Visited 09.04.2004: Don't be put off by the walk, although it can be busy the road is quite wide and the site is worth the short walk - we parked in the plantation car park about 500 yards away on the opposite side of the road. We visited on Good Friday and like most of the sites on the IOM had the place to ourselves. Views over the surrounding countryside are stunning and it is easy to see why this was an ideal spot for a settlement. Your neighbours certainly wouldn't be able to just turn up without you spotting them.
Visited 25th August 2003: Parking for the Braaid isn't very easy. The nearest lay-by isn't very close to the footpath, so you're forced to walk along the A24, which is quite a busy road. Once on the footpath, it's relatively easy going, but not exactly wheelchair friendly.
Just when you think the prehistoric sites on Mann couldn't get any stranger, along comes a place like the Braaid. As we approached it I was wondering what the hell it was. Stones stick out of the ground all over the place like shark teeth. It's only when you get up close that it begins to make sense.
The Braaid is a settlement, used up until the Viking period, but that's about all everyone agrees on. It contains three structures, one a Viking Long House, one a Viking cattle byre and the other a circle of orthostats with rubble between them. The circle was initially interpreted as a stone circle, adapted for use as a round house in a later period. This would make it the only 'true' stone circle on the island. Modern thinking is that it never was a stone circle, but was built during the Iron Age as a round house.
I really enjoyed this place (even the Viking stones were pleasing). Like most of the sites on the island the Braaid is not busy with visitors. The stones are well placed in the surrounding countryside, and it's easy to sit and ponder it all. It's quite a puzzle.
by C. I. Paton mentions in "Manx Calendar Customs (Continued)" that there is a well at The Braaid. It gets a little asterisk, which puts it in the category 'Known to be "sacred" wells.'
The visiting of wells for the cure of diseases was very general in the Isle of Man within living memory. The special days on which they were visited were Ascension Day and the first Sunday in August, especially the latter day, but the sick, or their friends, came also on other days for the water, particularly on Sundays "when the books were open," i.e. during the time of Morning Service in the Parish Church. [...] Though the custome is even nowadays probably not quite extinct, yet in the greatly changed state of the Island the presence of a coin or a few pins in one of these wells would more probably be due to a feeling for an old custom than to any real belief in the efficacy of the well* - as likely as not it would be due to some holiday visitor who had come picnicking to the spot.
*Folklore is never authentic enough, you will notice. But who needs real belief - look how popular Christmas is amongst non-believers.
From Folklore, Vol. 52, No. 3 (Sep., 1941), pp. 184-197.
The circular structure was initially interpreted as a stone circle but now is recognised as a round house probably dating to the Iron age. But due to the presence of the stone outlier its original layout as a stone circle cannot be dismissed.