Read part 1 HERE (intro to Isle of Man, where I stayed), part 2 HERE (Snaefell, Laxey Wheel, The Sound, Point of Ayre), part 4 HERE (Bradda Glen, Cregneash village & ancient churches) & part 5 HERE (Manx museum).
I took these images using a Sony A5000 & iPhone 6.
We were extremely lucky to visit Peel Castle with clear skies right before its usual gloomy overcast brewed above the fortified stone walls – because trust me, you do not want to be stranded in a deserted medieval castle known for witchcraft and a phantom black hound…while needing to pee.
Peel Castle was constructed by the 11th century Viking King of Mann, Magnus Olaffson, with the moniker of Magnus Barefoot/Barelegs. He was King of Norway from 1093-1103 but left his mark on Celtic countries of Scotland, Ireland, the Isle of Man and Wales.
I mean… of course right? One does not simply be named LORD MAGNUS *inserts trumpet sound* without historical battlement. Especially when he was the only son of King Olaf Kyrre, steeled to conquer the Irish sea and couldn’t let it go (you know, Olaf? Frozen? Haha lame).
This is just the beginning, scroll down to see images of Castle Rushen’s actual prison cells and “hangman belt” in the old days…
OLD GRAMMAR SCHOOL (CASTLETOWN)
We visited Castletown, the ancient capital of the Isle of Man and home to Castle Rushen (below). Right outside the castle was the Old Grammar School, built around 1200AD and it is the oldest roofed structure still standing on the Isle of Man today.
CASTLE RUSHEN (CASTLETOWN)
Being one of the best preserved medieval castles in the world, Castle Rushen (pronounced Rush-en/Russian) was originally built for a Norse king in around 1200AD. It was then developed by successive rulers until the 1600s. During its time it was used as a fortress, royal residence, a mint and even a prison.
Being able to step inside actual medieval prison cells may be a little unnerving for the faint-hearted.
When you stand inside the bleak room with cold stone walls and a faint ray of light piercing through a tiny window, first-world problems shrivel away at the thought of staying here just for a night. Especially when you read the handwritten convictions of the prisoners’ crimes that could easily be fabricated during such corrupted times.
Tragically, blatant accusations of things like “witchcraft” which result in brutal killings of even toddlers still happen in some rural places today and many victims are burnt alive.
After all the turmoil imagining how people suffered back in those days, we felt a little lighter when we stepped out to find a real apple tree!
And of course, lunch. Food is always the answer.