VIKINGS AND CASTLES
Leaving Douglas, we start our story at Braddan Old Church where we will see some fine examples of the Island’s collection of remarkable Viking carved stone crosses.
We travel on to the Braaid, the site of an Iron Age long house and two Norse long houses, representing occupation until the 11th or 12th century.
Our journey takes us a few miles east to St Johns, and Tynwald Hill, one of the Island’s most distinctive landmarks. The hill is thought to be made from piles of stones bonded together with soil from all the Island’s 17 ancient parishes. Tynwald Hill plays host to an open-air meeting of the Island’s parliament, Tynwald, once a year. It is believed that the ceremony, which takes place on July 5th, was established by Norse Viking settlers over a thousand years ago making it the oldest continuous parliament in the world.
On then to Peel Castle once home to Christian missionaries, Viking warriors and kings. Constructed by the Vikings in the 11th century, the Castle stands on St Patrick’s Isle and remains an impressive feature on the Peel coastline. At the House of Manannan, the legendary sea god Manannan will guide us through the Island’s rich Celtic, Viking and maritime past from its origins as the centre of the Kingdom of Mann and the Isles. We can journey through life-size reconstructions and film shows that start in the Celtic Roundhouse and see the replica Viking ship Odin’s Raven.
Heading south now to Balladoole, one of the Isle of Man’s most impressive ancient monuments. A 10th century AD Viking boat burial which dates to between 850AD and 950AD discovered in 1945 by a German refugee and a team from the internment camps based on the Island. The burial contained a 36ft long Viking ship and the bodies of a man and woman.
Our journey takes us next to Castletown the ancient capital of Mann. Curled around the southern coastline and a firm favourite with visitors. With its picturesque harbour and historic buildings and this idyllic town is the perfect place to explore. We take time to visit the imposing medieval fortress of Castle Rushen. Once home to the Kings and Lords of Mann, it now serves as a museum complete with era-accurate decorations and life-like settings, earning a reputation as one of the best-preserved medieval castles in Europe.