taking our culture forward

Jim Caine was born in 1940 at Little London Farm, Michael. Dennis Quirk was born four years earlier just across the valley at Cronk ny Fessage.  Both were born on May 10th. They’ve been friends all their lives.

Both attended St John’s School and Douglas High School and later went into farming: Jim on the family farm and later at Staarvey, while Dennis went to work at Ballamoar, Patrick for the Anderson family and stayed until he retired.

In this interview they describe growing up in the Manx countryside far from the main road, in the days before electricity or mains water, before horses were replaced by tractors, where there were few neighbours, and where the silence was sometimes so deep that the only sound was that of the birds singing.

Neither remembered the Manx language being in use or old customs being observed, except that Jim did recall his father going out  just after dark on May eve (April 30) to ‘burn the buitch’ – set light to a gorse bush, an old custom thought to protect the household from bad luck in the coming year.

Few of the field names were in Manx either. Little London Farm had: The Rheast, Brooklyn, New York, North Park, South, Jack’s field, Red Field, Close Veg,  Mill Field, the Naaie, Step Field, Hay Field and Clifton. Close ny Fessage (farm of the feathers or perhaps plovers) had the Big Field, Spout Field, Top Field, Close Beg and the Petty field – where the outside toilet was situated! They are stalwarts of the Cronk y Voddy Ploughing Match Committee, which organises produce shows, concerts and sports as well as ploughing matches every year and has raised in excess of £50,000 for local charities.


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  • Interview with Jim Caine & Dennis Quirk

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