Port Erin is the south of the Isle of Man’s main town surrounded by stunning sandy beaches and some of the island’s best walking trails. A popular watering hole since the Victorian era, Port Erin is a stop along the steam railway and easily reached from capital Douglas either by railway or via the A5/ A7. Ronaldsway Airport in the south of the island near Castletown is also within easy reach.
Visit The Sound Visitor Centre in nearby Port St Mary from which there are spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding coast plus an on-site cafe and visitor centre exploring the history of the Calf of Man area with plenty of detail on the many shipwrecks off this stretch of tidal coast.
The coastal waters around the Sound of Man with rocky islet ‘Kitterland’ are famous for their wildlife, particularly many coastal birds. The old farm on the island is a base for extensive bird monitoring and on any visit expect to see a diverse range of wildlife and plants, including possible sightings of Manx Shearwater.
The Erin Arts Centre & Mananan International Festivals
A cultural hub on the Isle of Man, The Erin Arts Centre hosts one of the island’s most famous annual events – the Mananan International Festival of Music ranked as one of Britain’s finest.
The Calf of Man & The Sound
The landscape of the Meayll Peninsula is a rugged mass of geological formations, with carved enclaves in the rocks making perfect havens for sea birds. The area around Spanish Head and Black Head approaching the Sound tidal waters and the Calf of Man itself is dotted with ancient burial grounds. The Calf of Mann is a vast 616 acre Island off the south westerly tip of the Isle of Man. In the Sound waters Kitterland, or small islets protrude out of the waters, where many a ship has come a cropper!
The Sound Visitor Centre
Start your exploration of this historic and beautiful natural environment at the Sound Visitor Centre in Port St Mary which is free to enter, and open all year round. This centre has been carefully designed to blend in with the landscape, and offers the perfect base to grab refreshments, information and take in spectacular panoramic views of the Calf of Man and surrounds. Perfect for seal watching as well!!
Boat Trips to the Calf of Man
Boat trips to the Calf of Man are from Port Erin and Port St Mary. Information on these trips can be found in the harbours of the two towns. The cliffs are meccas for breeding birds including kittiwake, Common Guillemot, Shag, Razorbill and Fulmar. A large Bird Observatory sits right in the centre of the island. Other wildlife to look out for include Grey seals visible all year round of the waters of the Calf of Man.
The Norse ‘Kalfr’, the Manx Yn Cholloo, or known to us as The Calf of Man is an island of 250 hectares. Evidence of farming over the last couple of centuries is there on the Calf. Once considerable livestock roamed the island now only one breed of rare Manx sheep remain. This wonder of nature is the remains of land masses colliding, with the soil on the Calf a result of sediments left by retreating ice which covered this area during the ice age.
Lighthouses on the Calf of Man
The first two lighthouses on the Calf were first lit in 1818, designed in synch to point down and illuminate the dreaded Chicken Rock tidal reef zone, just 1 mile south of the Calf. Eventually by 1875 a lighthouse was placed on Chicken Rock itself. Although damaged by fire in 1960, it still shines it’s light.
Yet another lighthouse was completed in 1968 on the Calf, constructed by the Northern Lighthouse board and it’s this one that is the main functioning lighthouse. Take time to view these lighthouses, and the deserted ‘Jane’s House’. The 1878 farmhouse now serves as the Bird Sanctuary. Visitors should be aware that there are no toilet or catering facilities on the Calf of Man and no dogs allowed. Weather can be changeable so bring warm clothes and your own supplies on your trip!