s Drydock Restaurant.
1:00 to 5.00pm: Manx Workshops at O'Callaghan Hotel Galway A and B Meeting Room, See page ? for details
6:30 pm  Presidential Dinner and Awards at The O'Callaghan Annapolis Hotel in the Galway A & B rooms.
The invocation and a remembrance of members passed will be given by our Chaplain, the Rev. Canon Stephen Schaitberger before the meal.
Guest talk: Dr. Ellen Lawler will introduce us to 18th-century Manx emigrant, Henry Callister, an important colonial naturalist who settled on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
North American Manx Association Youth Award: The Dinner will include the 2016 North American Manx Association Youth Award presented on behalf of the Isle of Man Department of Education to Nicole Wozny for her contribution to the body of Manx history encapsulated in our motto “To Preserve "Whate'er is left to us of ancient heritage." Nicole projected an historic collection of Magic Lantern glass slides dating back to Victorian times and photographed them for posterity. The collection was donated by Myrra Johnson, in memory of her father, Walter J. Stevenson, to the Manx Museum during the 2014 Convention. A letter from Myrra will be read aloud.
The Presentation of the slate of 2016-2018 North American Manx Association Officers will occur during dinner.
Honored Guests at our Convention Dinner include:
Dr. Ellen Lawler, Guest Speaker, Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Salisbury University, Maryland.
Leslie Hanson, President of the World Manx Association
and Honorary Vice-President of the North American Manx Association

Sunday 26th June 2016:
Morning: Public worship services for Catholics and Protestants acknowledging visitors from the North American Manx Association will be held at the United States Naval Academy Main Chapel at 9.30am and 11.00am respectively.  Enter at Gate 3 at Maryland and Hanover Street.  Allow 17 minutes to walk, and 15 minutes for security screening.  Bring compliant photo ID or passport.  Other church service details are included in the program.
RAFFLES: In recognition of our geographic catchment area, the Greater Washington Area Manx Society has put together three baskets celebrating the cultures of Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. To remember our heritage there is also a Manx raffle basket. The raffle will be drawn during our Saturday Dinner. Tickets will be available from Check-in and throughout the event. $5 per ticket or five for $20.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


Zoe is a seamstress and avid craft maker and enjoys working with natural products such as sheepskin and wool. She has been producing homemade craft products and wool garments for a number of years.
Originally from Liverpool she moved to the Island 5 years ago and together with her husband Dave they run a small but successful cleaning business; supplying cleaning services to Self Catering Tourist Cottages and small businesses, as well as some private residences.
They make a perfect team - experienced in managing their own business and finances, and enthusiastic and determined to make their love of wool into a successful cottage business.  
Their long term goal is to have a range of locally produced products sourced from Manx Loaghtan farmers including fleece - bags, cushions and accessories.
Additionally they hope to capitalise on the association with Gansey Bay, and the historic local fishing industry by producing a range of Gansey sweaters knitted to traditional designs researched in the Manx archives.
Where possible, all fleeces and skins will be sourced from locally produced animals providing a much needed alternative source of revenue for local producers. 
They believe their unique products will additionally help publicise the quirkiness, history and beauty of their adopted Island home.

The Manx Loaghtan is a breed of sheep native to the Isle of Man. It is a small sheep, with no wool on their dark brown faces and legs. The sheep have dark brown wool and usually four or occasionally six horns with short tails and are fine boned.  The name Loaghtan is sometimes spelled as Loaghtyn or Loghtan .    The word Loaghtan comes from the Manx word  ( lugh dhoan)  which means mouse-brown and describes the colour of the sheep. 
The Manx Loaghtan is one of the Northern European short-tailed sheep breeds and descends from the primitive sheep once found throughout  Scotland, the Hebrides and Shetland Islands.  
This breed is primarily raised for its meat, which some consider a delicacy. The meat has recently received EU recognition and protection under the Protected Designation of Origin scheme, which requires products to originate in a specific region.  The Loaghtan sheep are slow to grow taking 15 to 18 month to mature before being sent to market  which gives the animal a bit more of a life where most sheep only have about 6 months  before they go to market.  The meat has a very unique and surprisingly intense flavour, low in cholesterol and low in fat only 5% compared to 27% in the modern hybrid lamb.   The breed is listed in the Art of taste, an international catalogue of endangered Heritage foods that the global Slow foods movement maintains and it has also now joined foods such as Champagne and Parma Ham.
The wool can be made into beautiful garments. Craft spinners and weavers like the wool for its softness and rich brown colour. The crafters use the un-dyed material to produce woollens and tweeds.  The Loaghtan's wool has a high coating of lanolin wax, also known as wool wax or wool grease. Warm weather makes the lanolin viscous, which aids shearing.  Some specialty soap producers also use the lanolin as an ingredient in a mild soap.
The wool is much sought after as the fleeces are soft, close textured and lustrous, heavily oiled and excellent for hand spinning. The staple varies between 70mm to 100mm. When spun is naturally a dark to light toffee colour. Once knitted it is fine enough to be comfortably worn next to the skin yet robust enough to be used in outerwear.
The sheep skin are a lovely toffee or tan colour which can be made into beautiful items like Cushion, baby booties, Rugs or even the sheepskin as it is. The fleece next to the skin is a dark tan or brown but the top bleaches in the sun

Tel 011 441624 824949       

The Manx Loaghtan sheep is still one of the rarest breeds of sheep in the British Isles.

These  Manx  Loaghtan  sheepskin  products  come  from  pure  bred  sheep , reared  by  members  of   the  Manx  Loaghtan  Sheep  Breed  Society  on  the  Isle  of  Man

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

World Bonnag Championsips 2016 - the Results!

There were some new faces at this year's World Bonnag Championships, held in St James' Church in Dalby; namely compére Peter Quayle and judges Mona Kerruish and Jill Cain, who had the unenviable task of judging more than fifty bonnags.

With barely room in the audience to swing a carton of buttermilk, talented bakers had the opportunity to test their skills on this simple, un-yeasted bread, which once caught the attention of the well known British cookery writer Elizabeth David.

Whilst judging got under way, entertainment was provided by the Southern Belles (who sang a selection of songs from a number of decades) and later by vocalist Terry Qualtrough.

Having tucked into a traditional Manx supper, members of the audience were invited to bid for one of the many competition bonnags.

Cheques were presented to last year's designated charities and introductions made by this year's chosen charities - Craig's Heartstrong Foundation and Excellent Development, a not-for-profit organisation supporting rural, dry land communities.

Shoprite kindly sponsored the many classes on offer, which included a new category for those specialising in gluten free baking, and a class specifically for catering establishments, so as to encourage sales of a true Manx bonnag in the public arena.

All those taking part in the competition received a complimentary bag of soda bread flour courtesy of Laxey Glen Flour Mill.

Women: Margy Killey
Men: AnthonyQuirk
Children: M.Keig (also the overall winner of the Isle of Man Creamery Buttermilk Cup)
Gluten Free: GillQualtrough
Commercial:  John Olerenshaw ( Greens - St John's))

Valerie Caine
© June 2016

(Courtesy of the North Western Chronicle)

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Barrule Set Out for North American Tour

As worldwide recognition of Manx traditional music continues to grow, local group Barrule will embark on the band's first tour of North America.

This exciting opportunity arose when the all-male trio played at a showcase festival in Montreal called La Grande Rencontre, after establishing contact with festival organiser, Gilles Garand, at the world music expo WOMEX three years ago.

Members of Barrule performed their powerful sets during two main concerts at the event, but after their first presentation it soon became apparent that they had attracted the attention of scouting agents from both the US and Canada.

This successful meeting secured a series of tours across North America, beginning this month with a demanding schedule of events along the east coast, participating at festivals in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine and Altamont. After which members of Barrule will be heading for Iqaluit, in Nunavut, one of the northern territories of Canada, located on Baffin Island.

After a brief respite, band members will be heading across the Atlantic again in August for the renowned Milwaukee Irish Festival, before returning for their last visit of the year during the following month, for a further selection of festivals, including the Celtic Classic in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

All of the festival dates for their forthcoming tours of the US can be found on the band's website.

Valerie Caine
© June 2016

(Courtesy of Manx Tails)

Saturday, June 4, 2016

2016 Convention - Tour of Annapolis Naval Academy - Security

Coming to the Convention from Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri or Washington State? Remember to bring your passport, DoD ID, or Minnesota's REAL ID-compliant drivers's license. Other states and foreign nationals will need either a state-issued ID (driver's license) or a passport to gain admittance to the U.S. Naval Academy.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Tallis Consort Spring Concert in Ramsey

The first of their two spring concerts was held in St Paul's Church in Ramsey, where an attentive audience enjoyed an extensive programme involving a range of choral pieces.

Members of the acapella choir were challenged by a diverse collection of work, created by a wide selection of composers from the fifteenth to the twentieth century.

By concentrating on such a variety of early music, Tallis Consort brought a wealth of rich resource to its Island audiences through their occasional concerts at selected venues.

Composers ranged from (amongst others) Rachmaninov, Thomas Tallis, Jacques Arcadelt and Giovanni Pergolesi.

The first half of the concert was brought to a close by the performance of Rejoice in the Lamb, a striking, but lengthy composition, by the contemporary composer Benjamin Britten; based on the poem Jubilate Agno by Christopher Smart.

Meanwhile, Jack Oades, the current Organ Scholar at St German's Cathedral, made his own contribution to the evening, utilising his talents as a composer, choir member, organist and as joint Musical Director.

He will be leaving the Island later in the summer, however, to take the position of Organ Scholar at Croydon Minster.

(Photo courtesy of Tallis Consort)

(Courtesy of the North Western Chronicle)

Valerie Caine
© May 2016

Friday, May 27, 2016

Support the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway and Help Secure its Future

With the future of the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway in jeopardy earlier this year, after Douglas Borough Council announced that they would no longer operate the service, Isle of Man Transport has secured a license to run the world famous heritage system for this season.

The shock announcement by Douglas Borough Council divided supporters and critics, but after much discussion behind the scenes by a number of influential people, the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway has been given a reprieve for this year. Its long term future, however, still hangs in the balance, with public support central to its continuation, notwithstanding the prospective re-modelling of Douglas promenade.

Three local companies, Okell's, Conister Bank and Athol Garage, have pledged their support by advertising on the trams themselves, with local radio station 3FM and Island photographer, David Lloyd-Jones, supporting the cost of printing the timetable and supply of photography respectively.

Other organisations interested in offering support by advertising on this historic transport system should contact Daphne Caine, by phoning (01624) 694322 or emailing

The Douglas Bay Horse Tramway was built by entrepreneur Thomas Lightfoot in 1876, but was purchased by the Douglas and Laxey Coast Electric Tramway (now the MER) in 1894. Douglas Corporation (the forerunner of Douglas Borough Council) subsequently took over the service in 1900, commencing operation two years later.

Full details of fares (including season tickets) and timetables, available from the Isle of Man Transport website, or at both the Welcome Centre in the Sea Terminal, or Derby Castle terminus.

Further to the long term future of the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway, online petitions (both Island and off-Island)  have been created by the Manx Electric Railway Society to garner public support for their retention (see Links at

Valerie Caine
© May 2016