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Excursion Notes to South Barrule

by Bernadette Weyde

Excursion Notes following a Visit to South Barrule 20 August 1936:

The name Barrule comes from the very ancient custom of Watch and Ward. The name is Scandinavian “Vordufjall.” Wardfell is the literary form used in the Manorial Roll; Barrool was the colloquial form used by the common people.

In collaboration with Prof. Marstrander I made a plan of the stations for the Day and Night Watches in the various parishes which was used in the year 1627. The Day Watch at that date was not on Barrool but on a hill called Echewle which Mr Kneen thinks is the old Norse name for Cronk yn Irree Laa for we know that the Day Watch was kept there. The name Cronk yn Irree Laa of course means ‘Hill of the Day Watch’.* The Night Watch was at Pooilvaish which we can easily see from here. Invariably the day watch was on a hill and the night watch at a port.

Prof. Marstrander is of the opinion that a warning fire on South Barrule would be seen by the people on the North Barrule and vice versa. He thinks that in the times of political trouble in the past, these two were the chief points from which the inhabitants all over the Island received the warning of the coming foe.


The site of what was termed about forty years ago, a Neolithic Village, is near the Sloc, on the southern slopes of Cronk ny Irree Laa. Mr Jeffcott in the early days of the Antiquarian Society, made some excavations and said that the remains of a couple of dozen huts were identified. I examined the place about 30 years ago and saw what appeared to be the remains of an avenue made from two rows of medium-sized standings tones. Since then many of the stones have fallen or been taken away. The avenue – if it may be called so – ran east and west.

Burroo Mooar is the name of the rugged rock nearest us. Burrow Meanagh the next rocks, and Burroo Sodjag the farthest away. There is said to be an artificially built causeway connecting the two parts of Burroo Mooar. At any rate there would appear to be the remains of an earthen fortification.


There is a stone standing about here which is called Clagh y daa Heet, meaning ‘the stone of the two meetings’. It was here that the members of the incoming Watch party met the outgoing Watch at the hour of sunset.

Further west beyond Cronk ny Irree Laa is the long mountain ridge which runs from Fleshwick and called Lhiattee ny Beinnee, meaning the slop or face of the Bens or peaks. There is an inlet of the sea before you get to Fleshwick. It is named Eairnerey. It was here St Patrick is said to have landed – one of the numerous places the Saint is said to have walked up the rocks to a place called Spigeen Pherick – St Patrick’s Spire. The Saint looked down on Lag ny Keeilley and said that the little keeill there would be the last resting place of Kings and Princes.

St Patrick is said to have dedciated his first church in Man not in Inis Patrick but at Cronk y Dooney, from the Gaelic “Doonaght,” meaning Sunday. St Patrick’s dedications are said to have always been performed on a Sunday. The keeill was called Keeill Pheric and the Treen as well as the quarterland became known as Ballakeeilpheric.

Referring to the ascent from South Barrule, Mr Cubbon described two rather prominent rocks on the west face called Creg yn Arran and Creg ny Vaare. Creg yn Arran was so called for the reason that the men who composed the Watch took their meals in the shelter of that rock. Arran is Manx for bread. Cronk ny Vaare means the rock of the pathway. So that when you come to the outstanding rock you are near the old track to the summit.

* some people disagree with this meaning, even today.

(source: Isle of Man Natural History and Antiquarian Society Proceedings Vol. IV No.II, May 1935 – March 1937; original photograph is of Cronk ny Irree Laa courtesy of Ali & Julian at Epicycles)

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