Situated on the west coast,
Peel has three reasons to celebrate its history –
its kippers, its castle and its cathedral. With
narrow streets and a fine beach, it once stood at
the heart of the island’s fishing industry and is
known as Sunset City because on some summer
evenings the fading sun casts a crimson glow over
the water all the way from Ireland.
Peel’s ‘city’ status stems from the fact that it has a 13th century cathedral on St Patrick’s Isle – joined to the town by a causeway – with a roofless church and a round tower beside it.
St Patrick is thought to have stayed here in 444 AD when, so legend has it, he made his momentous decision to ban snakes, converting pagan Manxmen to Christianity.
Neolithic flint weapons have been discovered here as well as the basis of a Viking palace. A replica of a Viking longship can also be viewed in a building at the harbour.
Ruined Peel Castle – also sited on St Patrick’s Isle – was built by the Lords of Man in the 14th century but fell to the forces of the English Parliament during the Civil War – the first time it came under siege,
Perhaps Peel’s main claim to fame is its famous smokeries from where visitors can purchase a Manx kipper or two.
A major attraction here is the House of Manannan Heritage Centre which uses audio, video and state-of-the-art display techniques to show how early Celt and Viking settlers shaped the island’s past.