- Birsay Latitude: 59.1327° N Longitude: 3.2974° W
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Birsay is a hamlet on the extreme north west tip of the mainland.
Particularly popular with Orcadian holiday makers, as indeed it appears to have been with early Norse bishops and much later with Scottish occupying earls.
The small tidal island Brough of Birsay has 8th and 9th century Christian relics in a monastic site and as part of a later Norse complex the remains of the Celtic church and graveyard.
The island also has an unequalled setting of the Viking Age. Here may be inspected the remains of the great Earl Thorﬁnn’s hall, the cathedral church he built there in which the body of St Magnus was buried, the ecclesiastical offices of the ﬁrst bishopric of Orkney, and a dozen or more Viking longhouses.
Of more modern relics, there are the ruins of a holiday residence built in1580 by Earl Robert Stewart of Scotland in the manner of Falkland Palace (Fife): this impressive palace has recently been renovated and preserved by the Ancient Monuments Board.