How to Find the Old Fairy Bridge on the Isle of Man

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How to find the Old Fairy Bridge on the Isle of Man. It’s far from the new one on the A2 and is a beautiful old bridge that has a long tradition related to fairies, Catholicism, and offerings.

How to find the REAL Fairy Bridge on the Isle of Man

Though historical accounts of why and how the bridge was built might be lost, the Manx people haven’t forgotten that the real Fairy Bridge is not the one you see when you drive on the A5 from Douglas to Castletown. It’s the ruin of a fairy tale stone bridge set among trees a short walk from Kewaigue Hill. But why are there two Fairy Bridges? And how do you find the original one, nestled far from any main roads?

The story that I’ve heard goes that fewer and fewer people were visiting the original site, so a government official decided to create a more accessible one that would draw more tourists. It’s worked, and most of the Island will greet fairies when they drive past on the A5. A true Manxie will say it in Manx Gaelic: Moghrey mie Vooinjer Veggey (Good morning fairies), Fastyr mie Vooinjer Veggey (Good afternoon fairies), or Oie vie Vooinjer Veggey (Good night fairies). But are we greeting in vain? Are the fairies really there?

How to Find the Real Fairy Bridge

Many people know of the existence of the real Fairy Bridge but aren’t quite sure where it is. Fortunately, with the help of online references and local help, I found it. I’ll be honest, though – we walked right past it the first time. I set off with my friend Clare, and we both passed over the footbridge on the Middle River without thinking of looking around that area. There isn’t a sign telling you to head off on the narrow track that follows the water, so we kept going and eventually split up, trying to find it.

How to find the REAL Fairy Bridge on the Isle of Man
The real Fairy Bridge has a long cultural and political history

After trekking back on my own, I made out the silhouette of the bridge’s arch through the trees and finally found what we were looking for! It’s far more magical and beautiful than the new site, and I spent some time wandering around and enjoying listening to the sound of the water and autumn leaves rustling above. Not a soul came by while I was there, but I did have a peek at the offerings left by past visitors. Some were coins, but others were letters asking the fairies to grant a happy holiday season, good weather, and a boyfriend. I was surprised that there weren’t more but found this article describing how someone cleaned up the site earlier this year.

How to find the REAL Fairy Bridge. Pictured here: offerings and wishes to the Fairies
Offerings and wishes to the Fairies

Discover More About the Isle of Man

How to find the REAL Fairy Bridge. Pictured here: take the hidden footpath on right side instead of going over the river.
Take the hidden footpath on the right side instead of going over the river.

The Old Fairy Bridge is near Kewaigue School

The location of the real Fairy Bridge is here, but can also be easily found walking up the hill from Kewaigue school. Walk from the school until you see a cottage on the left (south) side of the road. Alongside the cottage is a farm track clearly signed as a public footpath. Follow this track for about ten or fifteen minutes until you reach the Middle River. Instead of going over the river on the footbridge, take the narrow track on the right alongside the water. You’ll be able to see the Fairy Bridge through the trees.

How to find the REAL Fairy Bridge. Pictured here: the beginning of the track that will take you to the bridge. This is on Kewaigue Hill near the school.
The beginning of the track that leads to the Old Fairy Bridge.

On Leaving Offerings

Once you’ve made it, please be courteous to the bridge and surrounding area. Though it’s a fun idea to leave an offering for the fairies, avoid leaving that will become unwelcome rubbish after you leave. That includes anything made of paper, plastic, cloth, or stuffing. Personally, I wouldn’t leave anything other than something that wild animals might appreciate, such as wild bird seed. I’m sure if the fair folk could pass on a message, it would be to leave the site as you found it and to make your wish in your heart and mind.

How to find the REAL Fairy Bridge. Pictured here: the back side of the bridge

History of the Real Fairy Bridge

It turns out that the history of the Old Fairy Bridge and leaving offerings there is more political than magical. The tradition of saying hello to the fairies actually stems from the time when Catholicism was made illegal on the island. The bridge used to sit at the boundary of church lands and took a toll on those passing over. When the church was ousted, the common people took to saying hello to the fairies and leaving offerings for them as a hidden way of supporting the Church. They did this because public support of Catholicism would have been criminal.

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9 Comments

  1. John L Hall says:

    I have visited all the places mentioned in the article and more. Magnetic hill i rode a pushbike there and tried it on the cycle and a coke can ! Both worked it’s interesting to notice the hill area is surrounded by quartz rocks protruding from the ground roughly in a triangle ! The Fairy Stone is to where the car rolls back up to and stops . This is a large lump of quartz rock in the embankment beside the road. The story goes The Fair folk push the vehicle back up the road to the Fairy Stone! I will be visiting the site again Manx gp August 2023 . One place not mentioned and worth a visit is the Gef the Talking Mongoose location.! A ghost story of a very strange animal ghost /poltergeist that in was investigated by Harry Price himself the famous ghost investigator of Borley Rectory! Located in a hard to find spot on a mountain access via a footpath from left side of the main road from Peel .Also known as the Dalby Spook a roadside pub sign had Gef’s image and a beer named after the creature by a Manx Brewery.

    1. I’ve not visited the Gef location! If you have a whatthreewords location, could you email me please? I’d love to pay it a visit :)

  2. Inje Breck says:

    It is not a Manx tradition to leave offerings. This was never done until a couple of decades ago. Please don’t encourage people to leave litter of any kind d in unspoilt countryside

  3. Many thanks for showing these photos. I took my friends ashes there ten years ago placed in a beautiful glass box decorated with butterflies. Due to ill health I have been unable to revisit, and at the time I was encouraged not to take photos, so it is a real treat to see them and remember my friend, once again, thank you.xx

  4. I visited the site when I went in 2019 to marshal the TT Races. Planning to visit again on a week trip to the island soon.

  5. Thank you so much: my son and I went there yesterday evening. It was deserted and beautiful, there were lots of offerings to the fairies. We never would have found it without your pics and directions!

  6. Skye Class says:

    I love these kinds of locations. I’ll definitely have to check it out when I finally make it to the Isle of Mann!