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Papa Stronsay

Stronsay is an island in Orkney, Scotland situated to the North of the British Isles. Stronsay is part of an extensive group of Islands where the Atlantic Ocean and North Sea meet, known as the Orkney Islands. Stronsay's shape is irregular and its name originates from the Old Norse for Star Island. Stronsay is one of the inhabited islands in the Orkneys.


Papa Stronsay

Papa Stronsay is a small island in Orkney, Scotland, lying north east of Stronsay.

Papa Stronsay is 74 ha in size, and 13 metres at its highest point.

The Old Norse name for Papa Stronsay was Papey Minni.


Folklore stories say that the natives of Papa Stronsay were descended from a female selkie because they (the people of Papa Stronsay) were said to have horny hands and feet, and always smell of fish. Selkies (also known as silkies or selchies) were mythological creatures in Faroese, Irish, Icelandic, and Scottish mythology.

Selkies can transform themselves from seals to humans. The folklore story originated on the Orkney Islands, where selch or selk(ie) is the Scots word for seal (from Old English seolh).


Papa Stronsay is a fertile island and became an important centre for herring curing in the eighteenth century. Papa Stronsay was abandoned in the 1970s.

Papa Stronsay has the remains of two chapels. One dates from the eleventh century, and an eighth century Pictish monastery may lie under it. Other remains on Papa Stronsay include cairns and a burnt mound, and a number of abandoned crofts.

Papa Stronsay has also been the subject of archaeological excavation in the past being home to the 11th century chapel, St Nicholas’ Chapel. Evidence has also been found on Papa Stronsay of an earlier, 8th Century building which may be another, earlier church. Visit the Papa Stronsay dig 2000 web site (Search on Google) for more information.


Papa Stronsay has been home to a Transalpine Redemptorist monastery (called Golgotha monastery) since 1999. The Transalpine Redemptorists on Papa Stronsay are traditionalist Catholics, and affiliated with the Society of St. Pius X.


Map showing Papa Stronsay in The Orkney Islands Scotland

Thumbnail Map showing Papa Stronsay in The Orkney Islands Scotland.

A map of the Orkney Islands where Papa Stronsay can clearly be seen coloured in Red. Orkney Islands, Scotland.


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