Balladoole

Keeill Vael - Balladoole

This site has three monuments, making it a really worthwhile stop off. When we visited, we were also impressed by the great views west across the blue waters of the Bay of Carrickey to Port St Mary in the distance.

The monuments are the Viking Ship Burial, Keeill Vael and Balladoole Hill Fort.

The Viking Ship Burial

The site contained the remains of a Viking ship from around 850 AD to 950 AD, an adult male with his belongings, and an adult woman. The ship was about 36ft long and resembled the Skuldelev 3, built in the 1040's which could hold cargo of over 4 tons and took 5 men to sail. The male was a man of importance, due to the goods and size of boat that he was buried with. Buried alongside him were many basic items, such as clothes, tools, horse riding equipment, etc. Also buried with him was a shield. The woman's remains were incomplete and she was without any goods of her own. She may have been a sacrificed victim, as in other sites on the island and in Europe. It is also possible that she was just an earlier burial, unrelated to the Viking burial.

The Viking burial lies within early Christian lintel graves. This might indicate the relationship between early Vikings had with the Manx natives with an acceptance as two cultures merged.

Keeill Vael

Keeill Vael is an ancient Keeill (chapel) from about 900 AD to 1000 AD. It is close to the Viking ship burial. This site was excavated in 1918 and presumed to be a pre-Viking site. There is also a Bronze Age Grave on the hill from around 1000 BC.

Balladoole Hill Fort

Next to the Keeill and Viking ship burial is the remains of a Celtic Iron Age Hill Fort. The rampart encircles the hill-top. These sites are located in the south of the Island near Castletown, overlooking the Bay ny Carrickey.

Getting there

  • By car - On the A5 between Castletown and Port St. Mary. Take the side road off the A5 towards Balladoole. This narrow road is to the right past the turning for the A28 Ballabeg Road.
  • By bus - Routes no. 1, 1C, 2, and 2C stop along the A5 running from Douglas, Port St. Mary, and Port Erin. The stop is shortly after leaving Castletown. From the stop a short walk of about half a mile.
  • By rail - Take the Steam Railway to Castletown. There is about a mile and a half walk from the rail station to the site or take the no. 1, 1C, 2 or 2C towards Port Erin from the main road near the station.
Keeill Vael - Balladoole
Keeill Vael - Balladoole
Keeill Vael - Balladoole
Balladoole Hill Fort
Balladoole Hill Fort

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