New Peel Castle Guidebook Launched

– Posted on Tuesday 15th March 2016

Manx National Heritage, the organisation responsible for the protection and marketing of the Isle of Man’s heritage and culture, is launching the second in a series of six guidebooks promoting its historic sites on the Island.

The books, which are being funded by the Manx Museum and National Trust, are being researched by Manx National Heritage staff including Edmund Southworth, Director of Manx National Heritage. Manx National Heritage is working with the team at Isle of Man Advertising & PR to write and design the guidebooks.

The second book in the series, titled ‘Explore Peel Castle’, is a detailed study not only of the medieval Castle itself, but also tells the story of the historic site of St Patrick’s Isle. First used more than 7,000 years ago, St Patrick’s Isle has since served as a settlement, religious centre, Viking stronghold, prison, fortress and administrative headquarters. The guidebook includes details of several excavations during the 20th century, including the six-year dig in the 1980s which really lifted the lid on the Island’s history. The book was jointly written and edited by Andrew Johnson, Curator for Archaeology at Manx National Heritage, and John Quirk, Director of Media at Isle of Man Advertising.  Design work was completed by Isle of Man Advertising’s Design Studio.

The 40-page book features a number of previously unpublished images and new illustrations by local artist Julia Ashby Smyth as well as images from the Manx National Heritage museum archives.  Explore Peel Castle, priced at £5 can be ordered online at and is available from all MNH retail sites, including the House of Manannan and Manx Museum.  The guidebook will be available to purchase at the entrance to Peel Castle when the site opens for the season on Friday 25 March 2016.

The other books in the series include a detailed guide to the collections of the Manx Museum, including some of its leading exhibits which is due to be released in 2016. Further books – on the four Castletown sites (Castle Rushen, Old Grammar School, Old House of Keys and the Nautical Museum; the Southern sites (including Cregneash and Rushen Abbey) and the Grove Museum, Ramsey – are planned for publication over the next two years.

Edmund Southworth, Director, Manx National Heritage, commented:

Peel Castle is one of the most important historic and religious sites in the British Isles, attracting a significant number of resident and international visitors during the season. The guidebook will not only improve the visitor experience by offering a greater understanding of the site and its historical significance, but will also prove to be effective documentation of our research and understanding of the site itself.”


Image captions:

  1. Left to right: Edmund Southworth Director of Manx National Heritage, Helen Summerscales and John Quirk of Isle of Man Advertising
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