Fairy Bridge (Isle of Man)
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Fairy Bridge may refer to several locations on the Isle of Man.
A superstition is to greet the fairies (an English term for the Mooinjer Veggey; never called fairies or ferrish by the Manx and not of similar disposition to the English fairies) when crossing the fairy bridge; it is considered unlucky not to greet them.
From the 1950s it was reportedly the custom to advise a visitor of the myth on the journey south from Douglas or North from the Airport. The timing the story was such that one was required to say "Good morning Fairies!" just as the teller and his guest(s) began crossing the Fairy Bridge. This would subsequently be repeated by the same or other tellers, leaving visitors perplexed as to the tellers' beliefs.
Like many local superstitions on the Isle of Man, the Fairy Bridge myth is changing with the influx of new residents. It has always been a whimsical practice, never taken too seriously by visitors, despite food writer A.A. Gill's repetition in London newspaper "The Times" of an urban myth that taxi drivers will stop if the passenger does not greet the fairies.
Motorcycle racers and spectators to the annual TT and Manx Grand Prix races tend to take the ritual seriously, in most cases making a point of visiting the bridge before setting up for practice and the races. In an example of confirmation bias, mishaps and crashes are readily attributed to the fairies' displeasure; likewise lucky escapes.
It has been suggested that the location was on the boundaries of the land of the nearby Rushen Abbey and the greeting is a folk memory of crossing oneself at the sight of the crucifix marking the boundary of the monastery's land. This superstition may possibly have arisen at this location during the 19th century in response to the large number of tourists visiting the Island.
The now commonly known '"Real" Fairy Bridge', shown as the 'Fairy Bridge' on old Ordnance Survey maps, is located in the parish of Braddan across the Middle River near to the footpath from Oakhill to Kewaigue.
- The Real Fairy Bridge Article and map of the Real Fairy Bridge. [Note: Link not working 2014 May 16]
- BBC Isle of Man/Ellan Vannin History Do you believe? Ariane Barua 4th August 2009