Moving forward a few thousand years

It was a wet start to TUESDAY, so we thought that we’d head to the capital, Kirkwall, rather than the more pre-historic exposed sites. Visiting Kirkwall, we moved forward in history to medieval times. The town is best known for its magnificent, sandstone, St. Magnus Cathedral.

St Magnus cathedral

The cathedral was founded in 1137 by Norse Earl Rognvald Kolsson. It was built as a result of what was in effect a pagan vow. The Earl pledged to build a noble minster in memory of his murdered uncle, Earl Magnus, at a time when the Norsemen were still being converted to Christianity. The cathedral took 300 years to complete and is one of two surviving cathedrals in Scotland which remain intact and have never ceased to be places of worship. St. Magnus is the patron saint of Orkney.

St Magnus cathedral

St Manus cathedral

In the cathedral’s shadow are the picturesque ruins of the 12th century Bishop’s palace and the Earl’s Palace, built around 1600.

Bishop's Palace

Bishop’s Palace

Earl's Palace

Earl’s Palace

I’ll tell you what ladies, at my time of life I can develop a hot flush just cooking four breakfasts for our guests. I go positively weak at the knees contemplating the heat coming from this fireplace in the Earl’s Palace kitchen!

Earl's kitchen

We also paid a visit to the museum in Kirkwall. Of course there were far too many exhibits to share with you here but they included artifacts from the Bronze and Iron ages…

Iron age items

…Pictish (ancient Scottish race) carvings…

Pictish art

…and evidence of a more ‘modern’ form of burial than we’d seen so far…

individual burial


The weather became glorious later in the afternoon which gave us an opportunity to enjoy a sun-soaked Stromness when we returned…





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4 Responses to “Moving forward a few thousand years”

  1. mandala56 Says:

    I would love to see that place. I had a book about St. Magnus around the time my son chose the name for his confirmation.
    But I especially love that photo of the boats. Looking at the enlarged photo made me want to do a drawing or painting of them! It’s beautiful!

    • garybuie01 Says:

      It’s a beautiful building Jeanne although very eroded being sandstone. There’s been quite a lot of external restoration work but it’s been done very sympathetically.
      As for the boats, I would love to see your painting if you get around to it! It was such a calm afternoon and the light was perfect.

  2. Diane Fairhall Says:

    Fabulous stuff so far, Christine. Could be my holiday plan for next year 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

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