The Isle of Man sits in the middle, but a world apart, from the UK. It is in the Irish sea almost equidistant from Scotland, England and Northern Ireland. But it is not part of any of them. It is a self-governing British crown dependency. The island’s cultural heritage is Gaelic with influences from the Norse and surrounding lands. This background has produced an island with its own traditions. Everything associated with the Isle of Man is Manx. The people are Manx and the language is Manx.
Port St Mary is a quiet former trading and fishing port at the southern end of the Isle which provides access to the rural countryside and nearby towns. One route leads past historic thatched cottages in the crofters hamlet of Gregneash, and on to The Sound. Walking routes cross the narrow Mull Peninsula through scenery and history to Port Erin, a quaint old coastal settlement and shoreline set amongst a rugged coastline. In tune with the yesteryear feel of the island, a steam train still operates on the island, taking visitors to destinations like the Castle Rushen, built in 1200 and once the home of a Norse king.
Manx people are proud of their Manx cats, famous for having no or little tail, the result of a genetic mutation passed down the generations. Manx Loaghtan sheep are another animal that evolved on the Isle. These sheep have two (sometimes three) pairs of remarkable horns.And the island is not just an isle of men – the name ‘Isle of Man’ evolved from ‘Manannán’, the Celtic god of the sea.