Castletown, the former capital of the Isle Of Man, is a pleasant, smart little town with narrow, twisting streets dominated by the medieval Castle Rushen, which overlooks the small harbour. The town is on the northwest side of Castletown Bay, and is just one mile from the airport. Built for a Norse king in 1265, with further developments between the 13th and 16th centuries, the castle is remarkably well preserved for its age. As well as the vaulted rooms and halls of the interior, visitors can enjoy the views of the coast and countryside from the castle walls. A large number of executions were carried out in the castle, so it is no surprise that it has a reputation for hauntings, most notably the mysterious woman in grey, thought to be the ghost of an innocent woman who was executed for killing her son. Isle Of Man Ghost Tours organises ghost walks around the castle.
|Castle Rushen, from the town side|
Another notable building in the town is the Old House Of Keys, where the Tynwald - the island's parliament - used to convene. One of the Tynwald's former members, a colourful local character called Captain George Quayle, had a yacht called Peggy, named after his mother and probably one of the earliest yachts to be built, having been launched in 1791. During the time the yacht was in use it is believed to have been used for smuggling among other activities. After the death of the real Peggy, Quayle locked the boat away in a harbourside boathouse, and there it remained until it was rediscovered in 1935. The boathouse Quayle built for the Peggy now houses the Nautical Museum, where the Peggy has pride of place. The museum includes a number of quirky features which are a reminder of the inventiveness and eccentricity of Quayle. To the south of the town is the Scarlett Visitor Centre with displays of the island's flora and fauna and a nature trail along the coastline. Birdwatchers should be on the lookout for wheatears, stonechats and meadow pipits as well as the many seabirds.
Map of the area.