Kirbuster Museum

Kirbuster Museum, Birsay: Tickets, Tours, Hours, Address, Kirbuster Museum Reviews: 5/5

Kirbuster Museum
5
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM, 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
2:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
2:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
2:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
2:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
2:00 PM - 5:00 PM
About
Kirbuster Museum 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, and demonstrates how little some aspects of domestic life changed in Orkney over many centuries. The house also has an Edwardian parlour and Victorian Gardens and visitors can enjoy a game of putting on the green and explore the Trowie Trail in the back garden. Kirbuster is a unique survivor which gives a fascinating insight into four centuries of family life in Orkney. An excellent place to visit if you are researching your Orkney ancestry. FREE ADMISSION. Access is currently restricted so please be prepared to wait if the site is busy, and to adhere to the safety advice on hygiene and physical distancing. It is mandatory to wear a face covering in the building and you will be asked for your contact details for Test & Protect.
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5.0
93 reviews
Excellent
75
Very good
15
Average
3
Poor
0
Terrible
0

Mirna M
Osijek, Croatia35 contributions
Precious heritage
Oct 2021
That museum is a precious gem. It is a well-preserved museum. The house is dated from the 1500s. It was inhabited until the 1960s and it is the oldest black house in Europe.
There is no entrance fee but donations are welcome. The host chappy is very knowledgeable with a proper Orcadian accent, so the experience is really authentic. He had a lot of stories and was happy to share them with us.
Written October 2, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Sam O
6 contributions
A favourite place
Jul 2021
Still my favourite place to visit on Orkney but great disappointment from the smaller members of the family that the Trowie Trail wasn't set up in the garden this time. Not sure why - no more Covid-risk than a putting green?
Written August 12, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

fam5od
Wilmslow, UK32 contributions
A glimpse of the past.
Aug 2021 • Friends
Very interesting to learn more about life in Orkney as it was. Member of staff on duty was extremely knowledgeable as he himself has a family history of Orkney to share. Worth a visit.
Written August 2, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Malky70D
Edinburgh, UK29 contributions
Fun wee gem
Oct 2019 • Family
Interesting small farm museum. Lots of agricultural paraphernalia, living history to explore hands on. Mini golf and quiz trail to keep the kids entertained. Free entry, good toilets and helpful custodian. Fun and informative 90 mins learning about Orkandian history
Written October 23, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Gabriel H
Bellaire, TX6,981 contributions
A fascinating look to the not too distant past
Jul 2019
This is a small and new museum. Established in 1986, the highlight is the preserved home of local settlers, including the Hay and Spence families, who lived here until the 1960s. The home is an untouched (or unmodified) example of a Northern European "firehoose", built around a central fire that s served as heating and cooking center, and rustic furnishings, including a bed, stools and household instruments. It is hard to believe that some rural Europeans lived under these modest conditions until the 1960s. Around this central hearth are other buildings, including a tool shed and a house garden. The museum is open between March and October from 10:30 until 5:00 pm, with only the afternoon on Sundays. There is no admission fee, although donations are appreciated.
Written September 30, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Gail Y
Didcot, UK131 contributions
Original firehoose
Aug 2019 • Couples
Fascinating Orcadian farmhouse that was left in its original state and was later donated to the council. There’s an old smokestack built with drystone for drying the grain. It’s amazingly free to visit and the oldest part of the farmhouse includes a peat fire and old cooking utensils. Well worth a visit; and its very near Barony mill
Written August 12, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

MaeveMcP
Edinburgh, UK31 contributions
Fascinating place
Jul 2019
This is a gem of a museum.
It is a fire-hoose, a house built in the late 16th century, later extended, but with no modern amenities. A peat fire in a central hearth & a hole in the roof (a lum) to let the smoke out.
A marvellous and unique insight into how our relatively recent ancestors lived.
And in lovely surroundings, an orchard, a decorative garden, a close by burn - a brilliant place to visit, and a great way to amuse young children.
Rumour is that Orkney Council are thinking of cutting funding - that would be a shame, and a great loss.
Written July 29, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Fiona P
Glen Lyon, UK27 contributions
Well worth a stop
Jul 2019 • Family
We were staying in a holiday cottage round the corner and nearly did not go! So glad we did. It is truly fantastic! How life had not changed! History house through the ages. You could see how it was laided out like some of the ancient sites we had been to. The lady in charge was very knowledgable. This piece of history needs to be kept for future generations to enjoy. There was a trail for kids, animals, putting green and orkney ice-cream. Perfect afternoon. We will be back!
Written July 27, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Meagan H
41 contributions
Off the Beaten Path but Worth the Stop
Jul 2019 • Friends
On the advice of our tour guide, we took a short stop at this gem of a museum and were not disappointed. The guide was extremely knowledgeable about the history of the building as well as the area. The house was an interesting contrast in time periods as the front part was much older than the back addition. If traveling with children, the back garden has been set up with passageways and little hidden objects. It was very cute. And the animals will be a big hit since you can see them up close.
Written July 23, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Cris J
Telford, UK99 contributions
Fascinating insight
Jul 2019
We visited having read a review and were very impressed. The lady in charge was very knowledgeable and willing to discuss and answer questions and she pointed out several things we might have missed otherwise.
The museum didn’t feel like one at all. It felt as if we were visiting the owners but they were out in the garden! The central peat fire gave off a lived-in impression and a lovely aroma. The clothes, domestic items and room layouts all made us feel as if we were in a real home and it was all authentic, right down to the oilskins hanging behind a door.
We were encouraged to pick things up, handle items that in other places would have ‘don’t touch’ notices on them and to open and close cupboards.
Outside was a sheltered garden with a veg patch and old orchard area, all very protected from the winds.
We really enjoyed a memorable visit.
Written July 23, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Kirbuster Museum

Kirbuster Museum is open:
  • Wed - Sun 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM
  • Wed - Sat 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM