King of the Castles

Here’s another picture I’ve taken of a building in the Isle of Man that’s caught my attention. Well, in this case, it didn’t so much catch my attention as take up a place in my subconscious, when I was naught but a Micro-Mark.

If you know the island in even the slightest way, then I won’t need to dip very deep into my supply of introductions. It’s the best-preserved medieval castle in Europe, Castle Rushen – located in the amazingly conveniently-named town of Castletown.

Manx national treasure Charles Guard presents an excellent documentary on the castle, produced by Culture Vannin, and this will tell you far more about it than I ever could. Here’s a link for your viewing pleasure: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdFlXbF2kos

(Mild spoiler alert: Castletown having once been invaded by the French was brand spanking new information to me.)

I hope my photo captures that no-messing, capital-C, Castle air of the place. It looks as if it could still withstand an invasion today. The Isle of Man’s other castle at Peel is beautiful and powerfully atmospheric (and I’ll be writing about it elsewhere). But it’s also much older than Castle Rushen and lies in ruins. Ancient and splendid on its own island, Peel Castle looks like a place full of stories and ghosts, which it metaphorically is. Castle Rushen though, looks like the image that must enter most people’s heads when they hear the word ‘castle’.

The Celtic cross on the left of the picture is not actually part of the castle. It’s centuries younger, being the top of the war memorial in Market Square. The local limestone that it’s carved from was, however, very well chosen, in terms of fitting in with the castle.

When I took the picture, I didn’t notice the bird resting on top of the war memorial. I think it’s just a common-or-garden pigeon, but I’d be as pleased as a parakeet if a keen-eyed ornithologist could recognise it as something more unusual. Again though, it fits the colour scheme well, so it’s a welcome photobomber.

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