peel castle Isle of man
Travel

Part 3 of 5: Travelogue in Isle of Man (Castle Rushen, Peel Castle, Old Grammar School)

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.

PEEL CASTLE

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…

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The round tower was originally part of the Celtic monastery but had battlements added at a later date. In the early 14th century, the majority of the walls and towers were built mostly with local sandstone.

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Things to do: roll down a castle.

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I told you it got creepy when the skies started turning grey…

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Kieran in his Angry Birds hat. Ghostly souls of the Vikings would question modern battlement of brick-smashing bird games. What conquership, hath you seek, drayon slayer of the north? “6000 points”

The Moddey Dhoo (Manx Gaelic, meaning "black dog"), a phantom black hound in Manx folklore that reputedly haunted Peel Castle on the west coast of the Isle of Man.

The Moddey Dhoo (Manx Gaelic, meaning “black dog”), a phantom black hound in Manx folklore that reputedly haunted Peel Castle on the west coast of the Isle of Man.

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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.

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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.

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The entrance of Castle Rushen.

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Caught Steve in the picture being our unintentional tour guide telling us “um this is probably where…” / “okay um better not tell me.”

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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.

rooms

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carvings

Now you know when such fonts came about… these are actual carvings by prisoners, as dated “July 1876”.

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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.

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