Thursday, 30 July 2015

Peel Castle, Kippers and Moddey Doo


Peel is a rather nice town on the west coast. It used to have a large fishing fleet (somewhat smaller now), it is home to a factory which says it is the only traditional kipper factory left on the island, and its castle dates back to the 10th century.

Peel Castle

The castle (built by King Magnus the Barefoot) on St Patrick’s Isle dominates the town and is separated from the town by a small causeway

Defensive Gap

which was built over (rather sadly) with a road when the harbour wall was extended and thus a feel for the defensive position of the castle is somewhat lost although an aerial view shows what it would have been.

Peel Castle from Air

Inside, the castle is mainly ruins

Peel Castle St German Cathedral

with the Cathedral of St German

Round Tower

and the Round Tower (10th Century) dominating the site.

A castle cannot call itself a Castle unless it has a ghost and this one has the Ghost of Moddey Doo

Moddey Doo

(here shown as it is said to look) which is a Black Dog which used to appear at regular intervals - read about him here.

Manx Kippers

Once Kippers were synonymous with the Isle of Man and in season it was possible for a Herring caught early on day one, to be a Kipper and on a breakfast table in the North of England on day two.

Depending upon which way the wind is blowing, the smell of kipper curing from Moore’s Kippery can cover the town. We went on a free tour of the Smokehouse and our clothes (rather pleasurably even for a vegetarian such as me) smelt of Kippers and Oak Chipping smoke for days afterwards.

Tenter Hooks

Herring are split, cleaned and salted and then hung from Tenterhooks on a Tenter Bar. 


There are a number of smoke houses

View into a smoke house

which have fires burning on the floor and the condition of the fire and what it is burning gives a traditional kipper its colour and taste.

Up into a smoke house roof

The Kippers (on Tenterhooks) are then hung in the roof space of the smoke house for as long as it takes to Kipper them.

How to make a kipper is described at the Moore’s Kippery Website (link above) and also here.

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