Ramsey, the northern terminus of the Isle Of Man's Manx Electric Railway, is sometimes referred to as "Royal Ramsey" in memory of a couple of past royal visits. In 1847 Queen Victoria and Prince Albert visited the town, and the visit was commemorated by the building of a 45-foot high granite tower named Albert Tower, which can be reached via a choice of footpaths. In 1907 it was the turn of Edward VII and Queen Alexandra to visit. However, not all royal visits were as amiable as these two. In the 11th century, a Norse-Gael ruler of Dublin called Godred Crovan, known as King Orry in Manx legend, invaded the Isle Of Man three times. The third time he arrived at Ramsey in the dead of night and concealed 300 men in a wood. The men managed to overpower the Manxmen who rose up in battle against the incomers. In 1313 Robert The Bruce turned up in Ramsey, from where he went on to capture Castle Rushen in Castletown further south.
Ramsey was once a hive of maritime activity. It had an important shipbuilding industry in the 1800s, and it was here that the oil tanker known as "The Jane" was built. Another vessel built in Ramsey called the "Star Of India" is now in a museum in San Diego. As well as shipbuilding, the port was once a terminus for a steamer service to Whitehaven, Liverpool and Scotland, courtesy of the Ellan Vannin, the oldest ship in the Steam Packet Fleet. However, in 1909 disaster struck when the Ellan Vannin foundered near the mouth of the Mersey, resulting in the loss of all passengers and crew. The disaster was commemorated in a song by the Spinners folk group. There is still a small shipyard, and the port is used by fishing, freight and leisure boats. Just outside Ramsey is Grove House and Gardens, built in the mid-1800s, a veritable time capsule which offers a fascinating insight into life in Victorian times. There is a small restaurant serving light meals and afternoon teas.
Map of the area.