Find us on Google+ Isle Of Man Property For Sale: September 2012
- Love Where You Live!

Friday, 28 September 2012

Planning Applications

Latest planning applications from the Department of Infrastructure.

via Isle of Man Today - Planning Applications Feed

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Ainsley Harriott on the Isle of Man on Vimeo

Ainsley Harriott on the Isle of Man on Vimeo:

Brought to you by Manx Radio, Ainsley Harriott speaks to Reel Vision Films about his appreciation of the Isle of Man and what he plans on cooking at the Isle of Man Food and Drink Festival 2012

'via Blog this'

Isle of Man Property Sales

JAMES Longden Rydeard sold Ballamodha Lodge, Ballamodha, Malew, for £800,000 to Jonathan Howard Bradburn, Ashbourne House, Ballacraine, St John’s.

via Isle of Man Today - Property Lettings Feed

Friday, 21 September 2012

Online Real-Estate Listing Company Trulia Starts Trading On NYSE

Buying real estate might not always be a smart bet, but investing in online real-estate listing company Trulia just might be. The San Francisco-based company Trulia (TRLA), started trading Thursday on the NYSE and enjoyed a 41 percent stock price pop by the trading day’s close Thursday.

Though it didn’t quite hit the 45 percent pop analysts were expecting, it was still a very good day for Trulia. Part of its success came from conservatively pricing its shares at just seven times its 2011 revenue, says Sam Hamadeh, CEO of analyst firm PrivCo. “That’s a lesson learned for upcoming consumer internet IPO attempts,” he says.

There were early indications that Trulia’s opening day was going to go well. With real estate showing some sustained signs of a rebound in the United States, the 5-year-old company priced its stock at $17 per share, above the expected range of $14-$16. The stock opened Thursday morning at $22.10 per share and jumped to a peak of $25.07 in the afternoon before closing the day at $24 even, a 41% jump. The company raised $102 million with its 6 million share offering. Lead underwriters were J.P. Morgan and Deutsche Bank Securities.

Trulia is the second high-profile consumer internet initial public offering since Facebook (FB) IPO’d in May. Travel site Kayak (KYAK) went public in July and closed Thursday at $33, 2 percent above its IPO price. In addition to braving what many believed would be a very tough market for internet companies thanks to Facebook, Trulia was one of the first Silicon Valley companies to file its prospectus under the JOBS Act, which allowed it to keep its filing confidential up until 21 days before its investor roadshow began. That quiet period was designed to prevent sometimes-embarrassing public changes to an S-1 filing, similar to what Groupon experienced when its internal accounting calculations were off and it had to issue a correction.

The Trulia IPO follows last year’s successful public offering of Seattle-based Zillow (Z), a competing real estate search site. Zillow’s stock price has soared 72% in the last year. Clearly, Trulia is hoping Wall Street shows a similar affinity for its shares over time, even as the two companies compete in the marketplace for customers and investors.

Both Trulia and Zillow help house and rental hunters find listings based on location, price, and size. Trulia boasts a database of 15 million general property listings, including rental and for-sale listings. Brokers and agents also use Zillow and Trulia to find potential buyers and renters that show interest in the properties they represent. Feeling some heat from the competition, Zillow filed a lawsuit on September 12 against Trulia for allegedly infringing on its home valuation technology, branded as “Zestimates.” Given Trulia’s impressive first day on the market, investors seem to have shrugged the suit off for now.

Trulia and Zillow are counting on the rebounding housing market to boost their businesses. Both companies earn their revenue from subscription services for real estate agents and ad sales, so the more people buying, selling, or looking at property, the better it is for their bottom lines. Trulia may not enjoy Zillow’s $3 million profit in the first half of 2012 (Trulia lost $7.6 million in the same period and hasn’t been in the black since it was founded in 2005), but the site is growing. Trulia reported in July that it has 22 million unique visitors. Of the 360,000 real estate professionals that Trulia says use the site, 21,544 pay for its pro service, which helps find and manage buyer leads, and starts at $39 per month.

For those who believed the Facebook IPO would continue to squash enthusiasm for all Internet IPOs, Trulia’s first-day triumph should help investors get excited about upcoming offerings, Hamadeh says. “Today’s pop will get people’s attention and urge IPO investors to, at least, give consumer Internet IPOs coming up this fall a second look now,” says Hamadeh. At least as long as those companies price their shares conservatively, and aren’t in the business of social networking.


Monday, 17 September 2012

Big portals react to change in Estate Agents Act

Both Rightmove and Zoopla were asked by EAT whether the change to the Estate Agents Act will affect their business models and/or property listings.

We also asked whether they would accept listings from ‘passive intermediaries’ who essentially list properties for sale privately – with some concern being expressed by agents that this is already be happening.

Rightmove was the more wary of the two.

A spokesman for Rightmove said: “We will be carefully reviewing the changes announced to understand if they have any implications for media companies such as Rightmove.”

A spokesperson for Zoopla gave a more unequivocal statement.

He said: “We do not accept advertising on any of our websites from either private sellers directly or indirectly from intermediaries for private sellers, and the changes to the Estate Agents Act will not alter this.

“In order to list properties with us, members need to operate and be instructed by the vendor as the agent for the property and be responsible for, amongst other things, preparing the marketing details, conducting viewings and intermediating negotiations.

“Estate agents play a fundamental role in the process of buying and selling homes, and whilst there is obvious appeal to the concept of saving money through DIY home-selling, more often than not this proves to be a false economy, with private sellers either failing to achieve the best price or failing to achieve a sale at all and ultimately ending up at an estate agent’s door having wasted time and money trying to go it alone.”

Sunday, 16 September 2012

12 Ways Real Estate Agents Can Move Up In Search Results

You’ve probably figured this out by now: “homes for sale” in your city is one  of the most competitive search queries on Google. If you’ve accepted the fact  that your website will only get up to the 10th page – DON’T! There are a lot of  things you can do to move your website further up in search engine results, if  you are willing to put in a little work. The payoff will be occupying the most  valuable real estate on the web! Here are 12 ways real estate agents can move up  in search results:

Focus On Specific Keywords
You cannot skip this step because every step after it is based on this one.  These keywords represent what people are searching to get to your website. I  could write endless blog posts on how to choose keywords and do keyword research, but here are 3 basic tips:

Choose 5 keywords to focus in total on your website, and use only one (maybe  2) for each website page. I know that might not seem like a lot. But, what you  are aiming for is more precise targeting. If you have 20 keywords, your site  will be watered down, and you won’t rank very high for any of them. But, if you  have a small manageable list of keywords, you can focus all of your content  around those and be more competitive against sites that are trying to do it  all.
Choose keywords that are popular, but maybe not the most popular. Everyone  will go for the search term that is the most popular. But sometimes the 2nd or  3rd most popular keywords still have a high volume of search traffic, but might  have less competition.
Keep your keywords up to date. As a real estate agent, you know what  communities are booming and where people most desire to live. Take advantage of  that knowledge and tailor your keywords to one or two of those micro areas.  You’ll pick up added SEO value where the big guys may not be looking  yet.
Add A Blog To Your Website
Blogging is one of the primary ways you will become competitive in search  engines. Make sure the root domain of your blog is your website, and it’s on a  good blogging platform like WordPress. Also, when you’re blogging make use of  the different headings (heading 1, heading 2, heading 3, etc) to organize your  posts (just like how this blog post is organized), and include your keywords in  these headings if you can. You’ll find these in the text editing section  options.

Install A Good SEO Plugin
Once you have your blog, add a good plugin to help guide you in adding  keywords properly to your blog posts. If you’re using WordPress, my favorite is  the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast.

Write A Blog Post Everyday
What? You want to be competitive, right? This is the most valuable real  estate on the web we’re talking about here! Yes, you should write a blog post  everyday. If you have other agents working in the office with you, take turns!  Or, hire a writer. Make sure you have a solid content marketing strategy so that  you know what to write about, and include those 5 keywords cleverly in your  posts (one keyword for each post).

Add Social Sharing Buttons To Your Site
Add buttons that will easily allow readers to share your blog posts on their  social networks – Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, etc. The more shares  your content gets, the better your content will rank in search engines. When  you’re writing your blog posts, keep this in mind and write blogs that people  will want to share.

Use Video Regularly
Videos uploaded to YouTube are a great way to add more  content to be found by search engines. Set up your YouTube channel so it is  branded properly and clearly directs viewers to your website. Videos should be  less than 3 minutes. 90 seconds is about the perfect length. You can video  anything: house tours, neighborhood tours, customer testimonials, tips for  selling your house, interviews with agents and staff. Be creative! And no, you  don’t need professional camera equipment to pull this off. If you have an iPhone  or a FlipCam, you’re armed with all the equipment you need. Once you upload them  to YouTube, make sure that the description and the tags include one or two of  your keywords, as well as a great description of what the video is.

Post Photos Regularly
Take tons of photos of your properties. When you upload them to your  computer, make sure you change all of the file names to include one of your  keywords and then a couple extra description words, all in lower case letters  and no spaces. For example, if you’re taking a photo of a home in Orlando and  one of your keywords is homes in Orlando, label the photo  orlando-homes-address-room.jpg. Then upload them to a good photo sharing site  like Flickr, and tag them with a keyword and a good description, including a  link to more information on your website. Also add them to your website, using  keywords in the ALT tags and descriptions. These photos are also very valuable  for posting on your social networks – just make sure they are good photos! Spend  some time learning how to take a good photo, especially since your photos do not  have a human subject to focus on.

Create A Facebook Page…And Update It
Create a Facebook page, and add as much content and photos as possible – using a few of your keywords. Your Facebook page will be one more piece of  property on the web that you own that can be found in search results. Once you  have it all set up, make sure that you are updating it every other day. If you  have followed the other steps, you should have plenty of blog posts, photos, and  videos to post. But, also remember that Facebook (and any social network) is a  two way street. Ask questions, have conversations, solve problems, interact with  followers through your Facebook page, and you will increase the exposure of your  site.

Claim Your Office On Google Places
Claim your office on Google Places, and fill out the info completely making  sure to use a few of your keywords in your description and categories, if  possible. All of those real estate directories that usually hog up the first few  pages of Google can’t compete when it comes to local search of agents. The more  complete your information is and the more reviews you have, the higher up your  office will rank in local map search.

Create A Google+ Page
Like it or not, Google gives preference to their social network in search  engines. Completely fill out your Google+ page and include a few of your  keywords as well as your photos and videos. Once you’ve done this, you should  update it regularly with your blog posts, and also add everyone at least into  your peripheral circles. The reason being Google customizes each person’s search  results, and if they have you in their circles, your updates will rank higher in  their search results. This is just the beginning of what’s being identified as  social search. Not a lot of agencies have caught wind of it yet, so you will  have a competitive advantage if you lay the groundwork and start doing this  early.

Ask For Reviews & Testimonials
Like I said in the Google Places step, the more reviews you have there the  higher your agency will rank. After every closing, send a thank you note (email  or snail mail) along with a link to your Google Places page requesting a review  of their experience.


Isle of Man Food and Drink Festival 2012 at Knockaloe Farm, Patrick, next weekend

THE Isle of Man Food and Drink Festival 2012 will get things cooking at Knockaloe Farm, Patrick, next weekend.

Featuring celebrity TV chef Ainsley Harriott this year’s two-day event, which has moved from The Nunnery at the last minute due to soggy ground problems, promises to be even more jam-packed and full-flavoured than ever.

Taking place on Saturday and Sunday (September 22 and 23) between 10am and 5pm (last entry at 4pm), the family-friendly festival will include the usual array of food and drink to whet your appetite, demonstrations from local chefs, the finals of the I Love Manx Chef of the Year competition, children’s fun, a producer marquee and a farmers’ market.

A spokesman said: ‘For a small island, we produce an amazing range of quality food and drink and the festival is the place to find out more about it.

‘Our past celebrity chefs have included the Hairy Bikers, Gino D’Acampo and James Martin and all have been complementary about our local food long past the time actually spent with us at the festivals.

‘We look forward to welcoming Ainsley Harriott this year – it will be his first visit to the Isle of Man and we’re sure he’ll work his magic on the Manx produce which he has chosen to cook.’

Ainsley is well known for his appearances on Ready, Steady Cook and is currently on BBC1’s Great British Food Revival. He has starred on TV all over the world, published many cookery books and has a successful food range, some of which is available on island. During his Saturday appearance, he will be cooking Jamaican curried Manx Callig with coconut and lime, Seared Manx Scallops, Manx steak with Argentine sauce and Banana split with Manx blackberries and warm chocolate fudge sauce in the Food Theatre tent. And he will judge the finals of the I Love Manx Chef competition, meet producers and visitors to the festival, and be signing copies of his books at 1.15pm.

As well as cooking demonstrations, more than 20 island producers will be displaying their mouthwatering wares while caterers will offer the best in seafood, Manx meat and delicious cream teas and Manx ales.

Family activities will include scone-making, face-painting, a treasure hunt, pony rides and the Farm in the Festival Maze with live farm animals.

Manx Food Theatre


10.45am - Festival Welcome

11am - Ainsley Harriott

12pm - The Swiss House

1pm - 14 North

2pm - Ainsley Harriott

3pm - Chef of the Year Final


10.45am - Festival Welcome

11am - Let’s Get Saucy

12pm - Manx Aberdeen Angus

1pm - Sack of Spuds

2pm - Best Manx Omelette

3pm - Manx Produce Auction

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Private Home Sales To Be Easier In UK

 Property websites will be given more of a free hand to matchmake private buyers and sellers under government plans.

At present, some websites that display property for private sale are treated as estate agents by the law.

This means that they need to check that the descriptions of homes in adverts are accurate.

This responsibility is set to be lifted from websites, but an industry group warned that buyers could now get a worse deal.

Traditional estate agents charge a fee for selling services and offer advice. Some people may want to avoid these fees by making a private sale, and websites have been set up aiming to link them to potential private buyers.

The government plans to allow the two types of business to operate under separate rules.

But Peter Bolton King, of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics), said: "These [planned changes] mean that prospective homebuyers and sellers will find it harder to distinguish between intermediaries and traditional estate agents.

"Consumers could, perhaps unknowingly, be left responsible for undertaking their own detailed sale negotiations without the advice and guidance of a property professional.

"This could lead to delays, increased costs and even sales falling through, causing frustration and stress for all involved."

Checking accuracy
The vast majority of buyers and sellers in the UK use the estate agency network to find, buy and sell properties.

Continue reading the main story

Start Quote

The industry is watching nervously as these changes could open the door to the biggest retailers”

Henry Pryor
Property market commentator
Using the internet to buy a home
The government argues that regulations need to be cut to assist the market in private property sales, instead of through a traditional estate agent.

In the past websites have struggled to remain free from some of the rules that estate agents face, even though they were not involved in the sale procedure and did not offer advice during the process.

For example, Tesco had a website in 2007 that charged private sellers £199 for a web advert and noticeboard.

However, it found that at that price it could not afford costs such as conducting checks on the accuracy of sellers' house descriptions, so it shut down the site and sold it.

Tepilo, owned by TV presenter Sarah Beeny, has managed to operate, but has required extensive and expensive legal advice to do so.

Now the government plans to amend the Estate Agents Act and repeal the Property Misdescriptions Act.

Some popular websites only allow estate agents to advertise properties for sale
"These intermediaries help buyers and sellers contact each other at a low cost, but do not engage in other estate agent activities, so it is unfair to expect them to go out and check all the property details of all the sellers on their websites," said the new consumer affairs minister, Jo Swinson.

"Reducing the regulations for these businesses will open up the market and increase choices for consumers looking to save costs when buying or selling a property."

But property market commentator Henry Pryor said: "As well as making life potentially more confusing for house buyers, the changes could lead to the longed for goal of for-sale-by-owner websites being able to advertise their inventory on the big property portals like Zoopla and Rightmove.

"The industry is watching nervously as these changes could open the door to the biggest retailers like Tesco and Marks and Spencer who are known to be keen to grab a slice of the £1bn a year estate agency sector."

Ms Swinson said that selling privately could be a "useful and cost efficient method", but warned that - in order to avoid estate agents fees - consumers had less protection during the transaction.

In the meantime, the traditional estate agency sector would still be covered by consumer regulations and guidance, which has been refreshed, from the Office of Fair Trading.

Traditional estate agents must, for example, ensure information about properties is accurate, no pressure is put on customers, and an effective consumer complaints procedure is in place.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Purt ny Niarbyl

Excerpt from 'A Manx Scrapbook' by W. WALTER GILL

Niarbyl (yn Arbyl), " The Tail," well describes this long reef jutting South-Westward like a crocodile's back above the surface of the water. Though it consists of little more than 400 yards of almost bare rock, half a dozen spots on it are distinguished by names ; names too trivial and commonplace to be worth writing down, but each serving to identify a ledge or point which may be profitably fished from or an inlet where a boat may be moored. For the piece of water which this promontory shelters, considering it as the harbour which it was before certain natural changes occurred, no other name is now used but " the Niarbyl," or more fully Purt ny Niarbyl (for Purt yn Arbyl.) Purt Mooar was formerly an alternative. An old name, dimly remembered, is (phonetically) Purt Vezhool, with the stress on the last syllable. It is said to mean " Harbour of Refuge "-i.e. for fishingboats in a North-Westerly gale. So the place undoubtedly was, but whether that is the English equivalent of " Vezhool " is not so certain. In William Cashen's Manx Folk-lore it is written Purt Mashool.
" The " Niarbyl, with its magnificent South-Westerly outlook, is a favourite resort of the few summer visitors who penetrate to that out-of-the-way spot, but the local people do not take much interest in it summer or winter, excepting on tolerably fine Good Fridays. On that day it is their custom to meet there on the shore. Nothing special happens ; cakes, sweets and " pop " are consumed, perhaps shellfish-flitters and so on-are gathered, or were till recently ; the people merely walk about, sit if it is warm enough, and chat; not only Dalby people, but outsiders from as far off as Peel. The habit suggests that some sort of a fair was held there once, even as Periwinkle Fair was held on the shore near Strandhall in Malew.

As befitted its romantic situation, the Niarbyl " was a great place for the fairies, and they used to be seeing a lot of mermaids coming ashore there once, or so they say." Such is the guarded testimony of a Peel man of 70, for sixty years a fisherman in these and other waters. Seals still appear occasionally at certain points up and down the Southern coast of Patrick ; the last one that landed, or was stranded accidentally, by daylight, was promptly killed ; that was during the war, a time when more unusual things than seals or even walrus were apt to be seen. So far as I am able to judge, however, I do not think the mermaid tradition in the Isle of Man originated in the visitations of seals of any species ; but it is not easy to say exactly what was understood by " mermaid " a century or so back. The term seems to have included much queerer creatures than the picturesque lady from the sea with fish-tail and tresses, mirror and comb. The following paragraph is a copy of a newspaper cutting dated 1810, on which the title of the paper unfortunately does not appear.
" Two merchildren were lately discovered by three respectable tradesmen of Douglas, Isle of Man, during an excursion on the Calf of Man, in quest of sea-fowl. Attracted by a sound somewhat resembling the cries of a young kitten, they found, on searching among the rocks, two small marine animals, exactly resembling in their form that species of creature so often described and known by the name of the merman. One of them was dead, and much ulcerated [lacerated ?] by the violence with which it had been driven on shore, during a violent gale of wind on the preceding night; the other was, however, conveyed to Douglas, where it still remains, and seems likely to do well. It is one foot eleven inches and three quarters in length, from the crown of its head to the extremity of its tail ; five inches across the shoulders ; its skin is of a very pale brown colour, and the scales on its tail are tinged with violet ; the hair, if it may be so called, on its head, is of a light green cast, it is attached to the crown of the head, only hanging loose about the face, about four inches in length, very gelatinous to the touch, and somewhat resembling the green seaweed commonly growing on rocks; its mouth is small, and has no appearance of teeth. It delights much in swimming about in a large tub of sea-water, and feeds chiefly on muscles and other shellfish, which it devours with avidity: it also now and then swallows small portions of milk and water, when given to it in a quill." It is regrettable that the merchild should not have delayed its appearance until the institution of a Manx museum.

The well-known legend of the child found on Eairy Cushlin shore cannot fairly be compared with this foundling of the Calf, and the nearest thing to a merman that I know of, outside Roeder's Manx Notes and Queries, figures in a story localized at the Niarbyl. It runs to the effect that an old man with long white hair, seated in a boat which seemed to be part of himself, so that they couldn't tell where one ended and the other began, used to be seen off the Niarbyl, coming from Fleshwick way; and he sang such beautiful music that the people used to gather on the shore to listen to him. The tune he sang, or one of his tunes, known as the Arrane Ghelby, " the Dalby Song," has been republished in the Folk-song Journal, No. 28, from the first number of the magazine Mannin, but the contributor to the latter, the late Miss Sophia Morrison, omitted the apparently trivial and nonsensical detail of the seeming unity of man and boat. It is nevertheless of great interest as reproducing a deeplyrooted belief formerly held from the Shetlands down to the Southern Hebrides, as well as in Scandinavian countries, and not yet, I think, quite extinct. The late David Mac Ritchie has frequently utilized it in his attempts, by no means wholly unsuccessful, to find an ethnical basis for an important section of Scottish folklore. Particularly in his Testimony of Tradition he would explain the world-wide legend of mermen and mermaids by this belief in " Finn-men " who frequented the coasts and were supposed to have paddled their canoes across from Norway single-handed. From my copy of Wallace's Description of the Isles of Orkney, which is dated 1700 (Mac Ritchie says it was first published in 1693 and contains the earliest explicit reference to the subject) I quote the following (page 60)
" Sometimes about this Country, are seen these men they call Finn-men. In the year 1682, one was seen in his little Boat, at the South end of the Isle of Eda, most of the people of the Isle flocked to see him, and when they adventur'd to put out a Boat with Men to see if they could apprehend him, he presently fled away most swiftly. And in the year 1684 another was seen from Westra ; I must acknowledge it seems a little unaccountable, how these Finn-men should come on this coast, but they must probably be driven by Storms from home, and cannot tell when they are any way at Sea, how to make their way home again; they have this advantage, that be the Seas never so boisterous, their Boat being made of Fish Skins, are so contrived that he can never sink, but is like a Seagull swimming on the top of the Water. His shirt he has is so fastened to the Boat that no Water can come into his Boat to do him damage."
Brand's Brief Description of Orkney, 1701, supplements Wallace's statements : " his Boat is made of Seal-skins, or some kind of Leather, he also hath a Coat of Leather upon him, and he sitteth in the middle of his Boat with a little Oar in his Hand, fishing with his Lines. And when in a Storm he seeth the high surge of a wave approaching, he haih a way of sinking his Boat, till the wave pass over, lest thereby he should be overturned."

Mac Ritchie in a pamphlet, The Kayak in North-Western Europe, finds earlier traces of these centaurs of the sea than are embodied in the above quotations, harking back even to the tradition of the Mountain Lapps that their race reached Sweden from the Continent by means of small skin-boats. Wallace's mention of " fish-skins " was, it is scarcely necessary to say, as purely a flight of fancy as the popular belief that the speed of the Finn-men's canoes was such that when they pleased they could cover nine miles at a single stroke of the paddle. The material employed to make of man and boat one water-tight self-propelled being was seal and other skins stitched cunningly together, as in the present-day Eskimo kayak, and to this extent was justified the confusing of him with seals of a supernatural sort which could doff their skins and come ashore. These again have tended to merge into the mermaid tradition ; but whereas the Finn-men were disliked by the fishermen of the Northern Isles because they heralded a scarcity of fish, the appearance of the mermaid—in the Isle of Man at least—was an omen of a good catch ; for she was not seen only in proximity to the shore.
One detail in Brand's notice reappears in the legend of the sea-god Manannan, who could stay under water for the length of nine waves and come up again with the tenth, and no wet on him at all.

That there was once a race of people who lived on, in, and under the sea as ordinary beings do on land and in boats, and sometimes ventured near the shore or were driven there by the weather, is an article of faith not yet wholly abandoned in the Isle of Man, though now seldom openly acknowledged. I have heard them called " fish-people " ; they talked among themselves, sang and whistled. They are not, so far as my experience goes, associated with seals, nor do I sense a strong supernatural flavour in the belief, for it is held that " whatever there is on land is to be found in the sea too " (also a Hebrew belief, though the Jews excepted the fox) ; but I am aware that there are stories which imply the contrary, both in print and floating ungathered. To the latter class belongs one transmitted to me at second-hand from the parish of Bride; in this a " seal-woman " used to come ashore in human form, and the men used to leave their homes to meet her in the night-time, "some hearing music and following it on their feet, and some lying quiet in their beds, but telling in the morning how they had been travelling after her all the night, and were mortal tired." This sounds very much like a variation on Waldron's theme of " Tehi Tegi," unless both are portions of a more complete legend, dismembered before or after it reached the Isle of Man. Waldron's fragment runs that a foreign enchantress of that name so fascinated the Manxmen that they neglected their daily tasks to follow her ; she " led them into a deep river, which by her art she made seem passable ; and when they were all come a good way in it, she caused a sudden wind to rise, which driving the waters in such abundance to one place, swallowed up the poor lovers to the number of six hundred in their tumultuous waves." Having done this, she flew away in the form of a bat, and her white palfrey in the shape of a sea-hog or porpoise plunged to the bottom of the stream. The torrent which swallowed the gallant six hundred is variously said to-day to have been the Sulby river and a river in Kirk Michael. That Castletown was the charmer's headquarters is deducible from Waldron's statement that " she pretended one day to" go a Progress thro' the Provinces."
The essentials of the foregoing two stories are seen to be recombined in a legend quoted by T. F. Thiselton Dyer in The Ghost World, page V4 : " Gayarre, in his Louisiana, says that mysterious music floats on the waters of the river Pascagoula, particularly on a calm moonlight night. It seems to issue from caverns or grottoes in the bed of the river, and sometimes oozes up through the water under the very keel of the boat which contains the traveller, whose ear it strikes as the distant concert of a thousand Aeolian harps. On the banks of the river, close by the spot where the music is heard, tradition says that there existed a tribe different from the rest of the Indians. Every night when the moon was visible, they gathered round the beautifully-carved figure of a mermaid, and, with instruments of strange shape, worshipped the idol with such soul-stirring music as had never before blessed human ears. One day a priest came among them and tried to convert them from the worship of the mermaid. But on a certain night, at midnight, there came a rushing on the surface of the river, and the water seemed to be seized with a convulsive fury. The Indians and the priest rushed to the bank of the river to contemplate the supernatural spectacle. When she saw them, the mermaid turned her tones into a still more bewitching melody, and kept chanting a sort of mystic song. The Indians listened with growing ecstasy, and one of them plunged into the river to rise no more. The rest-men, women and children-followed in quick succession, moved, as it were, with the same irresistible impulse. When the last of the race disappeared, the river returned to its bed. Ever since that time is heard occasionally the distant music, which the Indians say is caused by their musical brethren, who still keep up their revels at the bottom of the river, in the palace of the mermaid."

Water, especially the moving waters of seas and rivers, provides, it seems, a partial answer to the much-argued question of the origin of folk-song. Tunes of songs and dances are caught by fiddlers and pipers from the voices in the upland streams.Mermaids win lovers from among the landsmen by enhancing their personal attractions with marvellous music. A Lonan Lannanshee, who was alnost certainly a wellwoman, sang all night to a mountain-man whom she had taken a fancy to, as I have noted in my chapter on Wells. The singing of the old man in the boat, which is the essential feature of the scanty Manx legend, has no counterpart in the stories about Finn-men; but it would have pleased Mac Ritchie had he known of it, for it clearly links the canoe-man of the Niarbyl with the singing mer-folk of Northern Europe, and perhaps with the Sirens of the Mediterranean, although the latter partook of the nature of birds. The remarkable length of his hair may be compared on the one hand with that of the orthodox mermaid, which keeps her busy with comb and mirror, and on the other with the long-haired little people of the North whom Mac Ritchie would identify with the mound-dwelling " Pechts " of Scottish tradition and with the fairies, thereby bringing us back to a Finnic or Mongoloid population, from whom the Ainos of Japan and the modern Eskimos are descended. He does in fact (Testimony, page 25) discover representatives of this squat Ugrian race in " the Mer-women of the Isle of Man and the Hebrides," and " the Finn-women of the Northern Isles," his Manx reference being doubtless to the several notices of mermaids in Waldron. But his assumption that the Manxman's Lake near Kirkcudbright owes its name to its having been frequented by mermen from that island cannot be accepted. True, it was haunted, and nocturnally, by shy visitors from thence, but they belonged to a different type of Manxman-smugglers to wit. As regards the matter of hairiness, rón, literally " seal," is used in Ireland (Joyce, i., 300) as a nickname for a hairy man.

In the following story no place or individual is named, but it pertains to the present topic, and would be more fittingly located at the Niarbyl than anywhere else except perhaps Fleshwick, which was an equally favoured rendezvous of the sea-folk. A Manx farmer had heard great talk of the beauty and charm of the mer-women, and would have no other kind of bride; so he sent a man-servant to the beach till he would catch one and bring her to him. The servant went and watched them nine times before he could get hold of one without her skin or covering, whatever it was she had. When his master took possession of her, people warned him to take care she would not get the skin back again, or he would lose her for ever. So he hid it away in a room that was kept locked and never used. But years after, when they were spring-cleaning, the story says, the covering got turned out, and she found it and put it on, and vanished into the sea. This is in its main points a type of story common in Scotland and elsewhere, but it is the only Manx one of its kind I can recall, outside the covers of Waldron's little book. The sending of a proxy to obtain the bride is an unusual feature of such anecdotes, though it occurs in a story of a different genre, that of the sending by Cuchulain of his charioteer to Fairyland on a similar errand. The lady he brought back was the wife of the sea-god Manannan.

It may be remarked that the Manxman's sea-born bride was not a mermaid. That creature, like the Fenoderree, always appears singly, but the servant watched them nine times ; his captive evidently belonged to that clan of the sea who in Orkney are called " selkies," seals ; and these again are by the best-instructed in those islands distinguished from " Finn-folk." That the man had to watch so many times before he could lay hold of one was doubtless because the seal-folk only transform themselves and leave the water in certain propitious circumstances of tide, weather and moon. A belief that according to the direction from which the wind is blowing the seal's coat is rough or smooth (phocine or human ?) may perhaps embody part of these circumstances.

That the mermaid of convention ever had a real existence is more than I should care to assert. Half white-skinned and half rough-scaly, she is rather to be regarded as the symbolic representation of an imagined or real race of people, half marine and half terrestrial ; and a voyage in search of these would call for the opening of a fresh logbook.

The Niarbyl's connexions with the Other World have not lain entirely seaward. At a cottage on the shore, where now is only a garden, the S__ family (whose name at least was represented locally in 1513, but is now extinct in the district) possessed a child who was understood to be a changeling ; he had the wizened visage characteristic of his kind, kept shaking his head from side to side all day long, and when anybody took notice of him he would look up the chimney.

Though he was quite old enough to speak no person ever heard him say a word. Someone who was travelling about the roads advised his parents to burn him, and when the fairies would be hearing his screams they would take him away and bring back the child they had stolen. The family had built up the materials for the fire out of doors in front of the house, and were just taking hold of him in spite of his struggles; when some of the neighbours came out and put a stop to it.

Branching off the road from the Niarbyl up to Ballacallin village is the Bayr Corrag, " Broken or Dangerous Road," near the fork of which was seen by a child some fifty years ago the Arkan Sonney or Lucky Piggy, " a beautiful little white pig " which is believed to bring good fortune to those who see it. She tried to catch it, and called to her uncle, who had gone on ahead, to come back and help her; but he replied that it could not be caught, and she was to leave it alone. Before he reached the spot it had disappeared. The account of the affair given me by the woman who had been favoured with a sight of the creature was quite circumstantial.

The Dalby Spook


The tale of Gef, the talking mongoose

In 1931 a strange creature began to make its presence felt in the Irving household at Doarlish Cashen on Dalby Mountain. The family had moved to the farmstead in 1916. James was reported to be well travelled, having been a piano representative in Canada and then involved in a failed engineering business in England. Margaret, his wife was from a Peel family. Doarlish Cashen was a remote and rundown property. During the first few years they built a new porch, concrete walling and internal panelling. The farm made a promising start and Margaret had their third child Voirrey.

By the 1930s there was decline, the outside staff were paid off and Voirrey was the only child still living at home. One September day in 1931 James heard a peculiar noise coming from behind the panelling in the house, he suspected a long-tail and began imitating cat and dog noises to alarm the intruder; to his surprise the same sounds came back, repeated to him. He became uneasy and keen to put an end to the culprit. Voirrey, then aged thirteen discouraged her father, she explained that the creature was a mongoose with the capacity to copy noises and speak.

‘He’ had introduced himself to Voirrey as Gef, an ‘extra, extra clever mongoose’ born in Delhi, India in 1852. Though he claimed to be able ‘to kill you all if I liked’, the family had an affable attitude and came to accept his company. Voirrey acted as his main intermediary. They taught him to speak. With intensive questioning his vocabulary grew rapidly. Described as humorous with a shrill, high-pitched voice, he signalled his presence with singing (including the Manx National Anthem) squeaks, growls and a strange laughter. On departure he would quip ‘vanished’. Gef was curious and cunning. He roamed the area, slipping into houses to hear what was being said and relating the gossip back to the Irvings. People both hated and feared the ‘Talking Mongoose.’ When it was learned that he liked to stow away under the local motor-bus the driver fitted an electric plate to the spot.

Physically Gef was described as having yellow fur, a bushy tail, a rather curious face with a flat snout (not unlike a small pig) and mongoose paws. He ate food provided by the family and was said to catch rabbits to contribute to his keep. Throughout the four years Gef frequented Doarlish Cashen he became infamous, yet he was only ever seen by the immediate family and even then infrequently.

One local lady recommended Gef for paranormal research. Harry Price, (a leading member of the National Laboratory of Psychical Research) made a field-trip with Richard Lambert (then editor of The Listener) in 1933. Gef was absent throughout their stay. The subsequent book, ‘The Haunting of Cashen’s Gap’ was detailed with extracts from a journal James kept of Gef’s sayings and doings/conversations and activities. Price treats Gef as a case-study to affirm the occurence of supernatural phenomena without examining the premises/plausibility of his existence or the evidence used to illustrate it. The credibility of Price’s thesis was further undermined when letters written to his publisher were found to infer that James was a trickster/fraudster; to quote, ‘I would very much like to tell Irving exactly what I think of him.’

How about Voirrey’s role in events? Young and prepubescent girls are frequently associated with poltergeists and considered to be the most effective conduits of paranormal activity. Voirrey was Gef’s first point of contact, he was said to follow and protect her. However more sceptical observers noted that Voirrey was very effective at assimilating a high pitched tone and projecting her voice; the simultaneous performance of which formed the substance of Gef’s existence. James categorically denied such suggestions. Voirrey maintained an outright refusal to comment right into old age.

Another investigator Dr Nandor Fodor, (a psychologist from the International Institute for Psychic Research) actually stayed with the Irvings’ for a week. He took time study the location and talk to local people. He suggested that James Irving’s ‘subconscious took care of the job and produced the strange hybrid that was Gef’.(James having an able and powerful yet under-utilised mind.) In 1991 a sculptor and screen-writer partnership (Catling and Grisoni) developed the same theme. They spent three years creating a dramatisation based on the occurrences. Gef was portrayed as a ‘product of the family’s collective imagination’ who developed through autosuggestion. ‘Vanished’ was produced in 1991 and shown as part of the ‘ESP: Contemporary Artists Investigate the Paranormal’ exhibition in Birmingham and London.

Gef had headlines in national papers, - ‘Queerest Beast talks to Daily Dispatch Reporter,’ ‘Man Beast’, ‘Dalby Spook’ and more. One American theatrical agent sent a cable offering $50,000, a half in cash immediately for film rights over him. Legally the most outstanding feat was a libel case. Sir Cecil Levita (former chairman of London County Council) had called Lambert ‘unstable’ and ‘hysterical’ for Jef hunting. Lambert claimed £7,500 in damages, there was no proof that a talking mongoose did not exist on the Island.

Reports of Gef and his activities ceased when the Irvings left Doarlish Cashen in 1935. The next owner a Mr Graham snared and killed a funny looking animal in 1947 that was neither stoat, nor weasel, nor ferret, - ‘it answers to all descriptions’ he told the press. A neighbouring farmer had imported a number of Indian mongoose in 1912 and let them loose to keep the rabbit population down.

Doarlish Cashin is located at reference 234784 on the IOM O.S. map – an interesting walk with lovely sea views.

source: (our old website)

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Manx Queen Scallops

Possibly our finest local product - in his blog Chef Hermes offers a selection of recipes for Isle Of Man 'Queenies'

Friday, 7 September 2012

lus y chadee

Nice pic of upland cotton grass (lus y chadee) from the Manx Wildlife Trust Facebook page


Erin Arts Centre hosts performance of Verdis' Rigoletto - Saturday 8th September 2012 

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Traditional Buildings In Mann Initiative

Traditional Buildings of Mann is a new initiative that has been set up by members of the Isle of Man Natural History and Antiquarian Society together with various other interested groups and individuals on the Island. All of us share a love of the Island's traditional buildings and a desire to learn more about them. We believe that the traditional buildings of the Isle of Man represent an important part of the Island's heritage.

Much can be learnt from buildings and settlements about the lives of the people who lived in them and who built them. Traditional buildings are often very closely connected to the local environment and are frequently built using locally available materials, including stone, turf, clay, mud and thatch. Different types of building materials were common in different parts of the Island and this is reflected in local styles of building.
Very little research has been done on the Island's traditional buildings, and we know relatively little about how these buildings developed over time. We feel that it's important to create a record of them, so that we can document regional building materials and building styles as well as the different types of building that are found in various parts of the Island.
Traditional buildings come in many shapes and sizes, from small cottages to large farmsteads, as well as urban townhouses. Agricultural buildings include barns, horse walks, corn mills and pigeon lofts, to name just a few.
Our project is based on a larger initiative that was set up in Scotland to investigate deserted rural settlements in the Scottish landscape. You can find out about that project by visiting the Scotland's Rural Past website at We believe that it's also important to document the Island's urban landscape and as well as rural buildings, including those that have not been deserted, but have instead been adapted for a modern lifestyle.

What are the aims of the project?
The project aims to raise public awareness of the Island's traditional buildings and to encourage local groups and individuals to take a more active interest in the traditional buildings in their area. We want to encourage you to go out and have a look around your local community, or other parts of the Island that you're familiar with, and find buildings or settlements that interest you. The Society's role will be to facilitate independent local projects. Once you have a specific project in mind, we're here to help provide advice and training.

How can I take part?
There are a number of ways in which you can take part in researching and recording traditional buildings. These include taking photographs, collecting stories from local people, finding out the history of a building using the Manx Museum's library or by studying old maps. Or you can take measurements and draw up simple plans to document the existing appearance of a building. Whatever your area of interest or your level of expertise, there's something that you can do to help.
This summer, we will be running four excursions between May and September to explore buildings in different parts of the Island and to introduce people to different methods of researching and recording buildings

Monday, 3 September 2012

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Peel Beach

Peel beach in the sunshine - pic from