Happy Tynwald Day!
Today, 5th July, as all good Manx Folk know is our national day when the open air Tynwald ceremony takes place at St. John’s. I’m not going to harp on about it here though as are there is loads of great information on the marvelous interweb about it. No, the reason for my post today is to give you a little preview of the great new artwork which Culture Vannin will be delighted to show you today if you care to trot over and see them at their HQ, handily situated on the main road across from Tynwald Hill.
I popped in to see Breesha Maddrell and the team last week for a sneak preview of the new work. The map and mural are by Adam Berry and Tynwald Hill is by Gary Myers. It’s really great – and appropriate – that local artists have been commissioned to do these pieces and they are really professional and well crafted.
I was very impressed and inspired to hear about the work that Culture Vannin does, not only in preserving our cultural heritage but in recording life on the island as it is now and helping to bring it into our everyday lives. They have a huge remit – everything from music and dance through to language – promoting a vibrant national identity; inspiring life-long learning and discovery; developing educational resources and research opportunities and ensuring a living culture for future generations just to pick out a few of their objectives. These great visuals help bring some of the vast amounts of information about the Island to life in a way that can be understood by all.
Culture Vannin officially opens its doors today for the big reveal of the new work but there is so much else to take in besides – everything from lovely old photographs of the Tynwald ceremony in a picture gallery around the fireplace to postcards for the children to colour in with pencils printed with the names of the colours on them in Manx. There are stories that have been translated into Manx such as The Gruffalo and Manx language lessons on offer.
I asked Breesha what her goals were for the Manx language and it was interesting to hear how she feels it helps to give the island and sense of place. Like Ireland, Scotland and Wales where local dialect is still spoken, hearing people speaking in Manx helps visitors feel that they have traveled to another country, another destination.
I have to say that for what was nearly a dead language a few years ago the revitalization of the Manx language has certainly been very successful so far and I am seeing it more and more on my Facebook feed! I haven’t a clue what it says so perhaps I should start learning. I bumped into someone I knew on my visit to Culture Vannin who was there for a Manx lesson. I saw her again later in the day and asked her why she had decided to learn Manx and she said that, although she has lived here for many years, because she wasn’t born here, it has helped her to feel like the Isle of Man is her true home and that she feels a much closer affinity to the Island and its people through learning to speak Manx.
Whether or not you plan to take lessons I can highly recommend a visit so do pop in if you are at St. John’s today. The children will absolutely love the Lego model of Tynwald (and I’m sure you will too).
There is a special offer on as well – which you can only get by mentioning the Manx Art Directory. Look out for a beautiful art book called “Gold-Dust and Calm”, a collection of watercolours by Robert Evans Creer with text by Valerie Cottle. This normally retails at £12.99 but if you buy it from Culture Vannin and say that you read about it here, you can buy it for just £10. This is an ongoing offer, not just for today, but it is only available from Culture Vannin’s HQ and not from other retailers.
You can click here to jump to Culture Vannin’s Facebook page – a great page to follow all year round.
Whatever you are doing today, have a wonderful day and hopefully the sun will be shining.