Helgi’s design takes inspiration from Orkney’s Viking past, a traditional pub with a slate floor and wooden panelled walls, it’s small but perfectly formed. The ground floor bar is well stocked with draft and bottled beers, wines and spirits plus a good selection of malts. Helgi's is strictly over 18's only.
Helgi’s Head Cook and his team serve quality comfort food of the home cooking variety, using as much local produce as possible. 

Meals are available daily from 12-9pm Mon–Sat and 12.30-9pm Sundays.

Helgi's is strictly over 18's only.

Accepted forms of ID - Passport or European Driving Licence.

For those not holding either forms of ID - please contact us prior to your visit. 

We offer free wi-fi.

 

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To see the inside of Helgi's check us out on Google Places below, to get a panoramic view of the bar and upstairs, it's almost like walking through Helgi's! Half way down our Google Places page, on the right hand side, is a picture of the bar 'See Inside', click on it to see the inside of Helgi's, and use the arrows to move around. 

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THE BIRTH OF HELGI

Ulf Thorsteinsson was one of the bravest warriors of Earl Sigurd the Stout of Orkney. When his wife, Ingibjorg, was brought to bed with their youngest child she screamed for two days while the child remained stuck fast in her womb. Seeing that his wife was near to death Ulf prayed to the god Odin for help, promising the All Father that should his wife be delivered of a son then he would raise him as a brave warrior. Ingibjorg also felt her death draw near, and she prayed silently to the goddess Freya that she might take pity on her and grant her a safe delivery. No sooner had these prayers been made than a fine, strong son was born. His first cries sounded more like a war-cry than the whimpering of a defenceless child. One of his eyes was closed at first, another sign that the one-eyed Odin was shaping his destiny, but it opened after a day or two. When his mother first held him she could see something that his father could not, and that was the handsome face of a child that was blessed by Freya, the goddess of love.They called him Helgi, which means the holy, because he was favoured by the gods. As he grew up it was obvious that he was a gifted child. He was brave and fierce, but he was also a good poet and he loved nothing more than to hear a story or the sagas of the old kings and earls that once ruled over the Vikings. He was bred for war, and he joined his father on a Viking raid when he was just twelve years old.

Comfortable boothTHE BATTLE OF CLONTARF

In the year 1014 Earl Sigurd the Stout gathered together an army from Orkney and his Scottish earldoms to fight alongside King Sigtrygg Silk-beard against King Brian in Ireland. Ulf asked the earl if he would accept his son in the army, as he had proved himself in a fight and had just turned fifteen. Earl Sigurd was a follower of Odin, and when he heard that the child was favoured by the god he agreed to take him. The longships sailed to Ireland and the two armies arranged themselves in battle-order at Clontarf near Dublin. Earl Sigurd was in the centre, and he unfurled his magic raven banner that was made for him by his mother. She was a noted witch, and had woven spells in with every stitch so that it brought victory to the side that carried it, but death to the man who held it. The black raven seemed to be fluttering in a blood-red sky when the two armies clashed. The battle was long and hard, and one by one the standard bearers fell dead. As the banner lay on the blood-soaked ground Earl Sigurd ordered another man to pick it up, but he refused, saying ‘bear your own devil’. The earl tore the banner from the pole and tucked it up under his clothes. A warrior rushed towards him and drove his spear through the earl’s body and he fell dead. Ulf struck the warrior with his sword, and killed him with one stroke. Helgi was hit on the back of the head and fell down among the bodies. The last thing he saw was his father being overpowered by a group of warriors. When he recovered he was alone with the dead. He found his father’s body lying there, and next to him was Earl Sigurd. Helgi took the raven banner, soaked in the earl’s blood, and carried it away in case the enemy should capture it. He dug a small hole and buried it; an offering to the god Odin who had given it its power and its terrible curse. He was afterwards known as Helgi Raven-bearer.

HELGI’S VOYAGES

Helgi returned to Orkney where he was held in great honour. His youth was no barrier to his bravery, while his poetry won him the admiration of many, including the sons of Earl Sigurd who now ruled Orkney between them. After a few years of raiding he declared that he wanted to go on a voyage to Norway and the earls gave him a grand dragon-ship, finely carved and inlaid with gold. He was also given a fine new suit of clothes and a spear that was inlaid with silver. He gathered warriors and sailed for Bergen. He had a fine time around the taverns there and was treated with respect. His relationship with King Olaf Haraldsson was not so warm, as the king was a Christian and was hostile to the followers of the old gods. Helgi refused to give up the gods who he saw as his protectors, so he sailed to Sweden where he received a good welcome. He raided along the Baltic coast of Europe and gathered great wealth and honour as a warrior, and then he sailed west to Denmark where he was feasted in style. He wanted to see Iceland, as he had known several Icelanders at the court of Earl Sigurd. It was a long and dangerous voyage, by way of Shetland and the Faroes but they eventually arrived and were treated with honour by the leading chieftains in the north. He then sailed for Orkney, but decided to raid down the west coast of Scotland and England before returning home. As they were returning north past Scotland they went ashore to steal cattle for provisions but met a large force of warriors and a fierce battle was fought. Many of Helgi’s men were killed as the battle raged, but Helgi and his warrior finally won the day. During the battle Helgi was wounded with an arrow through the shoulder and a sword wound to his right thigh. These wounds almost cost him his life.

HELGI’S TAVERN

When Helgi returned to Orkney he was nearly dead of his wounds. He was brought to his home at the small trading village that lay next to a long strip of land between two seas. When he was carried ashore he was seen by a beautiful young woman called Astrid who was a widow. Her husband had drowned when his boat sank off Shapinsay as he was bringing home malted barley for making beer. He owned a tavern in the village, but had a reputation for being grasping and mean. Astrid knew Helgi, and had sighed whenever she saw his handsome face. Now she insisted that they take him to her tavern, as she knew how to heal wounds using herbs. She sat by his bed for five nights as he raved with a fever, but with her loving care the wounds healed and he regained his strength. Now it was the goddess Freya’s turn to shape Helgi’s destiny, as she stirred up love in Astrid’s heart. Helgi’s wounds healed well, but he always walked with a limp and never had the proper use of his right arm, so he could no longer wield a sword in battle. As Helgi lay in bed he looked at Astrid and now he saw how beautiful she truly was. They were married soon after and Helgi settled into his new life as a tavern keeper. He built a boat noust by the shore on the strip of land, called the Ayre, where it was sheltered by the side of the small inland sea. The tavern lay in the street that ran along the shore of this sea, and it got good trade as it sold the best beer in Orkney. When Earl Sigurd’s grandson, Rognvald Brusasson, built a wooden church in the village, dedicated to his foster-father St Olaf (the former King of Norway), the small village grew in size and was now called Kirkjuvágr, meaning Church Bay. Times were changing, as Christianity was the official religion, but Helgi clung on to the old beliefs in private. He sat in the tavern in the evenings and held the people who drank there spellbound as he recited his poetry and told them of his adventures when he as a famous warrior. Draw the boat up to the noust, wipe salt from whiskers, and steer a course for the tavern.