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13 November 2014

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You are in: Isle of Man > History > Do you believe?

The fairy Bridge on the Isle of Man

Do you believe?

Ask anyone on the IOM and they’ll tell you how they greet the Fairies whenever they pass the Fairy Bridge. Various fates await the non-believers. Some get chicken pox and some return home to find they've been burgled. Everyone has a tale to tell.

In recent years however, a simple "Hello Fairies" has not been enough for some people.  Today, the trees around the Fairy Bridge have been festooned with memorabilia including, teddy bears, flowers, tributes to loved ones who have passed away and even ladies underwear.

The Fairy Bridge on the Isle of Man

It has always seemed a harmless, even humorous sight but now Manx politicians are considering if it could be presenting a hazard for motorists?   David Callister MLC certainly thinks so.

“In the 1940s tourists were encouraged by local coach drivers to say hello to the Fairies to bring them good luck.  The tradition has stayed with us and now it’s more popular than ever. The problem is people are now fixing things to the trees. 

The Fairy Bridge on the Isle of Man

“It looks untidy and unpleasant in the middle of the beautiful Manx countryside. There has been a lot of political debate recently about litter in the countryside and this mess at the Fairy Bridge is no exception.  As well as that, it’s not a safe area for people to stop. If there was a post box, people could send messages- they would get a reply from the fairies and we would all be happy.

The idea of having a dedicated post box for the Fairy Bridge is not a new one.  The proposal has been put to the Tourism Department before but no action has yet been taken.

"I believe in Fairies, I’ve seen them; we are over-run with them."

Vice Chairman of Isle of Man Post, Geoff Corkish

Geoff Corkish, Vice Chairman of the Isle of Man Post says the Fairies are great boost to tourism.

“The little people are important to locals and visitors. This is an Island full of enchantment and the Fairies receive letters from all over the world.

Geoff Corkish

“They demand respect from all of us. We want a post box here and we may even get the Fairies their own website. The Little People are everything to all people.  They are not just here, they are everywhere.  They’ve even got a shop where we send letters to. What more proof do people want?  I believe in Fairies, I’ve seen them; we are over-run with them.”

Linda Williams who runs the Fairy shop in Douglas said many of her customers ask how they can get a letter to the Fairies.

The Fairy Bridge on the Isle of Man

“Children write letters when they lose teeth or have a special birthday, but a lot of correspondence comes from adults. It’s for people of all ages and from all backgrounds.  During race week we get all the TT boys in.  I have become known as the Fairy God Mother and I sometimes even get phone calls for the fairies.  It’s nothing sinister, it’s quite magical. It’s supposed to be light hearted and when the postman delivers the letters it’s very comical.”

Linda Williams

“Children grow up too quickly nowadays so it’s nice to keep some magic in their lives.  That’s why I always reply to letters.  I don’t find it strange. If a post box is put up at the Fairy Bridge I could reply to them all and then keep all the names and addresses which I could pass onto the tourist board.  It’s a self-generating business.”

The people of the Isle of Man await a decision from the authorities

last updated: 04/08/2009 at 12:39
created: 08/05/2009

Have Your Say

Should the Fairies have their own post box or should people be allowed to put memorabilia on the trees?

The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

lynn hughes
beleiver/I took my own children to the bridge 2 summers ago/i always said hello to the fairies when i was a child/we come from ormskirk lancs/I know the fairies remembered me from when i was a child and now i have introduced them to my own children/post box get my vote!!!!!

Ben Summers
Hi. I think this sounds like a fantastic idea. I've been to the IOM and absolutely loved all the little customs i came across. Keep it up!

Melanie Bryan
Yey for Mrs Williams. Nothing wrong with a bit of magic and make believe. Put up the post box. Great tourist attraction!

Dave Williams, Los Angeles (Linda's son)
My dearest Mother is the perfect lady to hand out love filled intentions with her words of positivity for both the children who make a wish and adults who need some luck! Make it happen for the benefit of everyone who knows the Fairies Mr Corkish!!!!Best WishesDave

Believe! Believe! Fairies are good for all. A postbox for the Manx fairies is a must. We all need some magic in our lives.

crystal jack
Mrs. William's is right - children are growing up too quickly. In fact, we are all growing up too quickly. Disallowing the public to partake in this mythical tradition is not an option. The solution seems simple - install that post box, get those letters to Linda, and allow people to keep the magic in their lives!

So what are the government exactly waiting for!!?? Lin Williams needs to take charge of this project. Simply because she's the only one expressing care! That is like gold dust these days, especially when dealing with any kind of heritage. The Fairy Bridge is on the verge of becoming a complete wreck and needs urgent attention. It's not just the location that is falling apart, it's the very cultural fabric that brought it into fruition in the first place. Let's not forget one of the key things that it stands for FUN and MAKE BELIEVE. Fun for children throughout the world who are inundated on a daily basis with a myriad of reasons to grow up faster than they should be. The Fairy Bridge and the wonderful letters that are sent from The Fairy Shop should be used to keep this innocence and positive energy alive for children throughout the world. Well done Mrs Williams for creating that love in your work and wanting to help maintain a little piece of Manx history in the process. I think it's about time somebody saw sense here, cut through the usual bureaucracy at the tourism department and gave her an opportunity to do some good for the island.

Christine Caddick
I have been coming to the Island since I was a very small child I'm 60 now and never go over the bridge without saying good morning of good afternoon or good evening. What a good idea for a post box to keep it magical for us all!

I am Manx born and lived here all my life and when I was young I never saw mementos, my father who was as Manx as the hills, always just said hello to them and us younger ones just started saying it ourselves, that's the tradition that was passed to me - we never ever stopped to leave anything.

angela palin
i live in liverpool whenever i visit the isle of man i always say hello when i pass the bridge yes they should have there own po box iam defitnetly a believer

Carol Nicol, Onchan
I believe in Fairies i do, i do!! I think a Fairy post box is a great idea. I'm 49 & i never cross the Fairy bridge without saying "Hello little people", my girls too, my parents are in their 70's & still say it.I can remember when i was a sunday school teacher in the 70's & we went on coach trip from Port Erin to Douglas. A third of the children didn't say hello as we went over the Fairy bridge, we got round the next ben & a we got a flat. Same on the way home only this time a wheel came off!! Honestly!It's not just the magic & enchantment of childhood, it's part of the magic & enchantment of Ellan Vannin x

Yes they should have their own P.O.Box together with their own Stamps be sold in the Post Offices and Sovenier Shops aroud the island.

Arrol Johnson
The Little People should have there own post box there home is becoming a mess with all the tack that is left lying around and hanging from the tree.

Irma Believer
What a lovely article. Top marks to Geoff Corkish for being a true believer!A message for David Collister:What is messy about Fairy Bridge? The McDonalds and KFC boxes scattered around Douglas Head, they are messy; Fairy Bridge (both of them) is a place where people have publicly bared their souls and emotions with messages, memories and wishes pinned to the trees or secreted away somewhere. What is wrong with that - a little bit of Manx magic for passers-by to fleetingly see as they pass by. A post box stinks of marketing - and marketing kills magic. David Callister MLC and all other dead eyed soulless kill-joys, please leave it alone. If you find it distracts you from the safe operation of your vehicle then please let someone else drive for the sake of other safe and capable road users.

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