What A Place To Live!!!!!

By Bernie Bell

We need to go into Kirkwall, for practicalities – a shoe needs mending, buttons for a cardi, seed tatties ( that time of year again). So, the plan was,  to sacrifice a precious  Saturday, go into town, do some shopping, look in at  the Arcadia Park Open Day https://theorkneynews.scot/2019/03/28/the-arcadia-park-project-launch-weekend-6th-7th-april/ , then, if not too weary, go to visit friends.  That was  the plan, then, I checked the OAS Facebook page, https://en-gb.facebook.com/OrkneyArchaeologySociety/   to find that there have been new discoveries in Broad Street/ Castle Street, thanks to the  ‘improvements’ taking place there.  I’ll pinch a quote from the OAS post – I hope they don’t mind!

“Archaeologists overseeing contractors working on the alterations to Broad Street have uncovered a section of wall belonging to the old Kirkwall castle. The 14th… century castle was originally built by Lord Henry Sinclair after he was granted the Earldom of Orkney in 1379. The building was demolished in 1614 and most of the stone used in other building projects.”

Blimey, it really is the case, that  you dig, and it’s there, whether pre-history or history.

This links in nicely with this piece –


Now, there isn’t just a plaque to commemorate the position of the castle, and it’s “last vestiges”………….

Castle St Kirkwall B Bell 1

………there are actual remains of walls, right there, under the road.

I’ve now added that to my list for Saturday in Kirkwall – “Go and see bits of Castle”

What a place to live!

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2 replies »

  1. One of the things which I like about this ‘find’, is……I think of the number of times I’ve walked across that area – Broad Street to Albert street, up or down Castle Street – aware that there had been a castle round there, somewhere, but not realising that there was still something of that castle, right beneath my feet. A castle where people lived their lives, in a different time, in different clothes, with different attitudes and ideas – still just people though, living their lives – and something of that is still there. I like that, I like that a lot.
    And now it’s revealed, for us to see, for a time, then, I suppose it will have to be recorded, and covered over again – it is right where the line of the road is. It’ll still be there though.
    And some of the stones from the castle, will still be there, in some of the nearby buildings. Shaped by the hands of the people of the past, leant against by the people of the past……………..

    What an idea for a story – that area, through time, with times, and people, overlapping and sharing that space. Oh my!

    Kenny Brophy has written along these lines in his most recent blog post………….


    I’m not aiming to bring J.G. Ballard into Kirkwall! Thought, after heavy rain, it can become something of a Drowned World.

  2. More and more keeps being found!!! Keep checking the OAS Facebook page, where there are updates, and films by Martin Howe.
    Any one here visiting Orkney, now – well – possibly a chance in a lifetime to see archaeology as it’s happening.

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