Home Manx LifeFolk Tales The Submerged Island

The Submerged Island

by Bernadette Weyde

There was supposed to be a submerged island near Port Soderick which appeared every seven years:

“Many a time and oft had Nora Cain heard her old grandsire relate the tradition of the enchanted island at Port Soderick, while sitting spinning by the turf fire on a winter’s evening. It was in the days of the Great Fin MacCooil, that mighty magician, who, for some insult he had received from the people who lived on a beautiful island, off Port Soderick, cast his spell over it, and submerged it to the bottom of the ocean, transforming the inhabitants into blocks of granite. It was permitted them, once in seven years to come to the surface for the short space of thirty minutes, during which time the enchantment might be broken if any person had the boldness to place a Bible on any part of the enchanted land when at its original altitude above the waters of the deep.

On one occasion, it was about the end of September, on a fine moonlight night, Nora was sauntering along the little bay in sweet converse with her lover, when she observed something in the distance which continued to increase in size. It struck her to be none other than the enchanted isle she so often had heard of. It continued gradually rising above the surface of the water, when, suddenly disentangling herself from the arm of her lover, she hastened home with all the speed she could, and rushed into the cottage, crying out, and breathless with her haste, “The Bible, the Bible, the Bible!” to the utter amazement of the inmates, who could not at the moment imagine what had possessed her. After explaining what she had seen, she seized hold of the coveted volume and hastened back to the beach, but, alas! only just in time to see the last portion of the enchanted isle subside once more to its destined fate of another seven years’ submersion.

From that night poor Nora gradually pined away and was soon after followed to her grave by her disconsolate lover. It is said from that time no person has had the hardihood to make a similar attempt, lest, in case of failure, the enchanter in revenge might cast his club over Mona also.

(source: Folklore of the Isle of Man by AW Moore (1891); artwork ‘Distant Island’ by Nemesis)

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