[From Manx Antiquities,1863]


In these days of rapid travelling, when the railway train and swift steamer annihilate distance, it is strange that so few Scottish tourists turn their steps towards the Isle of Man. The circuitous route by which alone it could be reached till recently may account for this — at least, in a measure — but now a more speedy way has been opened up, by which tourists can reach the island the evening of the same morning on which they start from Edinburgh.

This irregularly-shaped and curiously-formed island lies in St George's Channel, nearly equidistant from the three countries of the United Kingdom ; but, although so situated, it is not, in point of fact, a part of them. It is not ruled by the British Parliament, but has laws and institutions of its own, and these laws and institutions are (till in many respects almost similar to, and in some identical with, the Scandinavian form of government, which history informs us was introduced into this island as early as the eighth or ninth century. Everything in the island is (tamped with this peculiarity, its antiquities especially so ; but to those who may not care for these things there are others probably more attractive. The numerous bays, rocky shores, and wild headlands of the coast, with no end of boating and fishing; the hills and dells, the rivers and waterfalls, the prolonged flat plain and sandhills shutting it from the sea ; the primitive people, with their belief in fairyland, their tailless cats, pigs, and hens, as well as their peculiar dwarf sheep which yield such excellent mutton; these, along with the many curious archaeological remains, so abundantly scattered over the island, sum up a catalogue of enticements which few places of a like extent can boast of.

In the following pages I shall attempt to interest my readers in the antiquities of the island. I shall describe them as they presented themselves to me, during the summer of 1862 ; shall refer to their history, so far as it has been written ; but shall also give my own unbiassed impressions of these remains. As the island can be equally readily visited from any of the principal towns on I fixed upon Ramsay as my starting point, for not only is it the nearest to the Scottish shores, but it contains a number of families of Scottish feelings and extraction, who delight in shewing kindness to the visitor.


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