Port Erin

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Port Erin
Manx: Purt Çhiarn
Isle of Man
Cosy Nook Cafe on Port Erin Beach.jpg
The western end of Port Erin beach
Grid reference: SC199689
Location: 54°5’10"N, 4°45’22"W
Population: 3,530  (2011)
Post town: Isle Of Man
Postcode: IM9
Dialling code: 01624
Local Government

Port Erin is a seaside village in the south of the Isle of Man; a modest place with a population recorded in 2011 as just 3,530, which makes it the largest settlement by population in the south of the island.


Port Erin seafront

The name of the village is from the Manx language and may mean "Lord's port" or "Iron port". In modern Manx its name is Purt Çhiarn.

The "Lord" of the name may possibly refer to the parish of the Holy Trinity (Kirk Christ Rushen).

Another possibility is that the name is derived from sheear, meaning "westerly".[1]


St Catherine's Well

The outer breakwater, visible at low tide only, was an abandoned project constructed in 1863 using the Port Erin Breakwater Railway and saw the first steam locomotive used on the island; a severe storm of 1884 later destroyed the breakwater and it was never rebuilt. Today, a marker buoy shows the extent of the breakwater, and the landward end is still clearly discernible. To the north-east, by the A7 road, are the earthwork remains of a motte and bailey castle known as Cronk Howe Mooar, possibly the site of a timber fortification built by Magnus Barelegs [Barefoot] c. 1100.

About the town

The beach is sandy and is bounded by two headlands which (on windy days) funnel the prevailing westerly wind towards the village. On sunny days, the bay acts as a suntrap. One headland, Bradda Head, has a memorial tower called Milner's Tower. The promenade, which is somewhat higher than the seafront, primarily consists of hotels - mostly built in the Victorian era, although due to changes in taste among tourists, many of these are being converted into flats and apartments. The town is famed for its views including spectacular sunsets over Port Erin Bay and Bradda Head, as well as glimpses of the Mourne Mountains in County Down in the distance.


Port Erin station forms the western terminus of the Isle of Man Railway and sits in the centre of the village. The station has been described as "the most beautiful building in town" and is constructed of distinctive red Ruabon brick in an unusual design specifically to fit into its diagonal location between the platforms and the nearby road.

The station is now a fraction of its original size, with the former bay platform and sidings now occupied by the storage yard for Bus Vannin, whilst an additional area once used for maintenance has been replaced by The Haven public house. More recent developments have seen the platform shortened and a carriage shed constructed in the yard, capable of storing eight carriages. Prior to this the rolling stock was stored in the open.


St Catherine's Church
Methodist Church (background)
  • Church of England: St Catherine
  • Baptist: Grace Baptist Church
  • Evangelical: Gospel Hall
  • Methodist: Port Erin Methodist Church
  • Roman Catholic: St Columba

St Catherine's, the largest church in the village, stands on Church Road at its junction with the upper promenade, within its own grounds.

The Methodist church stands on Droghadfayle Road.

Grace Baptist Church was built in 1982 at the same time and in a similar architectural style to a surrounding housing estate. This congregation began life in neighbouring Castletown before relocating and expanding its current headquarters in 1985; since this time the building has also been modified and expanded subject to demand.

About the village

The Railway Station
Lifeboat Station
  • Fish Hatchery, a building in the outer harbour close to the wrecked breakwater, this was home to a University of Liverpool Marine Biology department which closed in 2006.
  • Milner's Tower, the distinctive keyhole-shaped building that stands on top of Bradda Head, a memorial to a locksmith, only reachable on foot. It features on the crest and coat of arms for the village.
  • Railway Museum, in the centre of the village and housed in the former bus garage of Isle of Man Road Services; open seasonally whenever the railway is in operation and accessible via the main road.
  • Museum Building, originally constructed as a cinema but more recently used as office space and retail accommodation.
  • Erin Arts Centre located in a converted church on Victoria Square. The building is host to annual musical competitions and often to other events; it is one of several small centres for the arts on the island.
  • Port Erin Railway Station in the centre of the village and constructed of distinctive red Ruabon brick, the station is open seasonally; winner of an Ian Allen Heritage Award in 1991
  • Herdman House, now a private residence but built as the village's public library and gaming room, it at one time included a billiard hall and extensive library section before conversion to its present use.
  • Collinson's Café, an unusual building with several unique architectural features including a rotunda and large sprung dance floor from its time as a dance hall; it can be found above the promenade on the road leading to the golf course
  • Lifeboat Station this can be found beyond the harbour on the road from the promenade; extended in recent years, it retains its slipway and deco architectural style and is open to the public when manned.
  • Police Station the Police Station closed in 2014, and is no longer manned. The closest manned Police Station in the south of the island is in Castletown. A public desk is located here.

On film

  • Stormbreaker (2006, starring Ewan McGregor) was filmed on Port Erin beach
  • The Ginger Tree (BBC) was filmed at the railway station in 1989
  • Five Children & It
  • The Train Now Departing (BBC series) filmed extensive scenes in and around the station

Outside links