A look inside

…The Orkney Folklore and Storytelling Centre

As a centre of Orkney Folklore,Storytelling,Highland And Islands’ Heritage we welcome you to listen to the  Orkney Islands oral traditions of storytelling, ballads, sagas, song and poetry with a particular spotlight on the Highlands and Islands fishing and farming peoples and their traditions. Discover who these ‘Fishermen with Ploughs’, as George Mackay Brown,the Orkney writer and poet, called the Orkney Crofting peoples in his Poem Cycle. Experience the past peoples’ sea legends, crofting tales, social customs and beliefs, how they followed week after week,month after month and year after year Nature’s Calendar and forged a lifelong partnership with these ancient Highland and Island landscapes and surrounding seas.A unique way of living that has shaped today’s social landscape on both these North Atlantic Islands and in the Highlands of Scotland.

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 wall 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 legends to the dim shadows of the past, sitting by the soft 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 Scotland’s legends and lore.