The Isle of Man’s strong identity is due in part to its independence and the fact that the Island is self-governing. It has the oldest continuous parliament in the world, Tynwald, which dates back over 1,000 years. You can tour the Tynwald building and visit Tynwald Hill – where parliament meets in the open air once a year. Fiercely proud of its diverse culture and fascinating heritage this sea-bound kingdom has a captivating story to tell, one which stretches back for thousands of years.
Legend has it that the Island’s name comes from the Celtic sea god Manannan Mac Lir who protected the land from invaders by shrouding it in a cloak of mist. It is these folklore stories, and the history that follows, which are carefully safeguarded by the Manx people to ensure the Island doesn’t lose any of its unique charm of character.
A visit to the Isle of Man will be a voyage of discovery and will present the chance to explore Celtic crosses and ancient Viking burial grounds as well as a number of heritage landmarks which tell the Story of Mann. You’ll also hear tales of giants, fairies and brownies - which were said to intervene in the lives of ordinary people – and although times have changed many of the original customs and superstitions live on. Don’t forget to say “Hello” to the fairies as you pass over Fairy Bridge!
Modern day culture is well showcased throughout the year with a packed programme of entertainment including the annual inter-Celtic festival – Yn Chruinnaght – where the native Manx Gaelic language, song and dance is celebrated.
Isle of Man Tourism
Tourists staying in Douglas should think about where they want to be. There are two sides to the hotel market. The south side is close to town, steam railway, buses and sea terminal. The north side leaves behind the noise of town and is closer to the Manx Electric Railway. From spring to early autumn the Horse Drawn Trams run along the front. This can make a big difference for those without cars, who wish to get along the 2 mile long promenade. Buses and Taxis are also available.
From a medieval castle to giant water wheel the Isle of Man has more than average tourist sites to attract, wonder and entertain.
Walk through a medieval castle in Castletown and learn how it was used for residence, defence, jail and official offices. Or try a ruined castle on the Isle of St. Patrick near Peel where tales of vikings, monks, and a ghost dog are told.
Climb the great Laxey Wheel known as 'Lady Isabella' and view the surroundings from the top of a water wheel over 70ft up. Ride on some of the oldest tram cars in the world, which meet in Laxey to carry passengers south, north and up the mountain Snaefell.
For those interested in the past way of life on the island, travel up to Cregneash and visit the village locked in time. Where the people live in thatched cottages, speak the native Manx language, and practise local trades and crafts. The Isle of Man has a wealth of history and sites to go with it. Bringing the new and old together in the 'Story of Mann'.
The island's ferry services are provided by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company who sail from Douglas to Belfast, Dublin, Heysham, Larne, Liverpool and Birkenhead several times each day.