Cathy Clucas was born and educated on the Isle of Man, a self-governing British Crown dependency located in the Irish Sea between the islands of Great Britain and Ireland. She worked in hotels, catering and retail in addition to being an attendant/guide/demonstrator for Manx National Heritage at Cregneash National Folk Museum. In late 1989 she began course work to learn Manx Gaelic. She attended the first course for Isle of Man registered Blue Badge Tour guides in 1990/1991 and studied landscape interpretation through the University of Liverpool (1992-1994) to increase her knowledge and understanding of the island’s landscape. Cathy was the first playgroup leader for Mooinjer Veggey Preschool Manx Gaelic movement until 2001 and then became a teaching assistant for the first ever Manx Gaelic Immersion class and latterly school Yn Vunscoill Ghaelgagh until 2007. In 2006 she earned an M.A. from the University of Liverpool in Manx Studies. Cathy also attended Isle of Man College for a part-time two year lifelong learning teaching course. In 2010 she obtained a Professional Graduate Diploma in teaching in the lifelong learning sector from the University of Bolton. She worked as an assistant librarian on the Isle of Man Mobile Library service, and has worked as an academic researcher (and still does occasionally). Cathy is a regular volunteer for the Isle of Man at Festival Interceltique Lorient Brittany. Currently, she works part time for Manx National Heritage in Library and Archives, as Secretary for Gaelic Broadcasting Committee, as the Youth Worker in Charge for Manx Gaelic speakers youth club Possan Aeglagh, and as an Isle of Man registered tour guide.
How do the tour experiences that you offer give guests a unique perspective on history, people or culture of the Isle of Man?
I feel my tours give guests to the Isle of Man a unique experience because first and foremost I am Manx born, I can track my lineage back through my maternal family tree to the early 1600s. I have lived, worked and been educated on the island. I have been interested and proud of the culture, history and heritage of the island since childhood. Additionally, I am a Manx Gaelic speaker which allows me to give a different perspective to the island’s culture and heritage.
How have your tours evolved since their inception?
The experiences I provide are usually coach excursions, but I also create private tailor made tours for smaller groups. Occasionally, I am also asked to support TV crews and other such bespoke tours.
What is one detail of an experience you provide that may go unnoticed by guests, but which you feel is important?
Prior to each tour I check for anything that could effect that days activities, such as road closures. Being flexible and having a plan B up your sleeve for the unexpected is always important.
What do you wish every guest knew as they consider visiting the Isle of Man?
How much there is to see … it really cannot be done in a day … a day tour only really gives a small taste of the island. The more I know about a person or group and what they want to see, the better as I can plan to cater specifically for their needs within a short time span.
What is one travel trend that really excites you?
I am really interested in niche holidays. Plus, connecting people with where their relatives came from. Locating where a persons ancestors are buried and where they lived on the island is very satisfying, I love to be able to help people connect with their past.
What sets your tours apart from other, similar, tour options?
I know the island very well and depending on peoples interests I feel I can show them what interests them on the Island.
What is one insiders tip to getting the most out of an experiential travel vacation?
Communicate your needs and interests well in advance of your trip.
What is one strategy that has helped your tour business to grow?
I would say the internet. Since the Isle of Man Registered Tour Guides have had a website, the number of tour requests has increased significantly.
Please share one instance where a guest had a moving or emotional reaction to the experience you provided to them.
I took a couple of American photographers round the island last autumn and they were blown away by the beauty and landscape diversity of the island … they were lost for words at times.