Home

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.


Jai VrhowecJai Vrhowec
14:33 15 Sep 23
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 FletcherHannah Fletcher
10:48 11 Sep 23
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.
Matthias TrübMatthias Trüb
21:54 03 Sep 23
Marion WattersMarion Watters
21:53 03 Sep 23
Absolutely Magical experience. Highly recommend doing this while on Orkney. Storytelling at its best
Karima ShammaKarima Shamma
21:13 31 Jul 23
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.
Lynn WilsonLynn Wilson
20:06 24 Jul 23
A lovely evening of excellent storytelling in a beautiful venue
Anthony HaywardAnthony Hayward
05:14 17 Jul 23
Charismatic presentation of folk tales from Orkney. A unique experience and a conservation project for this distinctive archipelago culture.
Kellie SmithKellie Smith
19:41 12 Oct 22
Love, love, loved this!!! We went to a peat fireside tales session from 8pm to 10pm. The peat fire was on and we had the opportunity to look around some of the rooms before the event began. Lynn was so engaging and mesmerising for the entire duration! We were captivated by the 2 stories she told us and the folk tales she then explained. This was my absolute favourite thing on Orkney. I will definitely be back!
S GambroS Gambro
21:40 30 Sep 22
We managed to book a private storytelling session with Lynn and were totally enthralled - she has a very genuine passion for Orcadian folklore and is a talented storyteller comfortably able to draw you so deeply into her tales you’ll feel Orcadian yourself when it’s time to leave. Had we more time, we could have listened for days.Very highly recommended and easily worth every penny (I’d even say more). We will certainly seek her out the next time we go and have already recommended her to friends.Kudos to you Lynn and keep up your unique work!
Margaret BMargaret B
16:46 31 Aug 22
Lynn is a brilliant storyteller...she uses movement, rhythms and repetitions to tell her Orkney tales and the effect is magical. We had a great evening of entertainment...one of the highlights of the holiday ?
Lady OceannaLady Oceanna
10:01 23 Aug 22
Best evening of Orkney story telling ever. Lynn does such a great job of transformation from host to her character storyteller. You are taken back in time in the warm surroundings of her home. Fabulous array of local historians articles and books to ponder.
Claire RakichClaire Rakich
18:47 13 Aug 22
An evening listening to Lynn weave her magic is well worth it. The venue is unusual and utterly spectacular, and the peat fire crackles while she captivates her audience with her words. Whether she is introducing you to real Orkney characters from days gone by, or telling you tales of selkies and fin-folk, Lynn is completely mesmerising. The evening will stay with me for a long time to come.
RoadTrailsRoadTrails
21:29 01 Aug 22
Great few hours in the company of a fine story teller. Stories told with some theatre are very captivating
js_loader
Online bookings will commence from 1st March 2024. For all enquiries/booking requests for Spring/Summer Season 2024 please contact Lynn Barbour directly by Email peatfire@orkneyattractions.com or Phone: 01856 841207

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