Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Douglas, Isle of Man

Douglas is the capital of the Isle of Man.  In Manx it is called Doolish and it is also the largest town on the island with just over 28,000 people which is about 33% of the entire island's population.  It is on the east coast at the mouth of the River Douglas.

Douglas was a just a small settlement until the 18th century when shipping routes were established with Liverpool.  In 1863, Douglas replaced Castletown as the capital.  Today it is the main shopping and business hub.

Douglas' claims to fame are the annual Tourist Trophy (TT) motorcycle races and as the birthplace of Maurice, Robin, and Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees.

The busiest part of town is the promenade.  It runs for two miles with plenty of historic buildings facing the sea.  It is perfect for a relaxing stroll.

For those that don't want to walk then there's the option to take a horse-drawn tram from Spring to early Fall.  It's one of two remaining in the world but we preferred to walk.

The Jubilee Clock was donated in 1887 in commemoration of the the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria's reign.

The Gaiety Theatre was built in 1899.  It opened in July 1900 and underwent major restoration in 1976.  It has a year-round programme and seats 898 people.

The Parish Church of Saint Thomas is an Anglican church.  It was consecrated in 1849 and seats over 1,000 people.

The Manx Museum houses the National Art Collection and the National Archives.  Unfortunately it is closed on Sunday so we missed it.

The War Memorial was unveiled in 1924 in memory of the soldiers killed during WWI.  The names of those lost in WWII have were added to the monument.  The "Manxman" stands on a column of Manx granite.

Villa Marina is an entertainment venue along the promenade.  It opened in 1913 and underwent major restoration from 2001-2004.

Sir Norman Wisdom was an English actor, comedian, and singer.  He was best known for a some comedy films produced from 1953 to 1966.  He was knighted in 2000 and passed away in 2010.

St. Mary's Isle, also known as Conister Rock, is a partially submerged reef in Douglas Bay.  It is home to the Tower of Refuge.  Several vessels were shipwrecked due to the reef so the tower was built as a refuge fro survivors until help could arrive.  The tower was completed in 1832 and is designed to look like a 13th century castle.

The most famous shipwreck was the St. George in 1830. A memorial commemorating the rescue of the St. George is on the promenade.

Overall Douglas is a nice, quiet place to visit.  Two days were plenty of time to see everything and still have time to just relax.

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