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Welcome to the Orkney Folklore and Storytelling Centre website. Here you will see the range of Orkney Storytelling and Heritage events, courses and workshops that we offer for all ages of visitors, local people, families, school groups, community groups, bespoke Orkney storytelling, and traditional Island events for private parties.

The Orkney Folklore and Storytelling Centre sits on 3.5 acres on the A967 in the middle of the UNESCO World Heritage Site; ‘The Heart of Neolithic Orkney’. It is located in Sandwick, just three miles from the Ring of Brodgar, the Ness of Brodgar archaeological dig and the Standing Stones of Stenness and only two miles from the Stone Age village, Skara Brae, which sits in Skaill Bay on the North West Atlantic coast of Orkney’s Mainland Island.


Robert
Robert
2024-05-22
We had the privilege of Lynne's company and her outstanding storytelling skills lastnight. What an incredible experience. Set in the most suitable Orcadian hoose complete with roaring fire it was a pleasure to have these tales of 'working the land and fishing the sea' told to us. Weaving abundant local ken with finfolk and selkies we were taken somewhere else for the evening yet staying firmly local. She is an inspiration and Orkney is a richer place for it. Loved it and thank you.
Chris Sharpe
Chris Sharpe
2024-05-16
Amazing evening and totally captivating. Lynn was a great storytelling host and this evening by the fire is totally recommended.
Margaret Sharpe
Margaret Sharpe
2024-05-16
A spellbinding evening by a peat fire
Laura Schütz
Laura Schütz
2023-09-30
I felt completely enchanted during her stories
Graham Connington
Graham Connington
2023-09-24
A thoroughly enjoyable evening! As Scottish expats visiting from the US, my mother and I discovered this by chance online, and were not disappointed. Lynn, the storyteller and host, was a delight. Her passion for the preservation of these tales is undeniable, and we were very impressed with her storytelling talent. Through this ability, she gave us a magical glimpse into the lives of those who passed these stories down through generations. My only regret is not getting there earlier, so I could have looked through her collection of relevant literature and photographs more! A lot of work has been put into the Center to add to the atmosphere and experience. I love supporting people who are passionate and dedicated to preserving local culture. Great job, would highly recommend to my friends and family if/when they visit Orkney! (It was nice of Harray the cat to join us after the conclusion too.)
Jai Vrhowec
Jai Vrhowec
2023-09-15
Absolutely incredible evening with Lynn spellbinding storytelling Orcadian tales, myths and legends. Do yourself a favour if you are in Orkney! And a brilliant library of texts and tales to flick through too.
Hannah Fletcher
Hannah Fletcher
2023-09-11
A wonderful evening, we were utterly swept up in the tales of Orkney. Lynn is a true storyteller, a magic weaver. I'm so glad we found her, we will definitely return for more stories when we return to Orkney.
Marion Watters
Marion Watters
2023-09-03
Absolutely Magical experience. Highly recommend doing this while on Orkney. Storytelling at its best
Karima Shamma
Karima Shamma
2023-07-31
Lynn is a wonderful storyteller and will totally mesmerize you. If you don't mind some smokiness the peat fire is lovely. She tells different tales depending on the season and has a beautiful library with an array of reading materials one can browse while getting settled or can arrange a time to use the library otherwise. Would definitely recommend.

Discover more things to do in Orkney


PROGRAMME EVENTS OFFERED :

  • PEATFIRE TALES OF ORKNEY EVENINGS. Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays – A traditional Orkney that combines legend, lore and social customs with music, song and dance.
  • FIRESIDE AFTERNOONS: Enjoy the traditions of these North Atlantic Islands, sitting around the peat fire while Listening to the legends, Folklore and social customs of past Orkney fishing & farming peoples and communities -Thursday and Saturday afternoons.
  • FAMILY AND CHILDREN’S STORY CIRCLES SESSIONS- Maximum groups number – 8 people Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday mornings – afternoons by arrangement peatfire@orkneyattractions.com
  • MAGICAL STORIES (Of The Islands & Highlands)- A BESPOKE, PRIVATE EVENING / AFTERNOON – for your own group’s celebration (6 – 30 people) Choose from our programme of Stories &  Legends from the Islands and Highlands, discover some of the Orkney & Scottish social customs, Traditional dances and music.
  • THE POWER OF STORY – BESPOKE COURSES & SUMMER SCHOOLS Learn how to be the Weaver of Tales and explore this ancient oral tradition. All welcome (18 years +) Of particular value to those working in education, special education, mental health and social care. It greatly benefits students who wish to go into further studies in Drama, Performing Arts, Dance and Physical Theatre studies.
  • PRIVATE GROUPS – Between 6 – 28 guests. Bespoke events tailored for each group – group cost by arrangement.

BOOKING IS ESSENTIAL FOR ALL EVENTS.


Come along to a unique Orkney Island experience and discover the oral and fireside heritage of the Highland and Islands’ fishing and farming peoples who worked the land and fished the seas around these North Atlantic Islands, or as George Mackay Brown, the Orkney writer called them in his Poem Cycle ‘The Fishermen With Ploughs’.

Orkney Storytelling CentreStorytellers have passed on folk tales, myths and legends in their own dialect since time began. In Orkney, the Island’s old language, Norn, was superseded by the Scots ‘Mither Tongue’. There is a school of thought that from the late 15th Century this demise of the Norn language is in relation to the political and social history of these North Atlantic Islands.

Eventually lost as a spoken language, in Shetland it could have been as late as the 19th Century when the last islanders spoke Norn, only fragments of many old Orkney ballads, folk tales and legends remain. Two ballads still exist as complete pieces, one in the Orkney/ Scots dialect, The Ballad of the Lady Odivere and one from the island of Foula in Shetland, in the old Norn language, The Ballad of the Lady Hildina.

Throughout time, the story is one of man’s oldest tools for communication, learning and the recording of individuals and their communities way of life. Stories, customs and beliefs passed on by ‘word of mouth from one generation to the next, the stories of the ordinary and the extraordinary, the great Kings and

lynn-barbour-interview

We invite you to sit by the peat fire in our Folklore and Heritage library, browse and explore the old Orkney books, newspapers, and maps, and ponder a moment on the 19th Century photographs of the past islanders who worked the land and fished the seas for many generations around these North Atlantic Islands.

Discover our Hamnavoe Room with Contemporary Orkney Writers’ books, Island Craft books, children’s Orkney story books along with contemporary 20th Century images of Orkney.

Spend time in our ‘Peedie’ Folk Art Gallery seeing island stories and myths, and folk tales in pastels and pencil, inks, pen and prints, take away an Orkney Folklore and legend StoryCards or Heritage leaflet

Sit in the Folk Art Studio around the big peat fire, surrounded by the wall murals and collages of the Orkney legends and myths, alongside models, masks and puppets of the  Island Folkloric characters and creatures. All are created from beachcombing, flotsam & jetsom & recycled materials.

Listen to The Peatfire Tales Of Orkney from ‘The time before time….when legends were true…’ or create your own folkloric characters, creatures and storyboards in our Family & Children’s StoryCircles sessions.

The Enchanting tongues went on and on beside the fish oil lamps, then the grey of  morning entered the crofts, and called the islanders back to their hard work of ploughing and fishing‘    – George Mackay Brown