"Ellan Vannin" Top 5 Page for this destination Isle of Man by kit_mc

Isle of Man Travel Guide: 327 reviews and 735 photos

Ellan Vannin

Thanks to the kind hospitality of my friend Lynn and her family who have a house on the Isle of Man, I had the opportunity to visit this windswept island during the Christmas break of 2007. I'd always been curious about the place. This small island in the middle of the Irish Sea, with a population of about 76,000 it is just 33 miles long and 13 miles wide. It has a slightly odd reputation among Brits who generally know very little about the place but believe it to be a bit old fashioned and quirky given it's relative isolation from the rest of the British Isles.

The Isle of Man is also known in Manx Gaelic as Ellan Vannin. The Manx language is closely related to Scottish Gaelic and Gaeilge. Though it is not widely spoken and there are officially no people for whom it is a first language, it is undergoing something of a resurgence and is now being taught in schools. English is the everyday language on the island. Ellan Vannin is officially a Crown Dependency so not actually part of the UK. The Queen is Lord of Mann rather than Queen of the island.

The island nation have their own government, the Tynwald, responsible for laws, taxation and life in general on the island. Mann has its own independent postal service and Isle of Man stamps are noted as collectables - get first day covers from the main post office in Douglas. While the currency is the pound sterling, same as the UK, the island does produce its own notes and coins. The mainland British government is responsible for defence and ensuring general good governance and can force the Tynwald to change laws, demonstrated in the repeal of anti-homosexuality laws in the 1990s and corporal punishment laws before that.

While the Isle of Man is not a member of the EU, it does have agreements regarding the free movement of goods and people, meaning that you don't get tax free goods but you do not need a passport when visiting from the UK or Ireland. While land to land phonecalls to and from the mainland are counted as domestic calls, mobile companies count this as overseas.

The island is really quite small and while a car is recommended in order to see the more obscure and isolated sights, you can get between the main towns by bus or, during the summer, by steam engine.

The island is steeped in history and you can follow the Manx Heritage trail of castles, churches and chapels - the fiercely proud Manx islanders are predominantly Methodist - and museums. Spectacular views of an ancient landscape can be found all over the island which makes it a photographers dream. There is also the TT motorbike race that takes place each year attracting visitors from around the world.

The pace of life here is certainly slower than the mainland making it a good site to visit in order to blow away the cobwebs and recharge the batteries.

  • Last visit to Isle of Man: Dec 2007
  • Intro Updated Jan 2, 2008
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Comments (2)

  • Jan 4, 2008 at 11:00 AM

    And you think the mist doesn't come down in the summer?????

  • christine.j's Profile Photo
    Jan 2, 2008 at 4:44 AM

    Very helpful tips! I hope it won't be as windy in summer, especially not on the way over to the Isle of Man!

kit_mc

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