Kirkwall Tourist Attractions
Kirkwall View slideshowKirkwall (old Norwegian "kirkjuvagr" = "church bay") lies by a broad bay and at the narrowest point on the island. Of the 14,000 Orcadians who live on Mainland, about half reside in the island's main town. Its narrow streets and gray houses with tiny windows and gables overlooking the street are reminiscent of Norwegian architecture.
Boy's and Men's Ba' Games
Since 1850 at Christmas and on New Year's Day a kind of football match has been held in Kirkwall. The Boys' and Men's Ba' Games involves a team of "Uppies" (churchmen/upper town) playing the "Downies" (king's vassals/lower town). The boys play in the morning and the men in the afternoon, but as many as 200 players can be involved. The Ba' Game reflects the conflicts within the divided town at the end of the 14th century when Earl Henry St Clair controlled the castle (now no longer in existence) and the bishop the land around its base. The boundary was Kirk Green, now the starting point for a match that takes place on the streets and in which anyone can join in.
St Magnus Cathedral
Diagonally opposite St Magnus Cathedral in Watergate stand the ruins of the Bishop's Palace which was started in the middle of the 12th C by Bishop William the Elder to provide alternative accommodation for the cathedral's guests. It was here in 1263 that King Haakon died. The palace was restored in the late 15th C and then again in the middle of the 16th C by Bishop Robert Reid, the founder of Edinburgh University.
Address: Longmore House, Salisbury Place, Jedburgh TD8 6JQ, Scotland
Earl Patrick's Palace
Earl Patrick's Palace serves as one of the finest examples of 16th century Scottish secular architecture. The light sandstone structure, now a ruin, was completed in 1607 by the tyrannical Earl Patrick Stewart. The mature trees in the garden, mostly maples, were planted ca. 1840.
Address: Birsay, Kirkwall, Scotland
Tankerness House Museum
Tankerness House is situated where Palace Road meets Broad Street, Kirkwall's main commercial thoroughfare with many small shops and welcoming pubs. The house originally consisted of two buildings which were converted for the first Protestant priest Gilbert Fulzie in 1574. It was later acquired by the Baikie of Tankerness merchant family. This fine town house now contains an exhibition on the history of the Orkneys.
Address: Broad Street, Kirkwall KW15 1DH, Scotland
Orkney - St Magnus Festival
This annual week-long festival takes place in mid-June, with over 20 performances. Events include operas, orchestral, choral, chamber and organ concerts, theatrical and dance performances, recitals, visual arts exhibitions, children's activities and lectures. Both new and established names can be found on the program.The repertoire also ranges from early-classical to new compositions.The events take place in a number of venues, including St Magnus Cathedral, the Phoenix Cinema and the Pier Arts Centre.
Address: Nicolson Street, Kirkwall KW15 1DE, Scotland
The Orkney Wireless Museum in Kirkwall displays radio transmitters and other telecommunication equipment used by the British navy.
Address: Kiln Corner, Junction Road, Kirkwall KW15 1LB, Scotland
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