S is for Mt. Snaefell

I had to giggle – just a little bit – when I first learned about Mt. Snaefell (see this map for location). When I looked at photographs of the mountain I scratched my head and thought, “That’s not a mountain…it’s a big hill.” I live near the Rocky Mountains and am used to the high peaks here (12,000-14,000 feet). The joke’s on me because it really is classified as a mountain; it stands tall at 2,037 feet.

There are a couple of ways to get to the top, and when I go to Isle of Man I will be taking the foot trail up. There is also the Snaefell Mountain Railway that takes passengers all the way to the summit. After working up a hunger from the hike, there is a cafe at the top. I’ve heard that taking a packed bit of food is a nice way to go as well. Dress appropriately. I’m told the summit is usually windy and cool. You could get snow, or rain, or both.

You might actually experience the summit on a clear, bright day! There is a well-known saying in the Isle of Man that on a clear day six kingdoms can be seen from the top: the Isle of Man, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Heaven.

In the summer of 1883 William Wordsworth toured Scotland. During this trip he went to Isle of Man and wrote a series of sonnets about his trip. Included is one from his stop on the island a snippet for Mt. Snaefell:


TYNWALD HILL
“Once on the top of Tynwal’s formal mound
(Still marked with green turf circles narrowing
Stage above stage) would sit this Island’s King,
The laws to promulgate, enrobed and crowned;
While compassing the little mount around,
Degrees and Orders stood, each under each;
Now, like to things within fate’s easiest reach,
The power is merged, the pomp a grave has found.
Off with yon cloud, old Snaefell ! that thine eye
Over three Rhealms may take its widest range;
And let, for them, thy fountains utter strange
Voices, they winds break forth in prophecy,
If the whole State must suffer mortal change,
Like Mona’s miniature sovereignty.

If you go to Mt. Snaefell, I hope you drop me a note and tell me about your adventure there. Maybe we’ll get lucky and bump into each other at the summit.

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This post inspired by – S

T is for Tourist Trophy

R is for Rhumsaa (Ramsey)

Rhumsaa is the Manx term for Ramsey which is located on the northern end of the Isle of Man. It was named by the Norse (hrams-á) as the “Wild Garlic River” due to all of the wild garlic that grows nearby. Ramsey is the second largest city only bested by Douglas. It is also where Donal and his mother have a home.

When I was looking for a destination for Kailtlin when she arrived to the Island I turned to Google Maps. I knew I wanted Ramsey in my book, but I wasn’t sure exactly where within the town she would be. I “virtually” wandered the streets of town looking for that perfect house. After torturing myself for a few hours I went back to my old friend Google Search.

“Homes for sale in Ramsey, Isle of Man” turned up the best results and then I found it! What a perfect place! The listing was complete with descriptions, footage, photographs, and, to top it off, a stunning location. Dare I show you what I found? I think not. Now, don’t get mad. This is not an easy decision. When you read The Manx I prefer you form your own vision of the house, rather than me just handing the keys over. 

Now that I had the house that Kaitlin and her father would stay in, the rest was easy. Ramsey is a great coastal town that hugs the edge of a bay. It isn’t so big that Kailtlin would be lost in the bustle, but it is a nice size for a colorful backdrop in The Manx.

I wonder if anyone makes Queenies there?

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This post inspired by – R

S is for Mt Snaefell

P is for Castle Peel

Located on St. Patrick’s Isle, Peel was built in the 11th century by Vikings under the rule of our favorite king, Magnus Barefoot. Initially the castle was a Celtic religious site, but when Magnus’ forces arrived they replaced those with wood battlements. The sandstone walls did not appear until the 14th century.

There are so many things that I want to tell you about Castle Peel and the role it plays in The Manx but the spoilers would pile up too high. Instead I’ll leave you with a photo of it and you can imagine your own tales that might occur here.

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This post inspired by – P

Q is for Queenies

O is for Osran

Today’s post introduces you to OsranMany of the characters in The Manx have at least a tiny bit of grounding in the real world whether it is the use of a real name, a mythical being, or a historical figure. Osran comes fresh from my imagination.

Her realm is in The BetweenThis is where the past, present, and future meet. Osran is the guardian of The Between making sure no one (magical or human) crosses from their own present into the past or future.

It is also where the energy for magic is generated. Whenever magic is used, the energy from it must be gathered in the Between to be redistributed back into the world. Osran oversees this process to be sure there are no flows that are uneven. Any imbalance will have catastrophic results affecting everything from the beginning of time to the end.

Osran is Kaitlin’s guide, and she will meet her for the first time in The Manx. Kaitlin doesn’t know what to make of Osran initially, but she feels comforted in her presence. Almost like an aunt or grandmother. They will make a formidable team as they fight to save both worlds which are on a collision course.

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This post inspired by – O

P is for Castle Peel

N is for Names

In choosing names for The Manx I used surnames that were listed in the census logs of the Isle of Man. I went as far back as I could find records for so that the names were as authentic as I could make them. Kaitlin Manning is named for the island, Mann (as it is sometimes spelled). Her first name is not of Manx origin, but she was born in America so I leaned toward something that would fit here in the states. Donal Kennaugh’s surname is one of the oldest I could find, plus I just liked it. His first name is of Manx origin and means “world conqueror.”

The book also takes us back into Manx history. King Magnus the Barefoot was king of Norway 1093-1103, during this time he was on the Isle of Man. King Magnus was ruthless in the battles he waged. He dominated much of the coastal area around the Irish sea. He had forts built on Man and he spent much of his time there while he was busy conquering the Irish Sea. His daughters, Ragnhild and Tora (I changed this name to Thora in the book), will play major parts in the past as well, along with a few other characters from his court.

The extent of historical accuracy does end there. I have used the names from the past  and taken a lot of artistic liberty with their characters. I also followed some of the historical narrative to build personalities for them, but that’s about it.

There have been days that I spent hours looking for names getting lost in the histories and the side trips of the internet. I am still building new characters so if you are Manx and know of a few good places, or people, that you think should be included. Leave a comment. I’d love to learn more.

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This post inspired by – N

O is for Osran

M is for Manannan Mac y Leirr

Manannan Beg was son of Leirr,
He was the first the e’er had Mann;
But as it seemeth unto me,
He himself was but a heathen.

‘Twas not with his sword he kept her,
Nor with his arrows, nor his bow;
Bur when he would see ships sailing,
He hid her right round with a fog.

He’d set a man upon a brow,
You’d think there were a hundred there;
And this did wild Manannan guard
That island with all its booty.

The rent each paid out of the land
Was a bundle of green rushes;
And that was on them for a tax
Throughout the county each John’s Eve.

Some went up with the rushes to
The great mountain up at Barrule;
Other would leave the grass below,
With Manannan above Keamool.

In this way, then, they lived, I think
Myself their tribute very small,
Without care or anxiety,
Or labour to cause weariness.

~~Old Manx Ballad

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This post inspired by – M

N is for Names

L is for Little People

The Little People have been a part of Isle of Man’s legends since the beginning. The Little People (Mooinjer Veggey), also known as Themselves, stand a good foot high. Much like gnomes, they dress in green with red caps, yet they are slender, more like a human. They are usually seen hanging out under the “Fairy Bridge”, but are also known to be just about anywhere riding on the back of a corgi. Kaitlin (who I introduced yesterday) will, of course, have an encounter with the Little People. 

For the locals, they know the importance of the Little People and the proper way to greet them. It is well known that if they are not given their due respect you may come down with chicken pox, get robbed, or have bad luck follow you. The TT racers are very careful about giving a kind greeting in hopes of having a bit of good luck in their race.

So, when you cross the Fairy Bridge you must say: “Moghrey mie (Good morning), Fastyr mie (Good afternoon/evening) or Laa mie (Good day) Mooinjer Veggey.” Many visitors write notes and wishes on pieces of paper and attach them to a nearby tree. The Little People are kindly and generous with their luck just as long as you are too.

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This post inspired by – L

M is for Manannan Mac Lir