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March 14th 2014
Published: March 14th 2014
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And of course, there will be those of you who wonder, “Why did they go to the Isle of Man?” The simple answer is because it was in the neighborhood of Ireland, which we have set out to explore for the next few weeks. A longer answer is that MJ has wondered about the isle for a couple of decades due to its relationship with the banking industry and those who invest. At any rate, we were, already going to Ireland, so why not pop over for a few days?



When we began to plan our trip to the Isle of Man (IOM) we had contacted a B&B on the far north part of the island as it looked quite cute, but the lady wrote back and apologized for not being able to take our booking, as “they would be busy sheering sheep this week.” Well, there you have it. You have to respect this reason, right? We reached out to Angeline, who books some of our best quality travel and sure enough, she found a perfect place to stay, the Meresides Hotel in Douglas, the capital of this nation of some 80 thousand souls.


Isle of ManIsle of ManIsle of Man

Riding the rails

Okay…now for some detail……



Since we have been on the island, one of the things we have learned about are the local Manx Loaghtan sheep. We tried our best to get a close-up of these but from the train it was nearly impossible. Our photos are a blur. We are posting a photo of one of them that we took at the Manx Museum. They have the wonderful two sets of horns. Really love these sheep.



Manx. Everything here is described as “Manx.” Probably has something to do with the Gaelic influence most likely. You may have heard of a breed of cat called the Manx and it hails from this part of the world. MJ had one many years ago. It is a cat with no tail or just a stub. Very smart animals.



Now for some additional detail….the Isle of Man is a sovereign nation, not exactly part of the British Crown, but there are many ties. Douglas, the capital, has about 25,000 people and is a lovely town. The income tax for the Isle of Man is a flat twenty percent, there’s no capital gains tax, inheritance tax
Local architectureLocal architectureLocal architecture

Douglas, Isle of Man
or many other forms of tax at that. Primarily tied to farming and fishing in the past, they’ve latched onto the world of finance. Let’s conclude by saying that the words “offshore banking” and “banking secrecy” are in play here. This is most likely advantageous to this nation, as most industries in this small island nation aren’t likely to provide much national support.



And so, we flew over for a quick visit and were not disappointed in the least. We enjoy traveling on the off-season, mainly to avoid the crowds and it provides wonderful opportunities to engage people in conversation. The locals were quite friendly and we took full advantage of the fact that they weren’t at their busiest.



Have you ever felt no matter how long you stay some place you always wish you’d stayed a little longer? We could have used at least another day or two here……



When we arrived at the airport our cab driver to our B&B was telling us that when he moved here from Liverpool he was unable to sleep the first six weeks because it was so quiet. He said they don’t have a rush hour but a rush twenty minutes. We’d come to the right place, all right….and to boot, during the off-season.



Our short days were filled. We took the bus to Peel one day to have a look around and enjoyed the Manannan Museum, which was extremely well designed and told the history of the island, from the Celts to the Vikings. Manannan is part of the Celtic lore and is tied quite strongly to the Isle of Man. It is said that he would exert his great powers by somehow widening his robe to create a great fog, that would in turn prevent the isle from capture by invaders. This of course didn’t stop the Vikings from making an appearance, where they settled and became part of the history for the island. All in all, a great history lesson which was furthered on our visit to the Manx Museum in Douglas a day later. We couldn’t visit the castle in Peel, as it was off-season, but took some nice photos nonetheless. We hiked a nearby hill to take some photos of the city from on high.



We also took advantage of the steam train ride to Port Erin, which whisked us past the countryside en route to a cute (but extremely cold due to the temperatures and windy town) where Merry Jo got to sample Davison’s ice cream. We can now add the stream train to our collection of modes of transportation.



The weather forecast for our visit on Friday from the official Isle of Man government website: “Rather cloudy for Friday with a slowly freshening southwest to westerly breeze, and the risk of a few spots of rain later in the day.” This translates to: seriously breezy cold!



For a bit of background, The Travel Camel fancies himself a connoisseur of ice cream and said the local delight was one of the finer he had tasted. We can concur….it was quite good, even on cold day. After a bit of research we’ve learned this is made with fresh cream and that translates into fan-tas-tic ice cream.



We took the train back to Douglas and took in the Manx Museum, which was again, very well done and extremely informative. One thing that surprised us about this island is that it has Palm Trees! Guess we didn’t do enough research before arriving. We knew about the gulfstream current comes through here and keeps it warm enough.



This area is full of green rolling hills. The countryside is dotted by large shrubby bushes; blooming with lovely yellow flowers. They decorate the land and serve as dividers among fields. With those and the daffodils popping their heads out the landscape was lovely. All of the homes we saw were brick, stone or stucco, makes sense when you think about the rain and wind. Many, many homes have lovely glass sunrooms on the back of the houses. The lawns are well manicured and we love the hedges and stone fences.



We have since learned that in sports circles the Isle of Man is well known for a race that has been called the greatest road race for the past one hundred years, the TT, the “Tourist Trophy festival”. This race is associated with many of the great names of motorcycle history (that have been unknown to us until now) like Mike Hailwood, Joey Dunlop, and John McGuiness. This race is a 37 and ¾ mile mountain course, is extremely tough and apparently
Scrambled eggs and salmonScrambled eggs and salmonScrambled eggs and salmon

a great breakfast
dangerous over the years, as over 200 people have died trying to ride extremely fast over these roads. It’s still a big deal here and it is easy to see why; people have the need for speed, whether it’s being part of the actual race, or being an observer.



Worthy of note is that like many nations in this part of the world, the pub is a popular place, where people gather to imbibe and swap lies. Douglas is no different. We paid a visit to a few, and can report that this is true. The Prescot, The Thirsty Pigeon and The Rover provided us with good examples of good conversation and company. In our conversations we learned there are four local beers. Two rather large breweries, and two very small ones. We never did get to sample the smaller brewing companies but Okells and Bushy’s were very good. Each brewery produces a small variety of ales.



We can also report that the food here is not bad at all. The Harbor Lights, HQ Restaurant and Bar, 14 North each provided us with quality food and a pleasant dining experience.



In our travels one of the things we most enjoy is sitting in a park, a coffee house and or pub and starting a conversation with a local. We found the people on the IOM to welcome conversation with us and we learned a great deal about the country’s life, social security, medical care, schools and universities, crime or lack their of, guns, drugs, prisons and talked about food with more than a few people. Many of the locals leave but the pull is great and they come back.



The Isle of Man was a pleasant excursion, but now back to the Emerald Isle………









Where we stayed: Mereside Bed and Breakfast

Restaurants: The Harbor Lights, HQ Restaurant and Bar, 14 North

Pubs: The Prescot, The Thirsty Pigeon, The Rover, HQ Bar


Additional photos below
Photos: 39, Displayed: 28


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Davison's ice creamDavison's ice cream
Davison's ice cream

Shane, MJ agrees with you...it's great!
Dave waiting for....Dave waiting for....
Dave waiting for....

the perfect shot. Hope the camera is on!
View from our roomView from our room
View from our room

The Mereside Hotel
Bret, Merry Jo and DaveBret, Merry Jo and Dave
Bret, Merry Jo and Dave

New friend we met at the Rover Pub
Irish Pub in DouglasIrish Pub in Douglas
Irish Pub in Douglas

It made us think of our friend, BV Chef!
Chicken Pot PieChicken Pot Pie
Chicken Pot Pie

Excellent local food
John, Dave & BretJohn, Dave & Bret
John, Dave & Bret

The Rover Pub- Douglas
Night time landscapeNight time landscape
Night time landscape

Douglas, Isle of Man
The ram with four hornsThe ram with four horns
The ram with four horns

Had to capture this picture in a museum.
Beautiful windowsBeautiful windows
Beautiful windows

Cathedral Isle of Man, Peel
History of the TTHistory of the TT
History of the TT

Rugged and fast....from the beginning


14th March 2014

Exploring the Isles
MJ and Dave, As always so well written and informative - you may have to do the Isle of Wight some time. I have never been to IOM - maybe a place to go when I get older and cannot do long haul flights!! Enjoy Ireland. X
14th March 2014

Hello Lynne
Whoops you must not have signed into TB. Glad you are following along. We try to mix a bit of history with stories about the people we talk to. Love learning about each new country. It is lovely here you'll have to come over. Plan on at least 5 days to really explore. Be sure to try the ice cream.
14th March 2014

That's blue!
I love the local architecture photo. Really interesting and unique buildings. Thanks for sharing!
15th March 2014

Isle of Man
Thank you for your comments. A lovely island well worth taking the time to explore. Lovely architecture, people and landscape.
15th March 2014

Isle of Man
Looks interesting. Great photos. Enjoy Ireland!
15th March 2014

On to Ireland
We've really enjoyed our time on this lovely island. We love visiting these quaint little islands.
15th March 2014

What a nice getaway
Ice cream, beer, train. It sounds like you found a great place to visit. And thanks for the shout out on Brendan's pub. I saw that right away before I saw your blurb under it. I'm glad to see some great pictures and glad Brutus is joining in on the fun.
15th March 2014

The Isle of Man
Peaceful and quiet but lovely. So glad we came over and had an opportunity to mix with some of the locals. Brutus is having a grand time.
15th March 2014

Top of the morning to you
Looks like beautiful countryside and you both are enjoying it all.
15th March 2014

Back to Ireland this morning
Looking forward to seeing more of Ireland. We took a little jaunt over here and now it is time to go back. We should meet your cousin soon.
15th March 2014

I was wondering how long you would be in Ohio...
before you got bored! So Isle of Man and Ireland...two North Atlantic islands that you missed your last trip. I have a few questions 1) if it is low season, where are the sheep shearers who are staying at the B&B your wanted to book? 2) Why is it called the Meresides hotel, when it is a block away from the mere? 3) Why isn't the Isle of Man part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland? You would think the English kings would have conquered every island in the area. 4) Why is a cat without a tail considered a smart animal? Anyway, I'm looking forward to reading your answers and all future blogs.
15th March 2014

So many unanswered questions
They have many affiliations with the UK, although not like northern Ireland they are not under British law. Years ago, they were part of the United Kingdom. Since 1866 it has no longer been a possession of England or Scotland. It is a crown dependency and has independent self government. I don't believe the sheep shearers were staying in the B&B. I think the entire family was going to be busy shearing and would not have time to host guest. As for the Mereside not being directly on the water....it was years ago and they built houses in front of it. Ah progress. In 1940 this hotel was taken over as the headquarters for all of the Internment Camps during the second WW. As for Manx they have a reputation of being smart and MJ says hers was. More of a personal comment than proof.
15th March 2014

The steam train ride sounds exciting and what a lovely view from your room. I'm keeping the sheep shearing in my pocket for the next time I need an excuse to get out of something. Miss you guys!
15th March 2014

Sheep shearing
I think for the sheep shearing excuse to really flow you may need to buy a couple of sheep but I'm not positive. They would look cute in SF. Our view was great. So far we've had nothing but wonderful experiences. The train was fun and the ice cream Shane recommended was wonderful. I tried the vanilla and the mango raspberry.
15th March 2014

Thanks for all the answers!
Continue with having a great trip.
15th March 2014

A great trip continues...
thanks for all the questions
15th March 2014

This is my favorite part of your blog: "on our trip to the Isle of Man (IOM) we had contacted a B&B on the far north part of the island as it looked quite cute, but the lady wrote back and apologized for not being able to take our booking, as “they would be busy sheering sheep this week.” Well, there you have it. You have to respect this reason, right? " Trip sounds great so far. Salmon and eggs, I have to admit, that may be ok.
15th March 2014

Salmon and eggs
That was one wonderful breakfast! The food on the island is fantastic. We had some lamb chops last night that were incredible.
15th March 2014
The ram with four horns

Island tripping
Very trippy 4-horned sheep and such sweet, yummy adventures! Loved the train, ice cream, museums and meet-ups with locals. How great that you took the road less traveled! Looking forward to Irish adventures....
15th March 2014
The ram with four horns

Traveling Tara like
Hello my friend, you've been a positive influence on us. We are moving at a slower pace. Not the pace you move at but we will spend a month in Ireland really getting a look and feel of the place. We always manage to find some locals who will engage us in conversations about whatever....life in their country, politics, religion, solving world issues, and travel. The Isle of Man was a treat.
16th March 2014
Isle of Man

Little station for a little isle
What a delightful place. Amazing how such a tiny place can be so famous...but it's bike race has ensured that is the case. You guys look great in the pics.
16th March 2014
Isle of Man

Famous for the bike race
It is amazing how famous this Isle is and yes it is due to the bikes more than the banking. We enjoyed our days in the pub learning about life on the island. We talked with a plumber, a cyclists, an accountant and a cabbie. All has interesting tales to tell. One of them is still married to a woman in Idaho.
16th March 2014

Hey there
On our list now when we go to my homeland of Ireland . Used beer department! Really? You two always have the best smiles when you are traveling and you do great executive summaries, thanks so much.
17th March 2014

Your homeland
Always great to hear from you. There is no doubt we love to travel. Are your roots Irish or Isle of Man? Hope the wedding plans are coming along. We hope to be there.
16th March 2014

Upcoming trip to Ireland
I am looking forward to reading about your trip to Ireland (I'm in the process of planning our trip for next year...) The Isle of Man, though, does interest me... I don't think we will make it there this trip, BUT every time I look up a scene from a movie "where in Ireland is this filmed" - it almost always says "actually filmed on the Isle of Man" - like those cross-roads, that are in ever Irish film!!!
17th March 2014

Ireland
Hopefully our blogs will be helpful in planning your trip to Ireland. Hopefully in the future you will make it to the Isle of Man where you can see where they filmed Waking Ned Devine. They make many movies there. And now we enjoy Ireland.
17th March 2014

How charming!
That sounds like a lovely side trip... love the look of the salmon and eggs breakfast, I should try that when we get home :)
17th March 2014

Salmon and eggs
It was a hearty breakfast and I'm not used to eating that much in the morning but it was so good I could not stop myself. :)
17th March 2014
Davison's ice cream

Davison's!
Couldn't remember the name of the place where I savoured that delicious ice cream in Port Erin. I actually asked a local person why was the quality of the ice-cream so good on Isle of Man and they replied that due to trade or import restrictions (cannot remember which) ice-cream was unable to be obtained from the UK, so it meant that the local ice-cream manufacturers perfected their craft and flourished.
17th March 2014
Davison's ice cream

Perfected their craft and flourished
I sampled the ice cream in Port Erin and in Douglas just to make certain the quality control was doing its job. Indeed both samples were wonderful. They tell me it is the pure cream that does it and I would not want to argue that point.
17th March 2014
Davison's ice cream

Davison's!
Couldn't remember the name of the place where I savoured that delicious ice cream in Port Erin. I actually asked a local person why was the quality of the ice-cream so good on Isle of Man and they replied that due to trade or import restrictions ice-cream was unable to be obtained from the UK, so it meant that the local ice-cream manufacturers perfected their craft and flourished. The quality of ice-cream everywhere on Isle of Man was very high, and I particularly loved the exquisitely soft aftertaste of the local product.
17th March 2014
Davison's ice cream

Davison's Ice Cream Isle of Man
The texture is amazing. We tried the vanilla and the mango raspberry. Both were full of flavor.
17th March 2014

Isle of Man
Hello So glad you are enjoying the Isle of Man, I have been there many times. I think that is where on the water front they closed several Hotels and bard wire for the prisoners during the war ??. Take care Love Mildred
17th March 2014

Isle of Man
Mildred so glad to hear from you. We are enjoying this island. I'm glad you've been here so you can picture where we are. Your comments about the time during the war sounds correct from the information we learned.
17th March 2014

How suprising!
That night shot of the skyline caught my eye - seems bigger than I had imagined it to be from watching many TTs...and now I know where Mack the boys Manx cat hails from :)
17th March 2014

Douglas at night
I liked the shot of the waterfront at night. It was taken in Douglas and there are about 25,000 people. It feels bigger than it is. The TT will be coming again soon.
17th March 2014

Manx cats and all that!
Hi Guys, Great to see you doing it again. I was last in the IOM in 1951! It's a bit like Ireland in that it's cheaper and easier for us to get to France! You're in Paddy-land for the big day! Enjoy every moment.
17th March 2014

Roaming the world
It is good to be doing it again. 1951 was a long time ago maybe you should go back. France is always a good option. Good hearing from you.

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