St Magnus Cathedral Kirkyard

St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall, Orkney is always an incredible place to visit.

St Magnus Cathedral Go OrangeI would highly recommend the tour of the upstairs galleries for those who are mobile : St Magnus Cathedral:Reaching the Heights

St Magnus Cathedral

First Level

But pause for a moment before you enter and take a daunder around the outside and through the kirkyard.

St Magnus 1

Even on a really busy day when the centre of the toon is hotching with cruise ship visitors and Orcadians out shopping it remains a place of peace and tranquility.

St Magnus 2It is not a mournful place for there is an abundance of plants, trees and graves marking the lives of Orkney’s people. It is social history writ on stone.

St Magnus 3And of course from outside the cathedral you can observe how the building changed over time.St Magnus 4

Perhaps something folk need to remember with the current proposals to make the building accessible to all – St Magnus Cathedral has always adapted and evolved: Enabling Everyone To Enter St Magnus Cathedral By The West Door

Take a good look at the walls. Not just the beautiful colour and texture of the stone but how it was all ‘slotted’ together.

St Magnus 5Across the road is what was one of the finest renaissance buildings in Scotland – the Earl’s Palace still impressive in its ruined grandeur.

The Earl's PalaceAnd the adjoining ancient Bishop’s Palace.

Bishops Palace

Those amazing buildings are cared for by Historic Environment Scotland. They are not open all the year round and there is an entrance fee.

St Magnus Cathedral, owned by the people of Orkney, is free -to enter or to stroll through its grounds. Why not take a daunder today?

Reporter: Fiona Grahame

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  1. In February 2011, we had to let Ben-The-Dog go. He’d had canine dementia for about 18 months. At first, he was fine – off his head, but happy with it. Then, he became distressed, fretful – all the things which go with dementia. And, when his life became no kind of life for him, we made the big decision, and took him to the vet, to be put to sleep.
    I needn’t say how hard that was to do. When we came out, the light had gone, and we went to the St. Magnus kirkyard, in the dark, with just some light from the lamps around us. It was what we needed. We walked, we sat, we stood.
    It was what was needed.
    And then we went home – without being greeted ecstatically when we go there, for the first time in about 12 years.

    His ashes are in a Kist in the mound by the pond in our garden. St. Magnus’ helped that first step after he’d gone.
    Places need a place like that – inside or outside – St Magnus is a place to go, and walk, and sit, and stand, when life’s big things happen.
    And St M’s doesn’t ‘belong’ to one religion, it belongs to the people, and it serves and helps the people.
    I’m grateful for St. M’s – it’s solid, in a shifting world.

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