Port St Mary or Purt le Moirrey is a picturesque coastal village in the south west corner of the Isle of Man. The name is derived from the church of St Mary which once stood beside the shore of Chapel Bay, a sweeping beach edged with rocky pools which is popular with locals and tourists alike.
Once a thriving fishing port, Port St Mary still processes the world famous ‘queenie’ scallop. It is also a centre for pleasure craft having deepwater berths and all states of tide slipways. Yachts, powerboats and jet skis can be safely launched from the slipway. The regular clink of sheets on masts echo around the Island’s most attractive harbour.
The coast line entices a wide variety of both sea and land birds to take up residence. Basking sharks, harbour porpoises and grey seals are regular visitors and there are boat trips from the Port to see them as there are regular sailings during the summer months to the nature reserve on the Calf of Man. Scuba diving also offers an opportunity not only to view these creatures at close quarters but also to visit the many ship wrecks that are located around the southern coast line.
For the more active, Port St Mary offers a 9 hole municipal golf course designed by the 1920 British Open Champion George Duncan, Crown green bowling, croquet, tennis courts and spectacular scenic walks.
The village is blessed with restaurants and pubs serving traditional and international menus.
Port St Mary has a vibrant village community with activities catering for all tastes and ages, The WI, Concert Party, Toddler groups, Allotment Society and the annual Beach Mission to name but a few
LOCAL HISTORY: If you would like to know more about the rich history of the village the following published books and articles may be of interest to residents and visitors alike:
The Rushen Heritage Trust publication ‘Living with the Sea: the fascinating history of Port St Mary‘.
Kate Rogers’ series of edited booklets of people’s memories of Port St Mary, titled ‘Our Heritage‘ (published 1980s – 1990s)
In 1996 Dollin Kelly edited ‘New Manx Worthies’, a substantial update of the original ‘Manx Worthies‘ edited by the Manx historian W Moore (1901). Both contain profiles of Port St Mary people.
In 2000 John Rimington published ‘Features and History of the Meayll Peninsula‘ on behalf of the Rushen Parish Commissioners. It includes material on Port St Mary.
In 2001 and 2008 John W Qualtrough, with support from the Port St Mary Commissioners, published ‘Port St Mary: a brief history of key places and people in the port‘ including a detailed description of the people and places of the 1850s as recalled by John Watterson, a former station master.
Maps, newspaper articles, Manx folk life surveys, government reports and John Gawne’s ‘Port St Mary and the Fishing Fleets‘ (1950) can be accessed in the Library of Manx National Heritage http://manxnationalheritage.im
Other historical material is available in ‘A Manx Notebook‘ www.isle-of-man.com/manxnotebook/ and in the Port St Mary draft appraisal for conservation status available from www.gov.im
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