As a centre for Orkney Heritage Tourism we welcome you to listen to the Orkney Islands oral traditions of storytelling, ballads, sagas, song and poetry with a particular emphasis on the Island fishing and farming peoples and their traditions. Discover who these ‘Fishermen with Ploughs’ are as George Mackay Brown called them in his Poem Cycle. Experience the past Islander’s sea legends, crofting tales, customs and beliefs, how the Island Calendar and partnership with this ancient landscape and surrounding areas has shaped today’s social landscape on these North Atlantic Islands
Folklore and Heritage Library
Sit in candlelight by the peat fire and browse through the local social customs and heritage, exploring the old Orkney books, newspapers, maps, prints and photographs.
The Hamnavoe Room
Listen to local Orkney music or dialect while exploring contemporary Orkney writer’s books including George Mackay Brown and Gregor Lamb or Island Craft books and the children’s Orkney books such as Faraway World: An Orkney Boyhood by W. Towrie Cutt.
Folk Arts Studio
“A time in the old Orkney crofts with their cruisie lamps under the rafters, the feeblest of glimmers, with the old soft mouths at the edge of darkness, telling their spells and stories over and over again.” George Mackay Brown
Gather round our big peat fire surrounded by murals and collages of the Islands’ legends and myths alongside the masks, puppets and models of Orkney Folkloric characters and creatures. Here is where we transport you with our stories and music by the light of the peat fire.
The Garden of Island Legend and Lore
“Memory loves to linger,
Around that sacred spot,
Recalling scenes that’s by-gone,
But cannot be forgot”
John Merriman, Via, 13 January 1891
Explore our outdoor creative space inspired by the four elements – Earth, Air, Fire and Water set in the ancient landscape of Via. From the old Norn word ‘Veeo’, ‘Via’ means ‘a sacred place’ – discover the story of the Stones of Via and the Bronze Age burial mound.
Let your imagination wander whilst sitting by the sculptures and forms created from recycled materials inspired by characters of Island folklore and legends.