Fairy Bridges/Trees

Fairy Bridge Isle of Man

In February I emailed a friend of mine to tell them about my website and this was their reply,

Fairies? Yes we have them on the Isle of Man - they are often referred to as "little people". We have a small bridge beside the road on the way from Castletown to Douglas and it is called the "Fairy Bridge". If you Google Fairy Bridge Isle of Man you will see pictures of it. Manx people (and others who know the folklore) who drive past the fairy bridge all give their greetings each time to the fairies who live there (eg "Good morning fairies"). There are many true tales of misfortune quickly falling on anyone who crosses the fairy bridge who may make bad remarks about the bridge or the fairies. People who have scoffed at the custom suddenly may find their car engine stops for no reason. There has also been a tale about a man who made derogatory remarks when he crossed the bridge in his car and a couple of hundred yards down the road he fell out of the car for no apparent reason! I always say hello to the fairies!!!

This whetted my appetite to know more, so I Googled Fairy Bridge Isle of Man. The Fairy Bridge is on the main A5 road from Douglas to Castletown just below Ballalonna Bridge in Ballalonna Glen on the Santon Burn. It has been a part of Manx (what the people of the island are called) folklore for many years and it is apparently unlucky if you don't say hello to the fairies as you go over the bridge.

It is very enchanting and you must remember to take some pen/paper so the kids can write a letter, wish or message to leave in the trees for the Fairies. There are already lots there from other children and it is most definitely the done thing. Taxi drivers will stop if their passengers do not greet the fairies. Motorcycle racers and spectators to the annual TT and Manx Grand Prix races tend to take the ritual seriously, in most cases making a point of visiting the bridge before setting up for practice and the races. Mishaps and crashes are readily attributed to the fairies displeasure; likewise lucky escapes.

It has been suggested that the location was on the boundaries of the land of the nearby Rushen Abbey and the greeting is a folk memory of crossing oneself at the sight of the crucifix marking the boundary of the monastery's land. By Bus: Take the no 1 or no 2 bus, getting off at Santon. The bridge is a short walk away near the Steam Railway Station.

By Railway: Take the Electric Railway to Douglas and then take the Steam Railway to the Santon Stop. Walk to the B26, turn left heading towards the A5. Walk along the A5 till you reach the bridge. Not far away. Visiting: Parking is roadside only. The site is located on a main road, so access is limited and there is no pavement. Do not forget to say 'Hello Fairies' or 'Good Day (Laa Mie in Manx)' whenever you cross the bridge.


'Real Fairy Bridge' near Kewaigue
Apparently the real original "Real Fairy Bridge" is located in the parish of Bradden across the Middle River near to the footpath from Oakhill to Kewaigue. TAKE THE PUBLIC FOOTPATH AT MIDDLE FARM KEWAIGUE.

Fairy Bridge, by Michael and Frances Howorth

Snippet of the week: The Fairy Bridge, Isle of Man
Our weekly feature on a place Guild members have found on their travels. Michael and Frances Howorth describe a Manx curiosity
Fairy Bridge
Where Else in the World…?
… would you find money pinned to a tree? Such is the case however at Fairy Bridge on the magical Isle of Man where such a note had been in place for over eight months when we spotted it. The fiver can be found along with a myriad of other offerings.
Fairy Bridge
Local folklore speaks of the spot as a hideaway for some of the little people who inhabit the island and it is considered bad luck to pass over the bridge without acknowledging the fairies. Visitors write messages and wishes on paper and even leave boxes of chocolates tied to the nearby tree, but it is what happens when a bus crosses the bridge that is perhaps the most strange.
Every passenger and driver alike, cynics or not, greet the little people out aloud hoping for a little fairy magic to rub off on them.

Isle of Skye

There is also a Fairy Bridge on the Isle of Skye. The location is said to mark the spot where a fairy princess said her last 'goodbye' to a chief of Clan MacLeod. The tradition concerns the Fairy Flag of Dunvegan. After reading this I realized that not only was the Fairy Bridge a very wonderful and powerful place for fairies, but the trees around the bridge were a focal point for all the wishes, hopes and dreams of the people who visited. So strong is this belief that even when money is left on a tree no one dares to steal it. This is when I realized that anyone can create this fairy magic in their own garden, yard or even on their balcony. All you need is the focal point of a tree to create the magic.

I have a tree in my back garden that I long ago dedicated to the Magpies and The Magpie Fairy. I leave food around this tree, and when I scatter the food I walk around the tree in a clockwise manner giving thanks and asking for my wishes to be granted. After reading about the trees around the Fairy Bridge I have now started to write my wishes on paper and I tape these pieces of paper onto the tree. I will also start to add other things such as ribbons, gifts or anything else I feel inspired to leave as presents or offerings to the fairies.
If you haven’t got a garden to plant your tree, select a small growing variety of tree, and plant it in a tub to put in your yard or on your balcony. Some trees will thrive in the home if placed in a light airy room that has plenty of sunshine. Don’t forget that all trees planted in tubs and containers of any kind will need repotting when they start to grow, so repot at least every two years to encourage the growth and health of the tree. Also feed regularly if in a tub or container.