Talking Points

Wed, 17 Mar 2021


My personal favourite thing about our little home on the web here is the “Points of Interest” section, where we try to cover the myriad of interesting and quirky places that don’t really fall under the remit of the main site. The Island’s full of them – and what we’ve found and listed so far is, I’m sure, only the tip of the interesting iceberg. Hopefully, you – our trusted readers – will feel free to enlighten us with your favourite places and let us know what we’ve missed.

What is it that makes something a “Point of Interest”? It’s difficult to come up with a definitive answer on this one – maybe it’s historic, maybe it’s personal, maybe it’s a bit of both. Some we’ve included merely because of their name (take a bow “To A little Bridge”), whilst some have oodles of history and intrigue behind them like, say, Cronk Ny Merriu or Killabane.

Sometimes, it can feel like our entire Island is something of a museum. There have been people here since before 6500BCE, and they have left traces (some subtle, some less so) everywhere; their tools are at the Manx Museum and their monuments are all around us.  Pliny the Elder and Ptolemy mention us by name in the 1st and 2nd Centuries, with Julius Caesar predating them by 150 years. He, in the oldest known reference to the Island, called us “Mona”. He didn’t bother to visit, though. “Veni, vidi, whatever…”.

Ten thousand years or so after people first settled on the Island, a new population began to make their home here, bringing with them the fundamental basics of our Celtic roots. These new Manxies made their mark everywhere. They left inscriptions in Ogham, as well as their culture and language; the basis of the Manx Gaelg which survives to this day. They were followed by the Vikings, who saw the fine farmland available and decided to settle down and work the land, retiring from all that pillaging and stuff (a hard day’s pillaging can really take it out of you). Again, their footprints are everywhere, from place names to remains of homesteads to the magnificent brown sheep they bred to provide extra-scary horns for their helmets. It’s a little-known fact that Loaghtans have four horns so that Viking warriors could take a couple and still leave the sheep with two so it wouldn’t feel embarrassed at dinner parties (Note to editor – it might be worth checking this).

This – and more – is the world which the POI section helps us explore. A world of tholtans, keeils, stone circles, burial cairns, forts, and much, much more. We want it to be a growing, breathing, resource. Constantly expanding, and showing locals and visitors alike some of the more well-hidden wonders of our Island.