Thorbergur Cultural Centre

Iomramh 2011;

Thorberger Cultural Centre – Conference.

View video - Conference Introduction by Gunnthor & Thorbjorg

View video - Opening prayer read by Danny

View video - Padraig song

View video - Danny on the Sean Duine

View video - Danny on Mt. Brandon

View video - Danny makes presentation to Thorbjorg

Read the text of Jonathon's lecture on Iomramh 2011

View video - Frank song

View photos - Thorbergur Cultural Centre

Photos - Extracts from I Sudursveit

Photos - Thorbergur Museum Powerpoint Presentation 'The Saga Trail'

Photos - Thorbergur Cultural Centre Conference

Photos -Thorbergur Cultural Centre - farm

Photos -Papbyli

This is Iceland National Day

Breakfast at 9.00 was preceded by a short talk by Gunnthor on Jon Sigurdsson _1811 – 1879), whose birthday was chosen as Iceland National Day, in recognition of his work for Icelandic independence from Denmark. He presented us with a 500 Kroner note with a picture of Sigurdson.




It was felt that because of the coincidence of days our conference would probably be fairly quiet.

The French trio that we met last night are going to Reykjavik and Breanndán has accepted their offer of a lift, to make his way home from there. So he won’t be available to play at the conference.

The conference we were told is to begin at 1.00pm so the morning was free. The internet was available but I hadn’t brought the laptop.


This is a very large farm by local standards and the entire enterprise employs about 14 people during the Summer.

There were 34 dairy cows still indoors but being let out today for the first time. All very similar to an Irish farm, with large silage bails, except that the breed is Icelandic and no other breed or crossbreeding is allowed in the country, in order to preserve the genetic purity. The same applies to sheep, horses and hens. The sheep are kept outdoors but had access to sheds where they were fed concentrates.

There was a small glasshouse with tomatoes, peas and beans etc.

They had drilled for hot water from a thermal spring – the first four boreholes – 500 meters deep, produced only cold water, the fifth was lucky so they have free hot water!

Besides a big “hot tub” in the yard they heat their potato garden with a system similar to domestic underfloor heating. Notwithstanding this, the potato stalks were all burned by frost!


Back in the restaurant two Irish girls were just starting their first days work of a summer holiday job. Lorna and Helen are from Armagh but try though we might we couldn’t find any mutual acquaintance. They were very nice and made us a present of as much as we wanted of their Barry’s Tea! They also got permission to attend our conference, so we knew there would be at least two present!

In the morning we toured the interpretive centre which was very impressive. The windows had etched extracts from Thordarson’s work I Sudursveit and the powerpoint presentation, running on a loop was very supportive of the Irish/Papar influence on Iceland.

I set up the camera to make a video of the proceedings and also an audio back up. The video, over two hours long was more than the camera could handle, so there are a lot of interruptions.


1. Gunnthor introduced all the crew and gave a short account of the project.

2. Danny read a prayer by Saint Columba’s from Gunnthor’s book and also did his own presentation on Corca Dhuibhne, both the Sean Duine and Mount Brandon.. He also presented one of his souvenir stones, with a reading of the Song of Amhergin and a bible to the family for the museum.

3. Pádraig sang a few songs and gave a longer presentation on the Northabout trip.

4. Frank was introduced as the man that nearly climbed Mount Everest and sang.

5. Jonathon gave an hour long lecture on the Papar.

All very well received by an audience of about 15.


After the lecture we were brought, with the other conference guests, to another Papar site - Papblisfjall - deep in the mountains, where our host had recently discovered Norse remains. Like some of the other Papar 'sites' this only survived as a placename in the sagas, until the location was discovered by our host, in 1997. The area has been archaeologically assessed and significant ruins, dating prior to 1000A.D. were found, with signs of humam habitation in the 11th and 12th centuries. The suggestion, as I understand is that this is the Papar site which was subsequently occupied by the Vikings.

Later we were driven back to Djupivogur where they were celebrating the National Day. The village was divided into four zones with a colour each. A prize for the best colour display.
Departure tomorrow has been set for 5.00 am, a 200 mile trip, about 30 hours to Vestmann Islands.

I went to the hotel to transfer the photos to the laptop and one by one the others all appeared looking for beer.
It was late when I left and on my way to the boat, I found that the museum bar was open to celebrate National day and couldn’t resist a few more drinks with a family, parents and daughter who was a local teacher. They were really keen to talk to me because visiting boats such as ours are rare and they were keen to hear our story – at 2.00am!!