Why Ellan Vannin is the British Isles’ best kept secret

This is the mysterious Celtic alterego of an island you know by another name, says Mark Jones. Whatever you call it, here’s why you should visit

Tuesday 15 October 2019 18:27
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The Douglas Lighthouse has been keeping ships safe since 1857
The Douglas Lighthouse has been keeping ships safe since 1857

Ellan Vannin is an island in the middle of the Irish Sea. It is often shrouded in mist, allegedly because its resident sea god, Manannan mac Lir, wants to protect it from unexpected visitors.

If so, he has largely succeeded.

The island, which looks like a small rodent swimming in a northeasterly direction, is not part of the United Kingdom, nor the European Community. It’s a place of strange creatures – many-horned sheep, a bizarre feline sub-breed – and great natural beauty. Unesco named the whole island a protected biosphere for its geographical variety, clean beaches and remote hills.

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