Isle of Man

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This article is about the island. For the racehorse, see Isle of Man (horse). For the journal 'Mannin', see Mannin (journal).
Isle of Man
Ellan Vannin or Mannin
Flag Coat of arms
Motto: "Quocunque Jeceris Stabit" (Latin)
"Whithersoever you throw it, it will stand"[1]
Anthem: "O Land of Our Birth"
"Arrane Ashoonagh dy Vannin" (Manx)
Royal anthem"God Save the Queen"
Location of the  Isle of Man  (red)in the British Isles  (red & grey)
Location of the  Isle of Man  (red)

in the British Isles  (red & grey)

Capital
and largest city
Douglas (Doolish)
54°09′N 4°29′W / 54.150°N 4.483°W / 54.150; -4.483
Official languages English, Manx
Demonym Manx
Status British Crown dependency
Government Parliamentary democratic constitutional monarchy
 -  Lord of Mann Queen Elizabeth II
 -  Lieutenant Governor Adam Wood
 -  Chief Minister Allan Bell
Legislature Tynwald
 -  Upper house Legislative Council
 -  Lower house House of Keys
Area
 -  Total 572 km2 (196th)
221 sq mi
 -  Water (%) 0
Population
 -  2011 census 84,497
 -  Density 148/km2 (77th)
362.4/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate
 -  Total $2.113 billion (162nd)
 -  Per capita $53,800 (11th/12th)
Gini 41[2]
medium
HDI (2010) 0.849[3]
very high · 14th
Currency Manx pound (official)
Pound sterling (also used) (GBP)
Time zone GMT (UTC)
 -  Summer (DST) +1 (UTC+1)
Date format dd/mm/yyyy (AD)
Drives on the left
Calling code +44a
ISO 3166 code IM
Internet TLD .im
a. +44 1624 (landline) area code
+44 7524 / 7624 / 7924 (mobile)

The Isle of Man (/ˈmæn/; Manx: Ellan Vannin [ˈɛlʲən ˈvanɪn][4]), otherwise known simply as Mann (Manx: Mannin, IPA: [ˈmanɪn]), is a self-governing British Crown Dependency, located in the Irish Sea between the islands of Great Britain and Ireland. The head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, who holds the title of Lord of Mann. The Lord of Mann is represented by a Lieutenant Governor, but its foreign relations and defence are the responsibility of the British Government.

The island has been inhabited since before 6500 BC. As one of the six Celtic nations, Gaelic cultural influence began in the 5th century AD, and the Manx language, a branch of the Gaelic languages, gradually emerged. In 627, Edwin of Northumbria conquered the Isle of Man along with most of Mercia. In the 9th century, the Norse began to settle there. Norse people from Scotland then established the Kingdom of the Isles. The King's title would then carry the suffix, "and the Isles". Magnus III, the King of Norway, was also known as "King of Mann and the Isles" as part of the Hebrides civilization between 1099 and 1103.[5] A Norse-Gaelic culture arose and the island came under Norse control. In 1266, the island became part of Scotland, as formalised by the Treaty of Perth. After a period of alternating rule by the kings of Scotland and England, the island came under the feudal lordship of the English Crown in 1399. The lordship revested into the British Crown in 1765, but the island never became part of the kingdom of Great Britain or its successor the United Kingdom, retaining its status as an internally self-governing Crown dependency.

Etymology[edit]

The Isle of Man is Manx: Ellan Vannin, where ellan is a Manx word meaning island. The earliest form of Man is Manu or Mana,[6] which appears in the genitive case as Vaninn, hence Ellan Vannin "Island of Man".

The name Mana/u is related to the figure of Celtic mythology known as Manannán mac Lir to the Irish and Manawydan to the Welsh.[7]

The name enters recorded history as Mona (Julius Caesar, 54 BC), and is also recorded as Monapia or Monabia (Pliny the Elder, AD 77), Monœda (Ptolemy, AD 150), Mevania or Mænavia (Orosius, AD 416), and Eubonia or Eumonia by Irish writers. Welsh records it as Manaw, and in the Sagas of Icelanders it is Mön.[8][9][10][11]

Though the Isle of Man was never incorporated into the Roman Empire, the island was noted in the Classics where it was called variously Monapia, Mοναοιδα (Monaoida), Mοναρινα (Monarina), Menavi and Mevania.[12] The Old Welsh and Old Irish names for the Isle of Man, Manau and Mano, also occur in Manaw Gododdin, the name for an ancient district in north Britain along the lower Firth of Forth.[13] The name is probably connected with the Welsh name of the island of Anglesey, Ynys Môn[14] and possibly with the Celtic root reflected in Welsh mynydd, Breton menez, and Scottish Gaelic monadh,[14] all of which mean "mountain" and probably derive from the Proto-Indo-European root *men-, "to tower".[15] In this case, such a name may have referred to the island apparently rising out of the Irish Sea on the horizon.[16]

History[edit]

The Braaid in central Isle of Man, with remnants of a Celtic-Norse roundhouse and two longhouses, c. 650–950 AD

Rising water levels cut the island off from the surrounding islands around 8000 BC. Evidence suggests that colonisation of the island took place by sea some time before 6500 BC.[17] The first residents lived in small huts, hunting, fishing and gathering their food. They used small tools made of flint or bone, examples of which have been found near the coast. Representatives of these artefacts are kept at the Manx Museum.[18]

The Kingdom of the Isles about the year 1100. Sodor and Mann in red.

The Neolithic Period marked the coming of knowledge of farming, better stone tools and pottery. It was during this period that megalithic monuments began to appear around the island. Examples from this period can be found at Cashtal yn Ard near Maughold, King Orry's Grave at Laxey, Meayll Circle near Cregneash, and Ballaharra Stones at St John's. This was not the only Neolithic culture: there were also the local Ronaldsway and Bann cultures.[19]

During the Bronze Age, the large communal tombs of the megalith builders were replaced with smaller burial mounds. Bodies were put in stone-lined graves along with ornamental containers. The Bronze Age burial mounds created long-lasting markers around the countryside.[20]

The Iron Age marked the beginning of Celtic cultural influence. Large hill forts appeared on hill summits, and smaller promontory forts along the coastal cliffs, while large timber-framed roundhouses were built. It is likely that the first Celts to inhabit the island were Britons speaking Common Brittonic.[citation needed] Around the 5th century AD, cultural influence from Ireland and migration precipitated a process of Gaelicisation evidenced by Ogham inscriptions, giving rise to the Manx language, which is a Goidelic language closely related to Irish and Scottish Gaelic.[21]

Viking settlement of the Isle of Man began at the end of the 8th century. The Vikings established Tynwald and introduced many land divisions that still exist.

Geography[edit]

The Calf of Man seen from Cregneash

The Isle of Man is located in the middle of the northern Irish Sea, almost equidistant from England, Ireland, Scotland (closest), and Wales (furthest). It is 52 kilometres (32 mi) long and, at its widest point, 22 kilometres (14 mi) wide. It has an area of around 572 square kilometres (221 sq mi).[22] Besides the island of Mann itself, the political unit of the Isle of Man includes some nearby small islands: the seasonally inhabited Calf of Man,[23] Chicken Rock on which stands an unmanned lighthouse, St Patrick's Isle and St Michael's Isle. Both of the latter are connected to the mainland by permanent roads/causeways.

Hills in the north and south are separated by a central valley. The extreme north is exceptionally flat, consisting mainly of deposits from glacial advances from western Scotland during colder times. There are more recently deposited shingle beaches at the Point of Ayre. The island has one mountain higher than 600 metres (2,000 ft), Snaefell, with a height of 620 metres (2,034 ft).[22] According to an old saying, from the summit one can see six kingdoms: those of the Mann, Scotland, England, Ireland, Wales, and Heaven.[24][25][26] Some versions add a seventh kingdom, that of the Sea, or Neptune.[27][28]

Population[edit]

Map of the Isle of Man
Further information: Manx people

At the 2006 interim census,[29] The Isle of Man was home to 81,048 people, of whom 26,218 resided in the island's capital city, Douglas. A plurality of the population was born in the Isle of Man (47.6%) while a significant amount were born in England (37.2%), 3.4% in Scotland, 2.1% in Northern Ireland, 2.1% in the Republic of Ireland, 1.2% in Wales and 0.3% in the Channel Islands. The remaining 6.1% were born elsewhere in the world.

Census[edit]

The Isle of Man Full Census, last held in 2011, has been a decennial occurrence since 1821, with interim censuses being introduced from 1966. It is separate from, but similar to, the Census in the United Kingdom.

The 2001 Census was conducted by the Economic Affairs Division of the Isle of Man Treasury, under the authority of the Census Act 1929.

Climate[edit]

The Isle of Man has a temperate climate with cool summers and mild winters. Average rainfall is higher than that of the British Isles, because the Isle of Man is far enough from Ireland for the prevailing south-westerly winds to accumulate moisture. Average rainfall is highest at Snaefell, where it is around 1,900 millimetres (75 in) a year. At lower levels it can be around 800 millimetres (31 in) a year. Temperatures remain fairly cool with the recorded maximum being 28.9 °C (84.0 °F) at Ronaldsway on 12 July 1983.

Climate data for Isle of Man (Ronaldsway)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 8.2
(46.8)
7.9
(46.2)
9.2
(48.6)
11.1
(52)
14.1
(57.4)
16.3
(61.3)
18.1
(64.6)
18.1
(64.6)
16.3
(61.3)
13.6
(56.5)
10.9
(51.6)
8.9
(48)
12.8
(55)
Average low °C (°F) 3.9
(39)
3.4
(38.1)
4.4
(39.9)
5.4
(41.7)
7.7
(45.9)
10.2
(50.4)
12.2
(54)
12.4
(54.3)
11.1
(52)
8.9
(48)
6.3
(43.3)
4.5
(40.1)
7.6
(45.7)
Rainfall mm (inches) 82.6
(3.252)
57.5
(2.264)
65.5
(2.579)
55.7
(2.193)
50.9
(2.004)
58.1
(2.287)
56.2
(2.213)
65.3
(2.571)
75.3
(2.965)
102.5
(4.035)
103.1
(4.059)
91.8
(3.614)
864.4
(34.031)
Avg. rainy days (≥ 1.0 mm) 14.0 10.6 11.8 9.9 9.7 9.8 9.0 10.8 11.1 14.1 15.2 13.9 140.1
Mean monthly sunshine hours 54.1 77.9 115.9 171.2 227.6 203.4 197.4 184.9 138.9 103.6 63.5 46.0 1,584.6
Source: Met Office[30]

Government[edit]

A composite satellite image of the Isle of Man

The United Kingdom is responsible for the island's defence and ultimately for good governance, and for representing the island in international fora, while the island's own parliament and government have competence over all domestic matters.[31]

Structure[edit]

See also: Manx law

The island's parliament, Tynwald, has been in continuous existence since 979 AD or earlier, making it the oldest continuously governing body in the world.[32] Tynwald is a bicameral or tricameral legislature, comprising the House of Keys (directly elected by universal suffrage) and the Legislative Council (consisting of indirectly elected and ex-officio members). These two bodies meet together in joint session as Tynwald.

The executive branch of government is the Council of Ministers, which is composed of members of Tynwald. It is headed by the Chief Minister, currently Allan Bell MHK. The Council of Ministers comprises the greater part of the House of Keys.

Vice-regal functions of the Head of State are performed by a Lieutenant Governor.

External relations and security[edit]

Defence[edit]

Under British law, the Isle of Man is not part of the United Kingdom. However, Britain takes care of its external and defence affairs, and retains paramount power to legislate for the island.[33] There are no independent military forces on the Isle of Man although HMS Ramsey is affiliated with the town of the same name.[34] From 1938 there was a (now disbanded) Manx Regiment of the British Territorial Army, which saw extensive action during the Second World War.[35] In 1779, the Manx Fencible Corps, a fencible regiment of three companies, was raised and disbanded in 1783 at the end of the American War of Independence. Later, the Royal Manx Fencibles was raised at the time of the French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars. The 1st Battalion (of 3 companies) was raised in 1793. A 2nd Battalion (of 10 companies) was raised in 1795,[36] and it saw action during the Irish Rebellion of 1798. The regiment was disbanded in 1802.[37] A third body of Manx Fencibles was raised in 1803 to defend the Island during the Napoleonic Wars and to assist the Revenue. It was disbanded in 1811.[38]

Emergency Services[edit]

The Isle of Man Government maintains five emergency services.[39] These are:

All of these services are controlled directly by the Isle of Man Government, and are independent of the United Kingdom. Nonetheless, the Isle of Man Constabulary voluntarily submits to inspection by the British inspectorate of police,[40] and the Isle of Man Coastguard contracts Her Majesty's Coastguard (UK) for air-sea rescue operations.

Citizenship[edit]

The cover of an Isle of Man passport
Main article: Manx passport

Citizenship in the Isle of Man is governed by British law. Passports issued by the Isle of Man Passport Office say "British Islands – Isle of Man" on the cover but the nationality status stated on the passport is simply "British Citizen". Although Manx passport holders are British citizens, because the Isle of Man is not part of the European Union, people born on the Island without a parent or grandparent either born or resident for more than five consecutive years in the United Kingdom do not have the same rights as other British citizens with regard to employment and establishment in the EU. Isle of Man passports can be issued to any British citizen in the Isle of Man (whether or not that person has "Manx status" as an Isle of Man worker under the local Isle of Man employment laws). They can also be issued to Manx-connected British citizens residing in Britain or either of the other Crown Dependencies.

European Union[edit]

The Isle of Man holds neither membership nor associate membership of the European Union. Protocol 3 of the UK's Act of Accession to the Treaty of Rome permits trade for Manx goods without tariffs.[41] In conjunction with the Customs and Excise agreement with the UK, this facilitates free trade with the UK. While Manx goods can be freely moved within the EU, capital and services cannot be.

EU citizens are entitled to travel and reside, but not work, in the island without restriction. And Manx citizens—without the hereditary qualification outlined above—are similarly restricted from working in the EU.[42][43]

Commonwealth of Nations[edit]

The Isle of Man is not itself a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. By virtue of its relationship with the United Kingdom, it takes part in several Commonwealth institutions, including the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and the Commonwealth Games. The Government of the Isle of Man has made calls for a more integrated relationship with the Commonwealth,[44] including more direct representation and enhanced participation in Commonwealth organisations and meetings, including Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings.[45] The Chief Minister of the Isle of Man has said: "A closer connection with the Commonwealth itself would be a welcome further development of the Island’s international relationships"[46]

Politics[edit]

Isle of Man local authorities and sheadings

Most Manx politicians stand for election as independents rather than as representatives of political parties. Though political parties do exist, their influence is not nearly as strong as in the United Kingdom.

There are two political parties in the Isle of Man. The Liberal Vannin Party (established 2006) with two seats in the House of Keys, they promote greater Manx independence and more accountability in Government. The Manx Labour Party is the other, they hold one seat.

A number of pressure groups also exist on the island. Mec Vannin advocate the establishment of a sovereign republic.[47] The Positive Action Group campaign for three key elements to be introduced into the governance of the island: open accountable government, rigorous control of public finances, and a fairer society.[48]

Local government[edit]

Local government on the Isle of Man is based on the concept of ancient parishes. There are two types of local authorities: a corporation for the Borough of Douglas, and bodies of commissioners for the town districts of Castletown, Peel and Ramsey, the village districts of Kirk Michael, Laxey, Onchan, Port Erin and Port St Mary, and the 15 'parish districts' (those parishes or parts of parishes which do not fall within the districts previously mentioned). Local authorities are under the supervision of the Isle of Man Government's Department of Local Government and the Environment (DOLGE).

Education[edit]

Public education is under the Department of Education and Children. Thirty-four primary schools, five secondary schools, and the Isle of Man College function under the department.[49]

Economy[edit]

The Isle of Man is a low-tax economy with no capital gains tax, wealth tax, stamp duty, or inheritance tax[50] and a top rate of income tax of 20%.[51] A tax cap is in force; the maximum amount of tax payable by an individual is £115,000 or £230,000 for couples if they choose to have their incomes jointly assessed. The £115,000 tax cap equates to an assessable income of £589,550. Personal income is assessed and taxed on a total worldwide income basis rather than a remittance basis. This means that all income earned throughout the world is assessable for Manx tax rather than only income earned in or brought into the Island.

The rate of corporation tax is 0% for almost all types of income, the only exceptions are that the profits of banks are taxed at 10%, as is rental (or other) income from land and buildings situated on the Isle of Man.[52][53]

Offshore banking, manufacturing, and tourism form key sectors of the economy. Agriculture and fishing, once the mainstays of the economy, now make declining contributions to the Island's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Trade takes place mostly with the United Kingdom. The island is in customs union with the UK, and related revenues are pooled and shared under the Common Purse Agreement.

The Manx government promotes island locations for making films by contributing to the production costs. Since 1995, over eighty films have been made on the island. The policy has been criticized as unsustainable. Since 2007, the Isle of Man government invested £34 million in the film industry but recouped only £6.3 million, representing a loss of over £27 million.[54]

The Isle of Man Government Lottery operated from 1986 to 1997. Since 2 December 1999 the island has participated in the United Kingdom National Lottery.[55][56] The island is the only jurisdiction outside the United Kingdom where it is possible to play the UK National Lottery.[57] Since 2010 it has also been possible for projects in the Isle of Man to receive national lottery Good Causes Funding.[58][59] The good causes funding is distributed by the Manx Lottery Trust.[60] Tynwald receives the 12p lottery duty for tickets sold in the Island.

Communications[edit]

The main telephone provider on the Isle of Man is Manx Telecom. At present, the island has two mobile operators: Manx Telecom, previously known as Manx Pronto, and Sure. For a short time, Cloud9 operated as a third mobile operator on the island, but has since withdrawn. Broadband internet services are available through four local providers which are Wi-Manx, Domicilium, Manx Computer Bureau and Manx Telecom. The island does not have its own ITU country code, but is accessed via the British country code (+44) and the island's telephone numbers are part of the British telephone numbering plan with local dialling codes 01624 for landlines and 07524, 07624 and 07924 for mobiles.

In 1996 the Isle of Man Government obtained permission to use the .im national top-level domain (TLD) and has ultimate responsibility for its use. The domain is managed on a daily basis by Domicilium, an island-based internet service provider.

In December 2007, the Manx Electricity Authority and its telecommunications subsidiary, e-llan Communications commissioned the laying of a new fibre-optic link that connects the island to a worldwide fibre-optic network.

The Isle of Man has three radio stations: Manx Radio, Energy FM and 3 FM.

There is no insular television service and local transmitters retransmit British mainland digital broadcasts via the free-to-air digital terrestrial service Freeview. Isle of Man is part of the regions served by BBC North West for BBC One and BBC Two television services, and Granada Television for ITV.

Many television services are available by satellite, such as Sky, and Freesat from the group of satellites at 28.2° east, as well as services from a range of other satellites around Europe such as the Astra satellites at 19.2° east and Hotbird.

The Isle of Man has three newspapers, all weeklies, and all owned by Isle of Man Newspapers, a division of the Edinburgh media company Johnston Press.[61] The Isle of Man Courier (distribution 36,318) is free and distributed to homes on the island. The other two newspapers are Isle of Man Examiner (circulation 13,276) and the Manx Independent (circulation 12,255).[62]

Postal services are the responsibility of Isle of Man Post, which took over from the British General Post Office in 1973.

Transport[edit]

The island has a total of 688 miles (1,107 km)[63] of public roads, all of which are paved. In areas denoted by derestricted signs in the Isle of Man, there is no overriding national speed restriction; only local speed limits are set. Rules for reckless driving and most other driving regulations are enforced in a manner similar to the UK.[64] The Isle of Man Government is constantly reviewing ways of decreasing the number of accidents on public roads. One action currently reviewed by the Government is the possibility to introduce compulsory MOT tests in the Isle of Man to reduce the number of accidents on public roads.[65] There is a comprehensive bus network, operated by the government owned bus operator, Bus Vannin.

The Isle of Man Sea Terminal in Douglas is served by frequent ferries to and from Heysham. Douglas is also served by frequent summer services to and from Liverpool with a more restricted timetable operating in winter. There are also limited summer-only services to and from Belfast and Dublin. The Dublin route also operates at Christmas. In conjunction with the Isle of Man TT a limited number of sailings operate to and from Larne in Northern Ireland. All ferries are operated by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company.

The only commercial airport on the island is the Isle of Man Airport at Ronaldsway. There are scheduled and chartered flights to numerous airports in the United Kingdom and Ireland, as well as further afield. The Irish operator Aer Arann entered a code-sharing agreement with Abu Dhabi airliner Etihad Airways in 2009, a deal which provides for the booking of one-ticket flights from the Isle of Man.[66]

The island used to have an extensive narrow-gauge railway system, both steam-operated and electric, but the majority of the steam railway tracks have been taken out of service and the track removed. Currently there is a steam railway which runs between Douglas and Port Erin, an electric railway which runs between Douglas and Ramsey and an electric mountain railway which climbs Snaefell.

Space commerce[edit]

The Isle of Man has become a centre for emerging private space travel companies.[67] A number of the competitors in the Google Lunar X Prize, a $30 million competition for the first privately funded team to send a robot to the moon, are based on the Island. The team summit for the X Prize was held on the Island in October 2010.[68] In 2010 the Island was named the fifth most likely nation to reach the moon next.[69] In January 2011 two research space stations owned by Excalibur Almaz arrived on the Island and were kept in an aircraft hangar at the airfield at the former RAF Jurby located near Jurby.[70]

Culture[edit]

The culture of the Isle of Man is influenced by its Celtic, and to a lesser extent its Norse, origins. Proximity to the UK, popularity as a UK tourist destination, and mass immigration by British migrant workers has meant that British influence has been dominant since the Revestment period. Revival campaigns have attempted to preserve the surviving vestiges of Manx culture after a long period of Anglicisation, and significant interest in the Manx language, history and musical tradition has been the result.

Language[edit]

Main article: Manx language
A bilingual sign in the Isle of Man featuring Manx Gaelic and English

The official language of the Isle of Man is English, while Manx Gaelic has also had official status since 1985.[71] Manx has traditionally been spoken but is now considered "critically endangered".[72]

Manx is a Goidelic Celtic language and is one of a number of insular Celtic languages spoken in the British Isles.[73] Manx has been officially recognised as a legitimate autochthonous regional language under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, ratified by the United Kingdom on 27 March 2001 on behalf of the Isle of Man government.[74]

Manx is closely related to Irish and Scottish Gaelic.

In Manx English, the greetings moghrey mie and fastyr mie, which mean good morning and good afternoon respectively, can also be heard.[75] Like Irish and Scottish Gaelic, the English terms evening and afternoon are referred to with one word.[76] Another term used in Manx English is traa dy liooar, meaning time enough, and represents a stereotypical view of the Manx attitude to life.[77][78]

Symbols[edit]

A sculpture of the Manx triskelion as seen in front of Ronaldsway Airport terminal.

For centuries, the island's symbol has been the so-called "three legs of Mann" (Manx: Tree Cassyn Vannin), a triskelion of three legs conjoined at the thigh. The Manx triskelion, which dates with certainty to the late 13th century, is of an uncertain origin. It has been suggested that its origin lies in Sicily, an island which has been associated with triskelions since ancient times.[79] Another possibility is that its origin lies with the emblem of the 10th century Norse-Gaelic dynasty which ruled the island at the time.[80]

The symbol appears in the island's official flag and official coat of arms, as well as its currency. The Manx triskelion may be reflected in the island's motto, Latin: Quocunque jeceris stabit, which appears as part of the island's coat of arms. The Latin motto translates into English as "whichever way you throw, it will stand"[80] or "whithersoever you throw it, it will stand".[1] It dates to the late 17th century when it is known to have appeared on the island's coinage.[80] The original meaning of the motto, however, may have referred to the poor quality of coinage which was common at the time—as in "however it is tested it will pass".[81]

The ragwort or cushag is the Manx national flower.[82]

Religion[edit]

The predominant religious tradition of the island is Christianity. Before the Protestant Reformation, the island had a long history as part of Catholic Christendom, and in the years following the Reformation, the religious authorities on the island, and later the population of the island, accepted the religious authority of the British monarchy and the Church of England.[83] It has also come under the influence of Irish religious tradition. The island forms a separate diocese called Sodor and Man, which once comprised the medieval kingdom of Man and the Isles ("Sudrys" in old Norse). It now consists of 16 parishes,[84] and since 1541[85] has formed part of the Province of York.[86]

Other Christian churches also operate on the Isle of Man. The second largest denomination is the Methodist Church, which is close in size to the Anglican diocese. There are eight Roman Catholic parish churches, included in the Catholic Archdiocese of Liverpool. Additionally there are five Baptist churches, four Pentecostal churches, the Salvation Army, a ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, two congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses, two United Reformed churches, as well as other Christian churches. There is a small Muslim community, with its own mosque in Douglas, and there is also a small Jewish community.[87]

Myth, legend and folklore[edit]

In Manx mythology, the island was ruled by Manannán mac Lir, a Celtic sea god, who would draw his misty cloak around the island to protect it from invaders. One of the principal theories about the origin of the name Mann is that it is named after Manannan.

In the Manx tradition of folklore, there are many stories of mythical creatures and characters. These include the Buggane, a malevolent spirit who according to legend blew the roof off St Trinian's Church in a fit of rage; the Fenodyree; the Glashtyn; and the Moddey Dhoo, a ghostly black dog who wandered the walls and corridors of Peel Castle.

The Isle of Man is also said to be home to fairies, known locally as the little folk or themselves. There is a famous Fairy Bridge and it is said to be bad luck if one fails to wish the fairies good morning or afternoon when passing over it. It used to be a tradition to leave a coin on the bridge to ensure good luck. Other types of fairies are the Mi'raj and the Arkan Sonney.

An old Irish story tells how Lough Neagh was formed when Ireland's legendary giant Fionn mac Cumhaill (commonly anglicised to Finn McCool) ripped up a portion of the land and tossed it at a Scottish rival. He missed, and the chunk of earth landed in the Irish Sea, thus creating the island.

Peel Castle has been proposed as a possible location of the Arthurian Avalon[88][89] or as the location of the Grail Castle, site of Lancelot's encounter with the sword bridge of King Melegaunt.[90]

Music[edit]

The music of the Isle of Man reflects Celtic, Norse and other influences, including from its neighbours, Scotland, Ireland, England and Wales. A wide range of music is performed on the island, such as rock, blues, jazz and pop. However, its traditional folk music has undergone a revival since the 1970s, starting with a music festival called Yn Çhruinnaght in Ramsey.[91] This was part of a general revival of the Manx language and culture after the death of the last native speaker of Manx in 1974.

Food[edit]

Traditionally the national dish of the island is Spuds and Herrin, boiled potatoes and herring. This plain dish is chosen because of its role supporting the subsistence farmers of the island, who crofted the land and fished the sea for centuries.

A more recent claim for the title of national dish would be the ubiquitous chips, cheese and gravy. This dish, which is similar to poutine, is found in most of the island's fast-food outlets, and consists of thick cut chips, covered in shredded Cheddar cheese and topped with a thick gravy.[92]

Seafood has traditionally accounted for a large proportion of the local diet. Although commercial fishing has declined in recent years, local delicacies include Manx kippers (smoked herring) which are produced by the smokeries in Peel on the west coast of the island, albeit mainly from North Sea herring these days.[93] The smokeries also produce other specialities including smoked salmon and bacon.

Crab, lobster and scallops are commercially fished, and the Queen Scallop (Queenies) is regarded as a particular delicacy, with a light, sweet flavour.[94] Cod, ling and mackerel are often angled for the table, and freshwater trout and salmon can be taken from the local rivers and lakes, supported by the Government fish hatchery at Cornaa.

Cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry are all commercially farmed, Manx lamb from the hill-farms being a popular dish. The Loaghtan, the indigenous breed of Manx sheep, has a rich, dark meat that has found favour with chefs,[95][96] featuring in dishes on the BBC's MasterChef series.

Manx cheese has also found some success, featuring smoked and herb-flavoured varieties and is stocked by many of the UK's supermarket chains.[97][98][99] Manx cheese took bronze medals in the 2005 British Cheese Awards, and sold 578 tonnes over the year.

Beer is brewed on a commercial scale by Okells Brewery (established in 1850) and Bushy's Brewery. The island has a beer purity law, resembling the German Reinheitsgebot, dating to 1874.[100]

Sports[edit]

The Isle of Man is represented as a nation in the Commonwealth Games and the Island Games and hosted the IV Commonwealth Youth Games in 2011. Manx athletes have won three gold medals at the Commonwealth Games, including the one by cyclist Mark Cavendish in 2006 in the Scratch race. The Island Games were first held on the island in 1985, and again in 2001.

Isle of Man teams and individuals participate in many sports both on and off the island including rugby union, football, gymnastics, field hockey, netball, Taekwondo, bowling, Obstacle Course Racing and cricket. It being an island, many types of watersports are also popular with residents.

Motorcycle racing[edit]

For more details on this topic, see Isle of Man TT.

The main international event associated with the island is the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy race, colloquially known as "The TT",[101] which began in 1907. It takes place in late May and early June. The TT is now an international road racing event for motorcycles, which used to be part of the World Championship, and is long considered to be one of the "greatest motorcycle sporting events of the world".[102] Taking place over a two-week period, it has become a festival for motorcycling culture, makes a huge contribution to the island’s economy and has become part of Manx identity.[103] For many, the Isle carries the title "road racing capital of the world".[104]

The Manx Grand Prix is a separate motorcycle event for amateurs and private entrants that uses the same 60.70 km (37.72 mi)[105] Snaefell Mountain Course in late August and early September.

Cammag[edit]

Main article: Cammag

Prior to the introduction of football at the turn of the twentieth century, Cammag was the national sport of the Isle of Man.[106] It is similar to the Irish hurling, and the Scottish game of shinty. Nowadays it is an annual match at St John's.

Cinema[edit]

The Isle of Man has two cinemas. The Broadway Cinema is located in the Government owned and run Villa Marina and Gaiety Theatre complex. It has a capacity of 154 and also doubles as a conference venue.[107]

The Palace Cinema is located next to the derelict Castle Mona hotel and is operated by the Sefton Group. It has two screens, Screen One hold 293 customers, while Screen Two is smaller with a capacity of just 95. It was extensively refurbished in August 2011.[108]

Manx animals[edit]

Main articles: Manx (cat) and Manx Loaghtan
Manx Loaghtan Sheep are bred for their meat on the island.

There are two domestic animals specifically connected to the Isle of Man, though they are also found elsewhere.

The Manx cat is a breed of cat noted for having a genetic mutation that causes it to have a shortened tail. The length of this tail can range from a few inches, known as a "stumpy", to being completely nonexistent, or "rumpy". Manx cats display a range of colours and usually have somewhat longer hind legs compared to most cats. The cats have been used as a symbol of the Isle of Man on coins and stamps and at one time the Manx government operated a breeding centre to ensure the continuation of the breed.[109]

The Manx Loaghtan sheep is a breed native to the island. It has dark brown wool and four, or sometimes six horns. The meat is considered to be a delicacy. There are several flocks on the island and others have been started in England and Jersey.

Notable residents[edit]

Further information: List of Manx people

See also[edit]


References[edit]

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Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 54°15′N 04°30′W / 54.250°N 4.500°W / 54.250; -4.500