|Isle of Man
|Motto: Quocunque Jeceris Stabit (Latin)
Whithersoever you throw it, it will stand.
|Anthem: "O Land of Our Birth"
"Arrane Ashoonagh dy Vannin" (Manx)
Royal anthem: "God Save the Queen"
Location of Isle of Man (Green)
(and largest city)
|Official language(s)||English, Manx|
|Government||Crown dependency (UK) Parliamentary democracy (Constitutional monarchy)|
|-||Lord of Mann||HM Queen Elizabeth II|
|-||Lieutenant Governor||Sir Paul Haddacks|
|-||First Deemster||Michael Kerruish|
|-||President of Tynwald||Noel Cringle|
|-||Chief Minister||Tony Brown|
|-||Revested in British crown||1765|
|-||Total||572 km2 (188th)
221 sq mi
|GDP (PPP)||2003 estimate|
|-||Total||$2.113 billion (162nd)|
|-||Per capita||$35,000 (11/12th)|
|HDI (n/a)||n/a (unranked) (n/a)|
|Currency||Pound sterling1 (
|Time zone||GMT (UTC+0)|
|Calling code||+44 (UK area code 01624)|
|1||The Isle of Man Treasury issues its own sterling notes and coins (see Manx pound).|
The Isle of Man (pronounced /ˈmæn/; Manx: Ellan Vannin, pronounced [ˈɛlʲən ˈvanɪn]), otherwise known simply as Mann (Manx: Mannin, [ˈmanɪn]), is a self-governing British Crown Dependency, located in the Irish Sea between the islands of Great Britain and Ireland. The head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, who holds the title of Lord of Mann. The Lord of Mann is represented by a Lieutenant Governor. The island is not part of the United Kingdom but its foreign relations, defence, and ultimate good governance are the responsibility of the Government of the United Kingdom.
The island has been inhabited since before 6500 BC. It began to be influenced by Gaelic culture in the 400s AD and the Manx language, a branch of the Gaelic languages, gradually emerged. In the 800s, the Norse began to settle there. A Gaelic-Norse culture emerged and the island came under Norse control. In 1266 the island became part of Scotland. After a period of alternating rule by the kings of Scotland and England, the island came under the feudal over-lordship of the English Crown in 1399. The lordship revested into the British Crown in 1764 but the island never became part of the United Kingdom and retained its status as an internally self-governing jurisdiction.
Mann is not a part of the European Union, but has a limited relationship concerning the free movement of goods.
The Isle of Man became separated from Britain and Ireland by about 8000 BC. It appears that colonisation took place by sea sometime before 6500 BC. The first residents lived in small natural shelters, hunting, fishing and gathering for their food. They used small tools made of flint or bone, which have been found near the coast. Representatives of these artifacts are kept at the Manx Museum.
The Neolithic Period marked the coming of knowledge of farming, better stone tools and pottery. It was during this period that megalithic monuments began to appear around the island. Examples from this period can be found at Cashtal yn Ard near Maughold, King Orry's Grave in Laxey, Meayll Circle near Cregneash, and Ballaharra Stones in St John's. This was not the only Neolithic culture; there were also the local Ronaldsway and Bann cultures.
During the Bronze Age, the large communal tombs of the megalith builders were replaced with smaller burial mounds. Bodies were put in stone lined graves along with ornamental containers. The Bronze Age burial mounds created long lasting markers about the countryside.
The Iron Age marked the beginning of Celtic cultural influence. Large hill forts appeared on hill summits, and smaller promontory forts along the coastal cliffs, while large timber-framed roundhouses were built. It is likely that the first Celtic tribes to inhabit the Island were of the Brythonic variety. Around AD 700 it is assumed that Irish invasion or immigration formed the basis of the early Manx population. This is evident in the change in language used in Ogham inscriptions. Manx Gaelic remains closely related to Irish and Scots Gaelic.
Viking settlement of Mann began at the end of the 8th century. The Vikings established Tynwald and introduced many land divisions that still exist. They also left the Manx Runestones. Although the Manx language does contain Norse influences, they are few. The Norse Kingdom of Mann and the Isles was created by Godred Crovan in 1079 after the Battle of Skyhill. During Viking times, the islands of this kingdom were called the Súðreyjar or Sudreys ("southern isles") in contrast to the Norðreyjar ("northern isles") of Orkney, Shetland and the Hebrides. This later became Anglicised as Sodor. The Church of England diocese is still called the Diocese of Sodor and Man although it only covers Man.
In 1266, as dictated in the Treaty of Perth, Norway's King Magnus VI ceded the isles to Scotland. Mann came under English control in the 14th century. During this period the Isle was dominated by the Stanley family, who also held the title of Earl of Derby, who had been given possession of Man by King Henry IV. In 1703 the Act of Settlement secured peasant rights and marked the beginning of a move away from feudal government. In 1765, however, the British Crown secured a greater control over the island, without incorporating it into Great Britain, laying the grounds for the island's status as a Crown dependency. In 1866 greater autonomy was restored to the island's parliament and a full transition to democracy began. The Isle quickly developed as a finance centre and tourist destination, becoming increasingly prosperous during the 20th century. During both the First and Second World Wars the island was used as a location for internment camps for Central Powers and Axis citizens and suspected sympathisers, respectively.
Tynwald, the island's parliament, was nominally founded in AD 979. It is arguably the oldest continuous parliament in the world. The annual ceremonial meeting in July on Tynwald Day, the island's national day, continues to be held at Tynwald Hill, where titles are announced and a brief description of the new laws enacted by Tynwald during the previous year is given.
As well as the main island of Mann itself, the Isle of Man includes some nearby small islands: the seasonally inhabited Calf of Man; Chicken Rock on which stands an unmanned lighthouse; and St Patrick's Isle and St Michael's Isle, both connected to the mainland by permanent roads/causeways.
Mann is located in the middle of the northern Irish Sea, approximately equidistant from the islands of Britain and Ireland. In the context of Britain, the island lies closest to Scotland followed by England and then Wales.
The Isle is 52 kilometres (32 mi) long and 22 kilometres (14 mi) wide at its widest point. It has an area of around 572 square kilometres (221 sq mi).
Hills in the north and south are bisected by a central valley. The extreme north is exceptionally flat, consisting mainly of deposits built up by deposition from glacial advances from western Scotland during colder times. There are more recently deposited shingle beaches at the Point of Ayre. The island has only one mountain higher than 600 metres (2,000 ft), Snaefell, with a height of 620 metres (2,034 ft). According to an old saying, from the summit one can see six kingdoms: those of Mann, Scotland, England, Ireland, Wales, and Heaven. Some versions add a seventh kingdom, that of North Ireland, the Sea, or Neptune.
According to the 2006 interim census, Mann is home to 80,058 people, of whom 26,218 reside in the island's capital, Douglas. Most of the population was born in the British Isles, with 47.6% born in Mann, 37.2% born in England, 3.4% in Scotland, 2.1% in Northern Ireland, 2.1% in the Republic of Ireland, 1.2% in Wales and 0.3% born in the Channel Islands.
The Isle of Man Full Census, most recently held in 2001, has been a ten-yearly occurrence since 1821, with interim censuses being introduced from 1966. It is separate from, but similar to, the Census in the United Kingdom.
The 2001 Census was conducted by the Economic Affairs Division of the Isle of Man Treasury, under the authority of the Census Act 1929.
The Isle of Man has a temperate climate, with cool summers and mild winters. Average rainfall is higher than the average for the British Isles, due to its location to the west of Great Britain and sufficient distance from Ireland for moisture to be accumulated by the prevailing south-westerly winds. Average rainfall is highest at Snaefell, where it is around 1900 mm a year. At lower levels it can be around 800 mm a year. Temperatures remain fairly cool, with the recorded maximum being 28.9 °C at Ronaldsway.
The United Kingdom is responsible for the island's defence and ultimately for good governance, and for representing the island in international forums, while the island's own parliament and government have competence over all domestic matters.
The island's parliament is Tynwald, which dates from at least AD 979 and is the oldest continuously existing ruling body in the world. Tynwald is a bicameral legislature, comprising the House of Keys (directly elected by universal suffrage) and the Legislative Council (consisting of indirectly elected and ex-officio members). These two bodies meet together in joint session as Tynwald.
The executive branch of government is the Council of Ministers, which is composed of members of Tynwald. It is headed by the Chief Minister, currently Tony Brown MHK. The Council of Ministers comprises the greater part of the House of Keys.
Under British law, Mann is not part of the United Kingdom. However, the UK takes care of its external and defence affairs, and retains paramount power to legislate for the island. There are no independent military forces on Mann. There is an independent Isle of Man police force, which is controlled directly by the Isle of Man Government, but which nonetheless voluntarily submits to inspection by the UK inspectorate of police.
Citizenship in Mann is governed by UK law. Passports issued by the Isle of Man Passport Office say "British Islands - Isle of Man" on the cover but the nationality status stated on the passport is simply "British Citizen". However, although Manx passport holders are British citizens, because Mann is not part of the European Union, those without a grandparent born in the UK (or who have not lived continuously for a period of five or more years in the UK) do not have the same rights as other British citizens with regard to employment and establishment in the EU. Isle of Man passports can be issued to any British citizen in Mann (whether or not that person has "Manx status" under the local Isle of Man employment laws). They can also be issued to Manx-connected British citizens residing in the UK or any of the other Crown Dependencies.
Mann holds neither membership nor associate membership of the European Union. Protocol 3 of the UK's Act of Accession to the Treaty of Rome permits trade for Manx goods without tariffs. In conjunction with the Customs and Excise agreement with the UK, this facilitates free trade with the UK. While Manx goods can be freely moved within the EU, capital and services cannot be. EU citizens are entitled to travel and reside in the island without restriction.
Mann is not itself a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. By virtue of its relationship with the United Kingdom, it takes part in several Commonwealth institutions, including the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and the Commonwealth Games.
Most Manx politicians stand for election as independents rather than as representatives of political parties. Though political parties do exist, their influence is not nearly as strong as in the United Kingdom. The largest political party is the recently established Liberal Vannin Party, which promotes greater Manx independence and more accountability in Government. A nationalist pressure group Mec Vannin advocates the establishment of a sovereign republic.
Local government on the Isle of Man is based around the concept of ancient parishes. There are two types of local authorities: a corporation for the Borough of Douglas, and bodies of 'commissioners' for the town districts of Castletown, Peel and Ramsey, the village districts of Kirk Michael, Laxey, Onchan, Port Erin and Port St Mary, and the 15 'parish districts' (those parishes or parts of parishes which do not fall within the districts previously mentioned). Local authorities are under the supervision of the Isle of Man Government's Department of Local Government and the Environment (DOLGE).
The Isle of Man is a "low tax economy" with no capital gains tax, wealth tax, stamp duty, or inheritance tax and a top rate of income tax of 20%. A "tax cap" is in force. The maximum amount of tax payable by an individual is £100,000 or £200,000 for couples if they choose to have their incomes jointly assessed. The £100,000 tax cap equates to an assessable income of approximately £570,000. Personal income is assessed and taxed on a total 'worldwide' income basis rather than a remittance basis. This means that all income earned throughout the world is assessable for Manx tax rather than only income earned in or brought into the Island.
The rate of corporation tax is 0% for almost all types of income, the only exceptions are that the profits of banks are taxed at 10%, as is rental (or other) income from land and buildings situated on Mann.
Offshore banking, manufacturing, and tourism form key sectors of the economy. Agriculture and fishing, once the mainstays of the economy, now make declining contributions to the Island's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Trade takes place mostly with the United Kingdom. The island is in customs union with the UK, and related revenues are pooled and shared under the Common Purse Agreement.
The Manx government promotes island locations for making films by contributing to the production costs. Since 1995 over eighty films have been made on the island.
The main telephone provider on the Isle of Man is Manx Telecom. At present, the island has two mobile operators: Manx Telecom, previously known as Manx Pronto, and Sure. For a short time, Cloud9 operated as a third mobile operator on the island, but has since withdrawn. Broadband internet services are available through four local providers which are Wi-Manx, Domicilium, Manx Computer Bureau and Manx Telecom. The island does not have its own ITU country code, but is accessed via the UK's code (+44) and the island's telephone numbers are part of the UK telephone numbering plan with local dialling codes 01624 (landlines) and 07624/07924 (mobiles).
In 1996, the Isle of Man Government obtained permission to use the .im national top-level domain (TLD) and has ultimate responsibility for its use. The domain is managed on a daily basis by Domicilium, an island-based internet service provider.
In December 2007, the Manx Electricity Authority and its telecommunications subsidiary, e-llan Communications commissioned the lighting of a new fibre-optic link that connects the island to a worldwide fibre-optic network.
There is no insular television service and local transmitters retransmit analogue broadcasts of BBC 1 and BBC 2 (with BBC North West regional programmes), ITV1 (with Granada Television regional programming) and Channel 4. Freeview is available through the local transmitters with a limited local service of digital terrestrial television being shown. However, in areas where local geography is favourable, terrestrial television (including digital terrestrial) can be received direct from transmitters located in the United Kingdom or Republic of Ireland, with all freeviews services being available in these areas.
Many TV services are available by satellite, such as Sky Digital, and Freesat from the group of satellites at 28.2° east , as well as services from a range of other satellites around Europe such as the Astra satellites at 19.2° east and Hotbird.
Mann has three newspapers, all weeklies, and all owned by Isle of Man Newspapers. The Isle of Man Courier (distribution 36,318) is free and distributed to homes on the island. The other two newspapers are Isle of Man Examiner (circulation 13,276) and the Manx Independent (circulation 12,255).
The island has a total of 688 miles (1,107 km) of public roads, all of which are paved. Many of the roads on the island have no speed limit.
The Isle of Man Sea Terminal in Douglas is served by frequent ferries to and from Liverpool and Heysham and more limited summer-only services to and from Belfast and Dublin. All ferries are operated by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company.
The only commercial airport on the island is the Isle of Man Airport at Ronaldsway. There are scheduled and chartered flights to numerous mainland UK airports, as well as to airports in France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland.
The island used to have an extensive narrow-gauge railway system, both steam-operated and electric, but the majority of the steam railway tracks have been taken out of service and the track removed. Currently there is a steam railway which runs between Douglas and Port Erin, an electric railway which runs between Douglas and Ramsey and an electric mountain railway which climbs Snaefell. The lines are mostly operated for the benefit of tourists, though some people use them for commuting.
There is a comprehensive bus network, operated by Isle of Man Transport.
The culture of the Isle of Man is influenced by its Celtic and to a lesser extent its Norse origins, though its close proximity to the UK, period as a UK tourist destination and recent mass immigration by British migrant workers has meant that British influence has been dominant since the Revestment period. Recent revival campaigns have attempted to preserve the surviving vestiges of Manx culture after a long period of Anglicisation, and significant interest in the Manx language, history and musical tradition has been the result.
The origin of the name Isle of Man is unclear. In the Manx Gaelic language the Isle of Man is known as Ellan Vannin, where ellan is a Gaelic word meaning 'island'. The earliest form of 'Man' is Manu or Mana giving the genitive name Manann leading to the word Mannin, which is lenited when used after the feminine word Ellan, giving Mhannin. As 'mh' is pronounced like a 'v' in Goidelic languages, in modern Manx the name becomes Ellan Vannin. These forms are related to the figure of Celtic mythology known as Manannán to the Irish and Manawydan to the Welsh.
The name enters recorded history as Mona (Julius Caesar, 54 BC), and is also recorded as Monapia or Monabia (Pliny the Elder, AD 77), Monœda (Ptolemy, AD 150), Mevania or Mænavia (Paulus Orosius, 416), and Eubonia or Eumonia by Irish writers. In Welsh records it is Manaw, and in the Icelandic sagas it is Mön. Though Mann was never incorporated into the Roman Empire, the island was noted in Greek and Roman accounts where it was called variously Monapia, Mοναοιδα (Monaoida), Mοναρινα (Monarina), Menavi and Mevania. The Old Welsh and Old Irish names for Mann, Mano and Manau, also occur in Manau Gododdin, the name for an ancient district in north Britain along the lower Firth of Forth . The name is probably connected with the Welsh name of the island of Anglesey, Ynys Môn and possibly with the Celtic root reflected in Welsh mynydd, Breton menez, Scottish Gaelic monadh ‘mountain’ . These probably derive from the Proto-Indo-European root *men- ‘to tower’ referring to the island apparently rising out of the Irish Sea on the horizon.
The Manx Gaelic language is a Goidelic Celtic language and is one of a number of insular Celtic languages spoken in the British Isles. Manx Gaelic has been officially recognised as a legitimate autochthonous regional language under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, ratified by the United Kingdom on 27 March 2001 on behalf of the Isle of Man government.
The Manx language is closely related to the Irish language and Scottish Gaelic. By the middle of the 20th century only a few elderly native speakers remained: the last of them, Ned Maddrell, died on 27 December 1974. By then a scholarly revival had begun to spread to the populace and many had learned Manx as a second language. The first native speakers of Manx (bilingual with English) in many years have now appeared: children brought up by Manx-speaking parents. Primary immersion education in Manx is provided by the Manx government: since 2003, the former St John's School building has been used by the Bunscoill Gaelgagh (Manx language-medium school). Degrees in Manx are available from the Isle of Man College and the Centre for Manx Studies. Manx-language playgroups also exist and Manx language classes are available in island schools. In the 2001 census, 1,689 out of 76,315, or 2.2% of the population, claimed to have knowledge of Manx, although the degree of knowledge in these cases was presumably varied.
In common use are the greetings moghrey mie and fastyr mie which mean 'good morning' and 'good afternoon' respectively. The Manx language knows no 'evening' as it is 'afternoon'. Another frequently heard Manx expression is traa dy liooar meaning 'time enough', and represents a stereotypical view of the Manx attitude to life.
For centuries, the island's symbol has been its ancient triskelion, a device similar to Sicily's Trinacria: three bent legs, each with a spur, joined at the thigh. The Manx triskelion does not appear to have an official design; government publications, currency, flags, the tourist authority and others all use different variants. Most, but not all, preserve rotational symmetry, some running clockwise, others anti-clockwise. Some have the uppermost thigh at 12:00, others at 11:30 or 10:00, etc. Some have the knee bent at 90°, some at 60°, some at closer to 120°. Also the degree of ornamentation of the leg wear and spur varies considerably.
The three legs are reflected in the island's motto (adopted late in the symbol's history): Quocunque Jeceris Stabit, traditionally translated from Latin as 'Whithersoever you throw it, it will stand', or 'Whichever way you throw it, it will stand'.
The origin of the 'Three Legs of Man' (as they are usually called) is explained in the Manx legend that Manannan repelled an invasion by transforming into the three legs and rolling down the hill and defeating the invaders.
Variations on the Manx triskelion are still in use on the coats of arms belonging to the different branches of the ancient Norwegian noble family that ruled Mann until the 13th century. This particular version belongs to the Skancke branch of the Skanke family. The name stems from skank, the Norwegian version of the word 'shank', or 'leg'. The Norse royal family of Man stayed on the island for some years after the death of Magnus III and the beginning of Scottish rule. The family's emigration only came after the final attempt on the part of the Manx at restoring the old Sudreyar dynasty in the 1275 uprising against the Scots. This revolt failed disastrously, ending in the deaths of hundreds of rebels, including the last Norse King of Mann, Godred VI Magnuson when the Manx suffered defeat in the decisive Battle of Ronaldsway, near Castletown. When the Norse-Manx royals arrived in Norway they took service as nobles of the Norwegian king, quickly becoming knights, landlords, and clergy under the Norwegian Crown.
The predominant religious tradition of the island is Christianity, and the ancient Christian Church of the island is today part of the Anglican Communion. The diocese has an unbroken history from 1154 to the present day, during which there have been many changes in tradition and detail. As with all ancient Anglican churches, the diocese was once (and until the Reformation) part of the then mainstream of western Christian tradition, the Roman Catholic Church. The diocese has been part of the national churches of Norway, Scotland, and England. It has also come under the influence of Irish religious tradition. Since 1541 its bishop and 28 parishes have been part of the Province of York.
Other Christian churches also operate on Mann. The second largest denomination is the Methodist Church, which is close in size to the Anglican diocese. There are eight Roman Catholic parish churches, under the authority of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Liverpool. Additionally there are five Baptist churches, four Pentecostal churches, and two United Reformed churches.
There is a small Jewish community on the island, with a synagogue in Douglas.
In Manx mythology, the island was ruled by Manannán mac Lir, a Celtic sea god, who would draw his misty cloak around the island to protect it from invaders. One of the principal theories about the origin of the name Mann is that it is named after Manannan.
In the Manx tradition of folklore, there are many stories of mythical creatures and characters. These include the Buggane, a malevolent spirit who according to legend blew the roof off St Trinian's Church in a fit of pique; the Fenodyree; the Glashtyn; and the Moddey Dhoo, a ghostly black dog who wandered the walls and corridors of Peel Castle.
Mann is also said to be home to fairies, known locally as 'the little folk' or 'themselves'. There is a famous Fairy Bridge and it is said to be bad luck if one fails to wish the fairies good morning or afternoon when passing over it. It used to be a tradition to leave a coin on the bridge to ensure good luck. Other types of fairies are the Mi'raj and the Arkan Sonney.
An old Irish story tells how Lough Neagh was formed when Ireland's legendary giant Fionn mac Cumhaill (commonly anglicised to Finn McCool) scooped up a portion of the land and tossed it at a Scottish rival. He missed, and the chunk of earth landed in the Irish Sea, thus creating the island.
Traditionally the national dish of the island is 'Spuds and Herrin', boiled potatoes and herring. This plain dish is chosen because of its role supporting the subsistence farmers of the island, who crofted the land and fished the sea for centuries. Another foodstuff long associated with the island is the kipper, a smoked herring.
A more recent claim for the title of national dish would be the ubiquitous chips, cheese and gravy. This dish, which is similar to poutine, is found in most of the island's fast-food outlets, and consists of thick cut chips, covered in shredded Manx Cheddar cheese and topped with a thick gravy.
Seafood has traditionally accounted for a large proportion of the local diet. Although commercial fishing has declined in recent years, local delicacies include Manx kippers (smoked herring) which are produced by the smokeries in Peel on the west coast of the island, albeit mainly from North Sea herring these days. The smokeries also produce other specialities including smoked salmon and bacon.
Crab, lobster and scallops are commercially fished, and the Queen Scallop ('Queenies') is regarded as a particular delicacy, with a light, sweet flavour. Cod, ling and mackerel are often angled for the table, and freshwater trout and salmon can be taken from the local rivers and lakes, supported by the Government fish hatchery at Cornaa.
Cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry are all commercially farmed, Manx lamb from the hill-farms being a popular dish. The Loaghtan, the indigenous breed of Manx sheep, has a rich, dark meat that has found favour with chefs, featuring in dishes on the BBC's Masterchef series.
Manx cheese has been a particular success, featuring smoked and herb-flavoured varieties and is stocked by many of the UK's supermarket chains. Manx cheese took bronze medals in the 2005 British Cheese Awards, and sold 578 tonnes over the year.
Beer is brewed on a commercial scale by Okells Brewery (established in 1850) and Bushy's Brewery.
The Isle of Man is represented as a nation in the Commonwealth Games and the Island Games and will be hosting the IV Commonwealth Youth Games in 2011. Manx sports people have won three golds at the Commonwealth Games, the most recent being Mark Cavendish, a professional cyclist, in 2006 in the Scratch race. Cavendish has had great success in cycling, having won ten stages of the Tour de France to date. The island started the Island Games in 1985, and also hosted the Island Games in 2001.
Isle of Man teams and individuals participate in many sports both on and off the island including rugby union, football, gymnastics, hockey, netball, bowling and cricket. It being an island, many types of watersports are also popular with residents.
The main international motorcycle event associated with the island is the Isle of Man TT, which began in 1907 and takes place in late May and early June. It is now an international road racing event for motorbikes and used to be part of the World Championship. The Manx Grand Prix is a motorcycle event for amateurs and private entrants that uses the same 60.70 km (37.74 mi)  Snaefell Mountain Course in late August and early September.
Cammag is the national sport of Mann. It is similar to the Irish hurling, and Scottish game of shinty. Once the most popular sport on the island, it ceased to be played by the start of the 20th century. It has more recently been revived with an annual match at St John's.
|Currency||Isle of Man Pound (IMP); this is maintained at parity (£1=£1) with Sterling (GBP) and British (including Scottish and Northern Irish) currency circulates freely.|
|Area||572 sq km|
|Population||73,873 (July 2002 est.)|
|Language||English, Manx Gaelic|
|Religion||Anglican, Roman Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, Society of Friends|
|Electricity||230V/50Hz (UK or European plug)|
The Isle of Man  (in Manx, Ellan Vannin) is an island in the British Isles, located in the Irish Sea between the islands of Great Britain and Ireland. It is a British Crown dependency (and therefore not part of the United Kingdom itself); the UK is responsible for defence and foreign affairs. The island has its own government (headed by a Chief Minister) and parliament - "Tynwald" (consisting of the democratically-elected "House of Keys" and the nominated "Legislative Council".) The Isle of Man is not a full member of the European Union, but an associate member.
Temperate; cool summers and mild winters; overcast about one-third of the time. The Island typically enjoys 'British' weather tempered by the effects of the Gulf Stream that runs through the surrounding Irish Sea. Exposure to sea breezes keeps average summer temperatures in the early to mid twenties centigrade, while winters tend to hover around 9 degrees and snow sometimes strikes in late February/ early March. The thick sea fog that occasionally smothers the island's lowland areas is known locally as Manannan's Cloak, a reference to the Island's ancient Sea God swathing his kingdom in mist to protect it from unwanted visitors.
A plain in the far north, with hills in north and south bisected by central valley. One small islet, the Calf of Man, lies to the southwest, and is a bird sanctuary. The highest point is Snaefell, at 621 meters above sea level.
The Isle of Man was part of the Norwegian Kingdom of the Hebrides until the 13th century when it was ceded to Scotland. The Duke of Atholl sold the sovereignty of the isle to the British crown in 1765, henceforth the British monarch has also held the title "Lord of Mann". Current concerns include reviving the almost extinct Manx Celtic language.
A number of airlines operate regular services to the Isle of Man from regional airports throughout the British Isles such as Manchester, Liverpool, Dublin, Belfast, London (Gatwick, Luton, London City) and Birmingham.
The Isle of Man Airport  is located at Ronaldsway, near Castletown, in the south of the island. There are regular bus services from the Airport to Castletown and Douglas.
There are many flights operating from the island's Ronaldsway airport to several destinations in England, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and the Channel Islands. The only airline based on the island, Manx2  operates flights to Belfast from £15 one-way including tax.
Ferries operated by the Steam Packet Company  to Douglas from:
The island has two main historic narrow-gauge railways, both starting from (separate) stations in Douglas.
In the south of the island, the Isle of Man Railway is a historic narrow-gauge steam railway operating between Douglas, Castletown and Port Erin (except during winter months).
In the north of the island, the Manx Electric Railway runs between Douglas and Ramsey (using the original historic tramcars from the 1890s.)
Additionally, the Snaefell Mountain Railway (to the summit of Snaefell) starts from Laxey, where connections with the Manx Electric Railway are available. The Groudle Glen Railway is a small steam-operated railway (take the Manx Electric Railway from Douglas and change at Groudle Glen.)
Cars can be hired from various locations on the island, including the airport and Douglas Sea Terminal. Local agents operate on behalf of major international rental firms.
The Isle of Man has a very extensive road network which is passably well maintained. Congestion is low (outside Douglas at rush hour). Rules of the road closely mirror those of the United Kingdom with the exception that there is no overall speed limit for private vehicles (in other words, in a derestricted zone there is no blanket 70 or 60 mph limit like there is in the UK). Drive on the left. It is illegal to use a hand held mobile phone whilst driving. Petrol is expensive, even by UK standards.
Many of the country roads are narrow with substantial stone walls on each side, making evasive driving potentially tricky. Despite the absence of speed limits outside urban areas, caution is advised.
Caravans (camper trailers) may not be brought to the island.
The Isle of Man has a quite extensive public transit system using mostly buses. With a bit of planning, it is possible to get almost everywhere on the Island using this transit system.
The island's capital, Douglas, has horse drawn trams operating along the Promenade (linking with the Manx Electric Railway). This is really a novelty available during the summer rather than a serious way of getting anywhere in particular.
English is the first language of all but a very small number of native speakers of Manx Gaelic. All children on the Isle of Man have the option to study Manx at school, and there have been efforts to revive the language. It is a descendant of Old Irish, along with Irish Gaelic and Scottish Gaelic. One of the most striking elements of the language is many consonant mutations can occur, e.g., Doolish (the Manx name for Douglas), can easily become Ghoolish.
Many UK chain stores are represented in the Island (mainly in the capital, Douglas); for example, Boots, WH Smith, Waterstone's, Marks and Spencer, Next, B&Q. The island has its own supermarket chain, Shoprite, with branches in Peel, Douglas, Ramsey, Castletown and Port Erin. UK-based supermarkets (such as Tesco) also have branches. There is a small 'lifestyle' shopping centre at Tynwald Mills near St John's, with a number of outlets selling upmarket clothing, furnishings and gifts.
Uniquely Manx products include Smoked Kippers and Manx Tartan.
Manx food is often very good and continues to improve. Some good restaurants and bistros can be found. Fish and chips are also popular. Crab baps are available from a kiosk on Peel Quay.
There are several varieties of Manx cheese. Boxes of Manx kippers can be ordered for delivery by post.
A local speciality worth trying is chips, cheese and gravy, similar to the Canadian dish poutine.
Another favourite available as a takeaway is a baked potato with a topping such as chili.
The Isle of Man has two breweries, Okells and Bushy's. The Isle of Man has a beer purity law that permits no ingredients in beer other than water, yeast, hops and malt. Accordingly, a well-kept pint of Manx beer is worth seeking out.
Wine is quite reasonably priced and readily available in food stores.
The majority of hotels are located in Douglas, including the traditional seafront hotels on the Douglas Promenade. Standards can be variable - some are rather dated and in need of refurbishment. More luxurious hotels (up to four stars) are also available.
There is no university on the island, although the University of Liverpool runs some courses. There is an Isle of Man College, and an International Business School .
The Isle of Man has very low unemployment, largely because of the financial sector. Seasonal work in the tourism industry is available, but note that a Work Permit is required to work on the island (including persons from the UK) obtainable from the Isle of Man Government. 
The Isle of Man is generally a fairly safe place. In an emergency contact the Isle of Man Constabulary (the island's police force) on 999.
Town centres have real glass in bus shelters and graffiti has become a thing of the past.
Health conditions are very similar to the UK. The island has a well-equipped modern hospital (Noble's Hospital, near Douglas) but some complicated medical conditions may require removal to the UK.
The Isle of Man is still a fairly socially conservative place, although some major social reforms (in line with the rest of western Europe) have been legislated for by Tynwald, the Manx parliament.
Capital punishment for murder was officially abolished as recently as 1993 - although no execution had taken place on the island for over 100 years. Corporal punishment has also been abolished - it was used for young male offenders until the mid 1970s.
People from the Isle of Man are known as Manx. The Manx are very proud of their identity; the Manx flag will be frequently seen. To dismiss the island as just a "tax haven" may cause annoyance; the finance industry is the major employer and considerable efforts have been made by the Manx authorities to improve the regulation and propriety of this industry. Nevertheless, taxes are considerably lower than in the UK - although Valued Added Tax is the same by agreement between the Manx and UK Governments.
The UK is often referred to simply as "across" (i.e., travelling across to the UK.)
The international dial code for the Isle of Man is the same as the United Kingdom and as part of the UK telephone system has the dial code 01624
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The Isle of Man is a Crown dependency off the coast of South-west Scotland, Northern Ireland, north-west England, and north Wales. Its capital and largest town is Douglas.
The adjective for the people and animals and one of the official languages is "Manx".
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