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Royal burgh and chief town (pop., 2004 est.: 6,330), Orkney Islands, Scotland. It is located on Pomona Island off the northern tip of Scotland and has evidence of Norse influence persisting as late as the building of the Cathedral of St. Magnus in the 12th century. Kirkwall functions mainly as a commercial and service centre for the Orkney Islands and is also the islands' historic county town (seat) and administrative centre. The exploitation of North Sea oil has led to the development of offshore servicing and supply for the oil industry.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Kirkwall, visit Britannica.com.