Kirbuster Farm Museum
Kirbuster is now closed for winter.
Museum & Grounds
Hundland Road, Birsay,
Orkney, KW17 2LR
T: 01856 771268
Welcome to Kirbuster Farm Museum
Kirbuster Museum was opened to the public in 1987 and is the last un-restored example of a traditional ‘Firehoose’ in Northern Europe. The house has a central hearth, complete with peat fire, and a stone neuk bed reminiscent of the Neolithic interiors that can be seen at sites such as Skara Brae, Orkney. Kirbuster was occupied up until the 1960s and was once the home of the Spence and Hay families.
The site also has an Edwardian/Victorian parlour and Victorian Gardens. The implement shed contains a collection of farming memorabilia and visitors can enjoy a game of putting on the green and explore the Trowie Trail in the back garden.
Kirbuster excellent place to visit if you are researching your Orkney ancestry, to get a flavour of what life was like in Orkney in bygone years.
What to see
The oldest part of what is now Kirbuster Museum is the ‘Fire hoose’ that dates back to 1595. Instead of having a chimney it has an offset hole in the roof which smoke would naturally gravitate to. The fuel that was most commonly used is peat, which is in abundance unlike wood, this gives the room a very atmospheric smell and feel.
The extension to the ‘Fire hoose’ was constructed around 1723, in the extension you can see the bedrooms and parlour of the Hay family, who were the last inhabitants of the house.
This section of the building has some of the original features such as the original wallpaper, a marriage lintel and some original household items among other interesting exhibits.
In front of the house is a Victorian ornamental garden, which you can explore then you can also follow the ‘Trowie’ Trail (trow= a mythical fairy-like creature) at the back for the house in the hunt for a Trow.
Plan your visit
Kirbuster Farm Museum
Hundland Road, Birsay, Orkney, KW17 2LR
T: 01856 771268
What Three Words Location
Free Entry, No Booking Necessary
Museum & Grounds Open
Open from Mar – Oct 2024
Mon to Sat: 10:30am to 5:00pm (closed between 1:00pm and 2:00pm)
Sun: 1:00pm to 5:00pm.
The museum is now closed for 2023. Thank you for everyone who visited.
The main house, gardens, putting green and Trowie Trail are open.
The entrance to the site is through the gate next to custodian’s office adjacent to the car park. Kirbuster Farm Museum is located in Birsay, just off the north coast of west mainland. It is approximately a 25 minute drive away from Kirkwall via the A965 then A968.
There is a museum shop on site.
There are accessible toilets attached to shop which is directly next to the entrance and car park.
We are sorry that only a limited area of the site is wheelchair accessible.
Assistance dogs are allowed at the museum.
We ask you to use the hand sanitiser provided on entering and leaving the building.
Face masks are not required on entry, but free face masks are available if you require one.
Due to the age and the nature of the site, there is uneven ground so when navigating the site, care should be taken.
We only allow assistance dogs within our museums.
If you would like to organise a guided tour of the site, then please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’d like to organise a research trip to the museum or want to look at any of our artefacts, please get in touch by emailing email@example.com
Although we are a free visitor attraction, we do appreciate large groups or tours getting in contact prior to their visit, so we can ensure we have enough staff onsite to make your time as enjoyable as possible.
If you are organising a tour then please get in touch with us by email using firstname.lastname@example.org or by phoning 01856 771268. Entry to the site is free but we would be extremely grateful for any donations given.
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Events & Exhibitions
Your support is vital and helps the Museum to share the collection with the world.
Kirbuster Farm Museum relies on support from a wide range of sources and there are many ways that you can donate to help care for and preserve the collection for future generations. You can donate as an individual, or through a foundation, trust or company. Your support helps us to do the following:
To learn more about how you can support Kirbuster Farm Museum