the Ferry Terminal is right next to the Docks where the Tall Ship Races took place! However, the race was late so I didn't get to see any of its departure although it was due before my departure!
the Ferry Terminal is right next to the Docks where the Tall Ship Races took place! However, the race was late so I didn’t get to see any of its departure although it was due before my departure!

You all know my attraction for Islands by now. So off to my third Ferry, I went to the Isle of Man. It was of course initially to watch another beautiful and different landscape but also to discover a rich and old culture of a separate and distinct community which “never has and never will belong to the UK”  to quote the commentator of Tynwald Day. Well, it may not, but we see lots of UK flags around an Island, the Seigneur of which is no one else than HM Queen Elisabeth II, not to mention the British Isles passeport of its citizens.

I opened my first guide on the Isle of Man on the ferry going there, so it’s total chance that I happened to attend what probably is the most interesting event in the region these days, the “Midsummer sitting of Tynwald Court at St John’s”.

This ceremony dates back to over a millenium ago and “its central feature is the promulgation of new acts of Tynwald, which is the final stage in the Manx legislative process”. What I found fascinating was that the whole population is invited to this open air ceremony because for the legislation to be enacted, it needs to be heard by all its citizens. Tynwald is the name of Isle of Man’s Parliament which consists in a Legislative Council and the House of Keys (the etymology seems to be a bit lost but might originate from Norse verb “to choose“)

In fact it should be a profound act of Freedom and national pride, somewhat tinted with colonialism as the whole ceremony revolves around the Lieutenant Governor, Queen’s representative, the British Troops leading the Guard of Honour…and I wonder whether I dreamed but could bet I heard at least the few initial lines of the British National Anthem, although the Manx Anthem was certainly sung twice!

Manx National Anthem
Manx National Anthem
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The second tier is occupied by the Speaker and the House of Keys

So after an ecumenical service, the whole Tynwald moves from the St John’s Chapel to the open air hill where the top tier is occupied by the Lieutenant Governor, Madam President of Tynwald (the Hon Clare Christian), the Bishop as well as “Members and the Clerk of the Legislative Council, Surgeon to the Household, Sword Bearer, Seneschal and his Private Secretary”. What I found the most fascinating, however, apart from the respect for the ancient tradition, was that anyone in the assistance could address a “Petition for Redress” to the Clerk of Tynwald and later present it, after the reading of the acts, to the Lieutenant General. who then tells them “I shall refer these Petitions to the Standing Orders Committee of Tynwald who will report thereone at their earliest convenience”. These Petitions are meant to be the last resort after every other appeal has failed to solve the problem.

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Given the terrible weather, this Global Village was unfortunately not so well crowded.
Given the terrible weather, this Global Village was unfortunately not so well crowded.

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If you look in the background, you’ll notice that that lady chose the wrong dress to kneel on Tynwald on her intronization!
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the First and Second Deemsters. High Court judges promulgate any new acts which have been passed by Tynwald. They are invited by the Lieutenant Governor, “Learned Deemsters, I exhort you to proclaim to the people in ancient form such laws as have been enacted during the past year and which have received the Royal Assent”. The one on the right (D.C. Doyle) reads the titles in English while the left one (ATK Corlett) reads them in Manx. The first written reference to Deemseter dates back to the 1400s but the function probably dates back much earlier, to the times of the Norse Kingdom and the origins of Tynwald in the 10th Century. I have no idea when they started enacting them in English though…
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wondering if this is still real animal skin at the PC day and age!
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Some locals came really well prepared for every situation. The rain accounts for the depletion of the benches dues do heavy rain.
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John Quinn, Acting Attorney General

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the Manx Nationalists booth. I discussed with them a great deal and in fact they realize that they are still in a better position than their Scottish counterparts!
the Manx Nationalists booth. I discussed with them a great deal and in fact they realize that they are still in a better position than their Scottish counterparts!
All the quotations are excerpts from this extremely well done programme (this is my second copy as the first one was literally drenched!
All the quotations are excerpts from this extremely well done programme (this is my second copy as the first one was literally drenched!
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the Free Manx Newspaper, quite interested in Gender issue as well as nationalism!

And before this ceremony, some pictures of my arrival on this fascinating Island:

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by strange coincidence, my next trip will be to Grand Manan Island;-)

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right in the middle of things!
right in the middle of things!

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I supose this reminds me of my many ferry crossings when I was a kid and we were going to Swansea, Leamington Spa or the Devon!
I supose this reminds me of my many ferry crossings when I was a kid and we were going to Swansea, Leamington Spa or the Devon!
the first of my many sights of the Tower on St Mary's Island
the first of my many sights of the Tower on St Mary’s Island

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Manx is quite present on the Island
Manx is quite present on the Island
the promenade Tram is horse-driven!
the promenade Tram is horse-driven!

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